Neighbor's (but shared) fence is rotted but neighbor doesn't want to replace it.?

Neighbors are elderly, guy is super nice but getting dementia, lady is not very nice. I asked this question 2 years ago but situation is worse. Its a wood fence that is 50+ years old. It encompasses their yard but the side I share might be on my property, but I'm not worried about the foot or even 2 that it might encroach. Its 65 feet and I rely on half of it to keep my dogs in my yard. For the 3 years I've lived here, my neighbor on average does 2 or 3 major fixes to the fence per year and minor fixes up to a couple times a month depending on the weather. The first winter (live in ND) we got a lot of snow and because of the style of fence, the weight of the snow broke the fence, but the lady blamed me because I was blowing the snow off my driveway in its direction (from 30-50 ft away). Now she claims I broke a different panel that doesn't even face my lot by running into it with my lawnmower, I told her no (the truth) and I don't even get close to that panel. She also says a pro told her not to replace it because its still good. One panel of the fence used to jut into my yard (I think a gate used to be attached and go to the side of my garage) which I barely wiggled and it fell. Not to mention another neighbor who also shares a stretch of fence with the old couple has screwed plywood boards to her side to keep it from breaking and her dogs in her yard. Can't really afford to replace the fence by myself and putting another fence a foot inside the rotted one isn't ideal.

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12 Answers

  • lucy
    Lv 7
    5 months ago

    As a elderly widow, who 3 years ago, my (late) husband had dementia. At that time, with my husbands medical bills and other expenses in my big house that was 50 years old, we could barely afford to just paying monthly expenses, since due to the age of the house, we had problems with the AC or the furnace or other problems due to the age of the house. A fence if we had had one and if damaged, then that is (not) necessary to fix.

    I have since moved and sold the big house and paid cash for a much smaller 2 year old house, thus my living expenses are about 1/3 of my prior old house. Now with my new house, I installed a fence for my dog and had to have a survey done (cost $500) and my HOA had to approve it, and if not done right, then they could remove it at (my) cost.

    If, I had to guess, your neighbors being elderly and with the husband having dementia is probably living on SS income (only) and are barely making expenses, just like me 3 years ago, thus the reason for the lady being mean, since my guess is that they (can't) afford even 1/2.

    You and another neighbor have an advantage of being able to use 1 side each to help keep your dogs safe. The other neighbor has done minor things to fix, but you want them to pay 1/2 instead?.

    Now, unless you live in an HOA, then the HOA could have the (entire) fence taken down. Or if they have violated a code violation, or if you have a survey and find out that their fence is in (your) property. But like others have suggested, build a fence on the side of your property, then any damages to their fence is their problem, not yours.

    • Camille5 months agoReport

      Thank you for being polite. At this point I would be happy even if nothing happens if they even talk to me about it. I understand if they can't afford it but they won't even allow polite conversation. :( I have decided that I am going to put up a chain link fence 6 inches inside theirs.

  • 5 months ago

    Here is the issue. If you want a fence, build your own. You cannot rely on another person to supply you with a fence. The fence is not shared, they have been maintaining it. It is their fence, not yours. If the fence is on your property, then get a survey to prove it, take it down and put up a chain link fence for your dogs.

    You do not seem to realize that your neighbor is not responsible for their fence keeping your dogs in your yard.

    Again, if YOU need a fence, build YOUR own fence.

    • Common Sense
      Lv 7
      5 months agoReport

      Again, put up your own fence, next to theirs. If their fence is on your property, remove it and build your own. You do not need to discuss a thing with them.

  • 5 months ago

    There are exactly 2 possibilities under the law.

    1. YOU own the fence, and can repair is without asking.

    2. THEY own the fence, and can REMOVE it without asking.

  • Tavy
    Lv 7
    5 months ago

    Then put up a fence WITHIN your boundry and let theirs fall down.

    Not rocket science is it.

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  • Anonymous
    5 months ago

    " "how come I have the back side of the fence (side with beams)."

    In my area YOU are in violation as the ugly side must face YOUR property. We would need to know your local fence zoning laws to know if the rest of your story holds water. Is there a setback so that when you erect a fence it is on YOUR property or the property line?

    To the OP did it ever occur to you that these elderly people can not afford to expend thousands of dollars at a time but can afford repairs as they go along?

    Laughter every day gave you the best answer so far my reply is based on many scenarios that will not mean diddly in this situation.

    Be careful what you wish for because if I were in the right, meaning completely my fence well within my property line, and you kept badgering me without survey proof I'd take the damn thing down and let YOU all worry about your own dogs. In other words keep the lines of communication open just in case YOU are in the wrong. GET a survey and yes that will cost money.

    Just reread your post and if that fence has been there 50 years without question it is likely, very likely on their property now.

    • STEVEN F
      Lv 7
      5 months agoReport

      I FLAT OUT DEFY you to cite an actual law that requires the 'ugly' side to face EITHER direction. In any case, the person asking CANNOT be in violation of such a law over a fence they DON'T OWN.

  • Anonymous
    5 months ago

    I'll tell you what I did. I paid for a survey. I then got a permit and had a fence installed on MY property (inside the damaged fence) to contain my dogs.

    Your neighbors have no obligation to maintain the fence, even if it's on their property.

    Sometimes it's not about what's "ideal." Sometimes it's about what keeps your dogs safe.

  • 5 months ago

    That is no a question. If you are examining your option, you should start with a surveyor who can tell you where that fence is . That will affect your options.

  • 5 months ago

    They have no obligation to replace the fence. Simple, end of story.

  • 5 months ago

    Your neighbor is a naggy old woman and she likely won't replace the fence, she has no legal obligation to anyways. It's her fence, not yours, she does not have to repair it. I think you should just make your own fence and leave theirs be. 2 years of this? Just make your own fence man problem solved.

  • 5 months ago

    Welcome to the world of homeownership and shared fence.

    My person experience:

    - I spent 2 years trying to get one side of mine to pay for the fence. It was completely leaning by the time we fixed it. He finally agreed "if I used his person".

    - the otherside, same two years. He does cheap corrections, no way was I going to use his person. Went from 50/50... to me asking for 1/2... to me saying that I'll pay for it all as long as he would allow the work crew on his probably and move his things away from the fence so they could work. He wouldn't even agree to that. (this is after his grandkids played soccer against it for years breaking it). I paid for the full fence, move it a couple of inches on my side. The first day is was finished.... knock knock knock on my door "how come I have the back side of the fence (side with beams)... Do you really have to ask Mr I got a free fence worth $8000? (or 50% of $8000).

    With both of these guys I had to threaten I would call the city on "us" for code enforcement violation.

    Your options:

    - call the city, if it's a violation in your area

    - do all the work about getting the contractor in place to repair the fence so they only have to pay money not do the work

    - bid with them to help pay for part of it

    - if they don't pay for part of it, you can probably take them to court but for me, I didn't want to... $4000 for at least some happiness with my neighbor was worth it for me to pay for the full fence.

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