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Thread: Good fences make good neighbors?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Rogar's Avatar
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    Good fences make good neighbors?

    I live in what is probably a standard older suburban neighborhood with all the houses built around the same time in the mid-50's. I have wanted to replace a chain link fence with a privacy fence as one neighbor has an unsightly yard overrun with weeds and rarely managed. We recently we had a tree fall on the fence and the damage will be fixed by insurance, however I introduced the idea to my neighbor of replacing the chain link. The neighbor is a reasonable person but probably does not have a lot of money. She did not know if the fence is on the property line or one side of the other of ownership. I talked with another neighbor who also was unsure.

    Is there a standard placement for fences relative to property ownership or a way to find out with getting technical with surveys? Would contacting the city be a possibility? I not sure where to check to be sure.

  2. #2
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    The only way I know for sure to have correct placement is with a survey.

    If you put up the fence, you need to put the “ugly” unfinshed side toward you. I dont know if that is code or custom.

    My neighbors put up a board fence with alternating boards on both sides, so there was no ugly side and that was nice.It is still a pretty good looking fence 12-15 years later.
    Last edited by iris lilies; 4-22-18 at 10:41am.

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    Your County Recorder's office should have your subdivision's paperwork on file. That would give you property measurements.
    But I agree, a boundary survey is the way to go. They're not as expensive as a full survey, and the peace of mind will be worth it.

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    Whatever you do make sure it is correct or when you sell, it could create a nightmare. I know of three in the last few years that all had big issues when they tried to sell and found out the fence was not in the correct place.

    Habitat found that the foundation was a little off the plans and the stoop interfered with the fence the neighbor's wanted to erect. The neighbor would not even allow Habitat to pay for the fence so both could work with it. The side stoop had to be ripped out and replaced smaller. So don't ever assume that neighbors will, of course, be reasonable.

  5. #5
    Simpleton Alan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sweetana3 View Post
    Whatever you do make sure it is correct or when you sell, it could create a nightmare. I know of three in the last few years that all had big issues when they tried to sell and found out the fence was not in the correct place.
    We put in a split rail fence around our heavily wooded back yard about 10 years ago. Prior to installing I talked with neighbors on both sides in order to get agreement on property line locations, then staked out the fence line so that all involved could see where it would be. After final agreement, we installed the fence around nearly a half acre of back yard space.
    Last year, one of those neighbors sold their house. The new owners immediately began planning a Kentucky Board fence for their back yard and brought in a surveyor to establish the correct property line. It turns out that my fence was over the line on their side by about 2.5 feet and they were adamant that they wanted their property back. End result was that I now have my rustic and well seasoned split rail fence everywhere except the one side which is a new Kentucky Board fence, and I have a miniscule reduction in yard maintenance.
    I should have brought in the surveyor myself.
    "Things should be made as simple as possible, but not one bit simpler." ~ Albert Einstein

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    When we bought our home, the builder had put a stockade fence along the back, and told us it was the property line of our yard. We immediately put a chain link fence along both sides, eight inches into our yard. The fence guys told us this was customary, to eliminate squabbles over inches...Fast forward to an insurance claim due to hurricane damage and the insurer requiring a survey ( neighbor also had damage and a surveyor) - the back fence is three feet outside our lot line, square down the middle of our six foot easement, and one side fence is a foot and a half inside our yard. I thought surveying was always accurate, but maybe not.

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    Senior Member Rogar's Avatar
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    Thanks a bunch! Those are things I'd not anticipated and will definitely proceed with more caution if things develop further.

  8. #8
    Moderator Float On's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lmerullo View Post
    I thought surveying was always accurate, but maybe not.
    I've often wondered if surveys can change over time due to where our planet is in it's rotation around the sun or how the moon effects the tides or something. The empty lot next to us has been surveyed 3 times over the last 25 years and they've moved the pins each time! Thankfully they find out it's still unbuildable so it's just woods. I've also noticed that survey maps of my hometown which had a building boom in the 1880's the lines are always angled a bit and on small city lots tend to cut into the corner of houses even.
    Float On: My "Happy Place" is on my little kayak in the coves of Table Rock Lake.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rogar View Post
    I live in what is probably a standard older suburban neighborhood with all the houses built around the same time in the mid-50's. I have wanted to replace a chain link fence with a privacy fence as one neighbor has an unsightly yard overrun with weeds and rarely managed. We recently we had a tree fall on the fence and the damage will be fixed by insurance, however I introduced the idea to my neighbor of replacing the chain link. The neighbor is a reasonable person but probably does not have a lot of money. She did not know if the fence is on the property line or one side of the other of ownership. I talked with another neighbor who also was unsure.

    Is there a standard placement for fences relative to property ownership or a way to find out with getting technical with surveys? Would contacting the city be a possibility? I not sure where to check to be sure.
    some cities have "setback" requirements for fences and out bldgs. Which means you cannot build on the line. Check it out.

  10. #10
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    We were able to build our garage on the property line, but we had to get permission from the owners of the next door property. Those owners were —us! So we had to give ourselves permission.

    Only in gubmnt work does this make sense.

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