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Proper Fence Etiquette

All About Fence EtiquettePracticing proper fence etiquette is absolutely essential to avoid disputes with your neighbor. Remember that if you get a fence installed, ensuring that both sides of it are well-maintained is your responsibility.

While installing a new fence, following zoning regulations is important. You also need to keep your neighbors in the loop about the basics before you start the construction. By following these simple tips, you can get a new fence installed without spoiling your relationship with your neighbors.

Must-dos

  • Respect the boundaries
  • Avoid the temptation to go over the boundaries of your property. If you cross the boundaries by even an inch and install the fence on the land that belongs to your neighbor, you will definitely have to tear it down.
  • Before starting the construction, study your property line. If you are not sure of the boundaries, get the land surveyed by a land surveyor. This can be a bit expensive. You should be willing to shell out anything between $500 and $1000.

If you hire a fence company, they are more likely to install the fence approximately one foot inside the boundary line. This is done to ensure that you will not run into problems later.

Respect limits

The fencing company should know the zoning regulations for setbacks, heights, and other restrictions that might be applicable in your area. The height limits for front yards is usually four feet. In the case of back and side yards, it is six feet.  More restrictive rules may be applicable in the case of plots lying in corners because blind curves could affect driving visibility. In order to avoid disputes and legal issues, review the restrictions with the fence company before selecting a fence.

Don’t expect the fencing company to know your homeowners association rules. That job is yours. Unless you follow HOA rules, you might invite the wrath of the committee and will probably also have to engage in a legal dispute. HOAs can prescribe the height, style, and maintenance requirements. If your HOA insists that you should follow all the guidelines, you will have to oblige. There is no alternative.

Share your plans with your neighbors

Not a lot of people like surprises. Before installing the fence have a detailed discussion with your neighbors and show them the plan. If you already have a property line issue with your neighbor, you will need to get it solved before starting the construction.  That said, you don’t have to show the design of your fence to your neighbors. They need to respect your choice unless, of course, you choose a design that might lower the value of their property or is dangerous.

Install the fence in such a way that the more finished sides face the street.

After installing the fence, cleaning and maintaining both sides of it is your responsibility. If an aging or damaged section of the fence begins to lean, get it replaced before your neighbors get angry.

If you need an extra high fence due to a reasonable reason – for example, you might want to block an unpleasant view or protect you from a noisy street – you will have to apply to the zoning board for getting a variance. During a variance hearing, your neighbors will be asked to express their opinions on your request.

If you feel that your neighbors are causing damage to your fence, you need to take photos of the damage. As far as possible, try to solve the problem by having a discussion with them. If they refuse to mend their ways or repair it, you can take your dispute to a small claims court.

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