Whose fence is it anyway

4 Replies

I just purchased a property in Spring Texas.  As my GC was getting ready to put up a fence between mine and the neighbors house, the neighbor said it was her fence and her nephew was going to put it up.  There was no fence two months ago when I viewed the property for the first time and I have no reason to believe it will get done in time for me to rent my property; hopefully in less than one week.  What remains of the old fence is on my side of the property line but the new fence posts that her nephew put in are dead center on the property line.  So, my question is who is responsible for the fence, who pays for it, is it a shared expense or is just whomever puts the fence up on their property?

Ah, geeze. Fences like that can be a real pain.

The hard fact is that if the holes he dug are really dead center on the property line, meaning they are 50% on your property and 50% on hers, and they put a fence in there, they are encroaching on your property. The same can be said if you put a fence dead center on the line. You can put up a fence on your property and she can put up a fence on her property.

The first step would obviously be to talk with her and come to some sort of resolution. If you're comfortable with her building the fence, that's fine. But that doesn't mean the new owners won't have a problem with it later (assuming you're flipping the property sometime soon). And if she agrees to let you put up the fence, the same can be said for her. She may not bother you, or she may cause a hassle.

There are generally a few things you can do if it gets too complicated:

1. Come to an agreement and file an easement

2. Get a boundary line adjustment (which will require a survey)

3. File for adverse possession/quiet title/damages

Are you saying that she wants to move the existing falling-down fence, to the newly-dug holes? Or does she want the lumber?  I'm confused.

I'd be tempted to tell her, "Well, this fence is on my property, so it's mine.  It is not on the property line, and since the holes you are digging are over there, you know that this fence is mine."

Then, I'd probably say, "I'm going to go ahead and put up this new fence on my property.  If you want the lumber we're going to discard from the falling down fence, you're welcome to it.  I'll have my contractor throw it over onto your property (if you're willing to do that).  And you can have the benefit of this new fence of mine, or you can go ahead and put another fence on the actual property line if you like.  But, I can't wait to do this."

And then just do it.

From my understanding, fences are usually supposed to be a joint cost between neighbors.  That doesn't mean that always happens.

But, really, you're talking about putting  a fence on your own property - not on the property line - and she has no say on that at all.  In my opinion.

I'd take photos of where the fence is, and where she's digging holes, so she can't later claim that she's entitled to that strip of land under adverse possession (which would then put the old fence on the "new" property line.

I hope that makes sense.   I'd avoid calling the building department regarding fencing laws, because they may decide to charge you for a permit.  I'd go with the "Hey, you're getting the benefit of a new fence for free, so, why don't you just enjoy it?"

My guess is she's trying to figure out how to get money out of you for this fence the nephew is supposedly putting up.  I'd just continue on with the new fence, and if she actually tries to sue you, deal with it.  But, I can't imagine an attorney or judge saying you can't put a fence up within your own property lines.  Or saying she's entitled to take the old fencing that she clearly knows is on your property.

Heck, the fence is probably where it is because she's done this same act before LOL!

Usually you split the costs when it's on the boundry line and you both pay for any repairs 

    Sometimes I will have the fence a few inches on my side to stop any arguments

just last week I got a survey and posts are in and fence should be finished in the next two days it's on the line 

Here in Texas it is a shared fence. If I was you I would split the cost of a new fence. You can make it a good neighbor fence with alternating fence slats facing both properties. I did that last year on one of my flips and it worked out great. I actually shared the costs with two different neighbors and everyone was happy. If you want a great fence contractor call me and we can connect.