Fences and yards need maintenance, but not all homeowners think it is necessary. Your neighbor's fence might start leaning on your property depending on how wide the gap is along this boundary. What can you do? We've asked experts, and they have given us awesome and practical answers.
To handle the situation civilly and lawfully regardless of the type of neighbor you have, do the following:
- Write a letter to your neighbor explaining the situation
- Take a photo and show your neighbor if they are not on site
- Do the repairs and request compensation from your neighbor (if you are on friendly terms)
- Invite a fence viewer from the local authorities for advice on what steps to take
Continue reading as we get to the nitty-gritty of fences, neighbors, and who is responsible for a leaning fence.
How To Sort Issues With A Neighbor's Leaning Fence
Before you start any repairs on a fence, you first establish if it's their or your responsibility. Both parties are responsible for the leaning fence if they share it.
However, if the property owners have built independent fences on their respective properties, the owner of the leaning one is responsible for maintenance and repairs.
Bear in mind that your neighbor is not obliged by law to repair the fence. Ensure that you understand what to expect from the situation.
Here are some suggestions on how to in each situation and each case scenario.
Write A Letter
Once you notice the fence is leaning onto your property, write a letter to your neighbor explaining the situation. In case your neighbor is not aware or not residing on his property, inform him of what is going on.
Pen a letter to your neighbor if the said fence is co-shared or entirely on your neighbor's property. A friendly toned note could urge your neighbor to cooperate.
Provide your neighbor with photos or video evidence of the leaning fence that needs repair.
Visual evidence will help your neighbor understand the need for urgent action. Videos and photos also serve as evidence to sue for damages if no action is taken.
Repair The Fence
If you share a fence with your neighbor and it's leaning on your property, you can repair it. Once you have repaired the fence, ask for recompensation as a shared cost.
You should have a cordial or friendly relationship with your neighbor to embark on such commitments. Otherwise, you might find that your neighbor has no intention of refunding or sharing repair costs.
Invite A Fence Viewer
When you reach a dead end with your neighbor, you could invite a fence viewer to help. The local authorities have architectural plans that show where the property boundaries are. They are in the best position to clarify the responsibilities of each property owner.
How To Repair A Leaning Fence
To avoid a leaning fence from damaging your property, you can repair it. You should:
- Start by assessing the condition of your fence. If the fence is sagging due to the weather or soil erosion, it can be rectified inexpensively.
- The section that needs repair should be stabilized first. Remove the wobbly section and strengthen the posts.
- Find out if you can reuse the posts or any other part of the fence. If not, dispose of the condemned parts and purchase new ones.
- Straighten the fence posts by adding concrete or digging new holes. Depending on the type of fence you have, you might also need to repair the rails, hinges, etc.
- Reattach the posts, rails, and pickets. Everything should be sturdy and firm when you have completed the repairs.
Check your fence regularly for any issues. If your fence has serious damage, you might need to call in a professional.
Have a look at this video for guidance.
What Can You Do With A Neighbor's Hideous Fence
An ugly fence doesn't violate any laws as long as it isn't harmful to those around. If the fence is poorly constructed and poses a threat, you can sue your neighbor and have it pulled down.
However, some towns and subdivisions have bylaws on which types of fences are accepted. The goal is to have a harmonious look in the sub-division.
Here are a few things you can do if your neighbor's fence is a sore sight!
- Take care of your side of the fence if you share a fence. Depending on the type of fence you have, ensure the focal point in your yard isn't the fence.
- Add another fence on your side of the boundary line if this is possible. Erect a fence that will completely block the ugly one. Out of sight, out of mind!
- If erecting a new fence is not an option, then cover the neighbor's ugly fence on your side. You could plant shrubs at strategic points to soften the look.
- Finally, you could try talking to your neighbor. If you share a common fence, you could arrange how to share the cost of reconstruction.
There are state and local laws against erecting a spite fence.
What's The Best Fence Height
There are standard requirements for fences in any given vicinity. Backyard fences are usually higher than front yard ones. Homes close to traffic intersections cannot have high fences.
Generally, the ideal height for a fence is six feet. But, you'll find picket fences are three to four feet. Bear in mind that front yard fences are hardly higher than three feet in most vicinities.
Overhanging Branches On Your Property
A tree trunk might be in your neighbor's yard, with overhanging branches on your property. It's your responsibility to cut any branches that might be causing damage to your property on your side of the fence.
Ensure that you are careful when treating the tree branches so as not to damage the tree. Some trees are valuable and can be costly to replace.
If your neighbor warns you and you fail to address the complaint, you'll be liable for any damage caused to his property. Roots encroaching on the neighbor's property are the responsibility of the tree owner.
Most Common Neighbor Disputes
Disputes and misunderstandings are a common occurrence among neighbors. The sensible thing is to not let them escalate and get out of hand. However, some disputes might need you to involve authorities to resolve them.
The most common disputes homeowners encounter apart from boundaries, fences, and trees are:
- Overhanging gutters
- Party walls (houses that share a wall)
- Shared amenities
- Anti-social neighbors
If all your efforts in resolving any conflict with your neighbor are futile, you should consider selling your property and relocating to another vicinity. It will save you unnecessary lawsuits and spare your nerves.
A neighbor's leaning fence can be repaired by either party to avoid damaging property. If there are any disputes, involve the services of a professional from the local authorities.
Before purchasing any property, find out as much as you can about your future neighbors. A nasty neighbor can run you out of town!