Most times, houses are built so close to the neighboring property that you share the same fence. Often, the law assumes that a fence located directly on the property line benefits both homeowners equally.
But what happens when all of a sudden, your neighbor decides to connect to your fence without permission, should he have asked you? And if he should have but didn’t, what can you do?
Read on to find out.
What To Do If Your Neighbor Connects To Your Fence Without Permission?
The first question will be to ask who paid for the fence, if you were the one who was in charge of the cost implications during fencing, then your neighbor needs to be permitted by you before they connect.
Furthermore, your right does not allow your neighbor to connect to the fence in a way that will affect your convenience even if you share the cost of the fencing equally unless you permit them to do so.
So, what should you do in a case where your neighbor didn’t ask for your permission before connecting? Here are a few steps you should take in this situation:
1. Discuss with your neighbor: It’s okay to discuss with your neighbor in situations like this, but it should be polite. There is a high chance of your neighbor agreeing and making sure all agreed protocols are followed; no one wants property trouble.
However, if the expected result of an amicable conversation doesn’t work, you will need to consider the next step
2. Take legal action: All you need to do is to make a complaint to the legal authority to prove your ownership right on the fence since it was done and maintained by you. With this, you are sure to curb the disturbance which your neighbor causes.
What if in a situation where it is a rented house; in this case, you both have the right to connect to the fence. However, if this will deter you from enjoying your right as an owner, the best thing to do in this situation is to contact the landlord.
Proper Fence Etiquettes
We all know that saying “please” and “thank you” are essential to being polite. However, did you also knowing the proper way to install a new fence is important?
To have the job done, you can choose a fence style, make sure it’s within your budget, and then give the go-ahead for its installation. However, if you have nearby neighbors, your fence may impact their properties as well. This means that you could end up in trouble without the proper fence etiquette.
To ensure that “good fences make good neighbors,” follow these guidelines for proper fence maintenance:
1. Your property’s boundaries should be clearly defined using good fence etiquette: Landlords typically have a solid grasp of the limitations of their properties. Putting up a fence, on the other hand, is another matter.
According to the law, you cannot build a fence on land that you don’t own, if you cross your property line by even an inch, you may be forced to demolish your fence.
2. Inspect your house blueprint for boundary markings: (if you’ve misplaced it, your county records office may have one extra). You can hire a land surveyor to mark your boundaries if you don’t already have one.
3. Get to know your next-door neighbor: No one enjoys a surprise, and while you don’t have to do this, it’s always a good idea. Talking to your neighbor can go a long way toward averting a fence argument.
Using this tag can assist your neighbor in being more cooperative during the installation process. A plus is that if your neighbor was contemplating building a fence to separate your properties, they might be open to collaborating with you on a compromise design.
4. Review your HOA’s rules: Your HOA may restrict the height or color of your fence. Based on research, owners are responsible for adhering to the HOA’s guidelines. HOA regulations may be unfamiliar to the installers of your fence, even if they are willing to cooperate with you.
5. Face your neighbor’s a finished fence on the other side: Standard etiquette dictates that fences be installed in this manner. Additionally, having the “outside” side of your fence facing the street will improve the appearance of your property.
6. Ask your fencing contractor for a double-sided privacy fence: This is also known as a “good neighbor fence,” if you can’t bear having the “inside” of the fence facing your yard. (double-sided are created with a “sandwich construction” so that both sides look finished.)
7. Maintaining the fence around your property is essential: Fences that lean, decay, or have faded paint are more than just an eyesore; they can also pose a danger to your family and pets. Your neighbor will find it a mess as well. Consider the types of fencing and the care necessary for each style while deciding on fencing solutions.
8. Picking the right fence contractor is a crucial step: Ensure you get a reputable contractor that can promptly have your fence up and running.
A decent fence tag will help ensure that your new fence will appeal to everyone, whether you want it to indicate a boundary, give protection or privacy, or add beauty to your home.
Should You Connect To Your Neighbor’s Fence?
You can connect since it’s your neighbor’s fence, but that will be if the neighbor permits you to do so. You won’t necessarily need your neighbor’s permission if the fence belongs to both of you because you both maintain it.
However, if you were the one who constructed the fence but you did that on your neighbor’s land, they might claim to own it. In this case, you might also need their permission. That’s awkward. Yes, that’s why you need to follow fence etiquette before constructing.
If a fence or boundary wall is built on property owned by more than one owner, the best practice is to put an agreement in writing.
The agreement would cover things such as maintenance, damage, and repairs so that it is clear to the parties regarding their responsibilities in this regard.
If a dispute arises, the agreement may become helpful and legally enforceable. However, if no such agreement exists, then a court may consider the parties’ past conduct regarding maintenance and repairs and what is fair given the fence’s location.
Should You Speak To Your Neighbor First Before Connecting To The Fence?
Yes, you should; it shows that you respect them and their decision. This will even build a better relationship between you and your neighbor.
The good news? You can avoid conflict by fostering good relations with your neighbors. Here are some simple ideas:
1. Introduce yourself: your new neighbors will surely appreciate seeing a friendly face and helpful info about their new neighborhood (leg where to find supermarkets, parks, good restaurants, and shops);
2. Stop to chat a little: ask your neighbor if he would like some vegetables from your garden, or talk about the weather;
3. Invite your neighbors: a casual barbecue is a good way to break the ice;
4. Be courteous: if you borrow something, be sure to return it quickly and in good condition. Do them a favor and bring back their empty garbage or recycling bins;
5. If there is a problem, tackle it head-on: try to approach your neighbor directly while keeping your cool. Name the situation clearly and outline your preferred solution,
be prepared to compromise!
Should You Let Your Neighbor Connect to Your Fence?
If your neighbor connecting to your fence won’t affect you, you should allow it. However, If you think your neighbor’s fence or shed is infringing on your property, check your certificate of location.
If so, talk to your neighbor. If you can’t agree, the court could order your neighbor to move his fence or his shed inside the limits of his land.
Can My Neighbor Claim My Property as Theirs?
There is a possibility of your neighbor claiming your property as theirs, this is referred to as Adverse Possession according to Wikipedia.
The doctrine of adverse possession means that a person can acquire possession of a property if he has owned it for a certain period without interruption, according to the country’s laws where that property is located.
In other words, it says that land can only be owned by those who use it. Therefore, it must balance the conflicts between the rights and interests of different people: those who can gain something and those who can lose it.
Adverse possession is a common legal doctrine with the underlying philosophy that “land use has historically been favored over disuse, and therefore the law prefers those who use the land to those who do not, even though the latter person is the rightful owner.”
So your neighbor may claim your property because adverse possession essentially allows someone to acquire title to property through continued control rather than the usual means of commerce.
To avoid any conflict related to the placement of your fence, or if no official separating boundary exists between your land and that of your neighbor, have your land marked out by an expert surveyor.