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They say that fences make good neighbors, which is true, but not being a jerk also makes a good neighbor. Your fence is one of the key items that you will share with your neighbor, so if you are installing a new fence or making repairs to an existing one, make sure to bring the neighbor into the conversation. But my neighbor is weird you say, they do morning exercises outside while missing some clothing and they always park too close to my house. Regardless of their eccentricities, a fence is something you must come to terms on if you want to have a peaceful life. Consider this fence installation advice when dealing with a an uncooperative neighbor. 

Splitting the Cost on a Fence Installation

Because a fence is something that sits right on both of your property lines, this is something that should be the financial responsibility of both neighbors. These conversations can be hard, but they are part of being a homeowner. Start the conversation with your neighbor in a non-threatening way with something like, “I’ve noticed that our shared fence is falling down and probably needs to be replaced. Have you thought about what you would like to see be done about this?” Offer up your own ideas and general costs if you have done some research. If they are not up for the conversation, offer to contact fence contractors to come out for a free estimate. Try to get a few different estimates so your neighbor can get a good idea of what the going rate is for a new fence. If you have an HOA, this process will be a lot easier because they will serve as the mediator between the two parties if there is any hesitation. If you are able to handle a larger portion of the cost, it might be worth your sanity to offer to pay for a larger part of the fence installation if the other neighbor can’t afford it. You either want a new fence or your don’t. This isn’t to say that there aren’t frustrating situations that arise, but life happens and you have to get creative.

Clearly Defining Property Lines Prior to Fence Installation

Do you know where your property line starts and ends? Where is your neighbor’s property line? If you don’t know for sure, it’s a good idea to check your house’s plat, which is a drawing that maps out your land. If you are unable to locate this document, you can probably get a copy from your county’s records office. If you are really concerned about being accurate, consider hiring a land surveyor that will clearly define the lines. They will place stakes in the ground so you know exactly where the fence should be installed. 

Finished Side of Fence Goes Towards Neighbor

Most fences have a finished side that looks smoother than the other side with the posts and rails showing. General privacy fences are constructed this way, and you might be wondering what is the standard way to build a fence in this situation? The finished side should face toward your neighbor. This is the polite thing to do, because you’re not a jerk, and it’s also the standard way to do it. Additionally, your home will look nicer with the “good” side facing out from your home. If you do it the other way, your fence will look like it was installed backwards.

Maintain your Fence

You’ve spent all this money on your new fence installation, so you want to make sure you maintain it well. If you are using a clear stain or sealer, repeat as often as the fence installer recommends. Replace any loose or rotting boards, so the integrity of the fence doesn’t come into question. Don’t be petty about these fence replacements and repairs. If you’re the one who notices it and has the ability to repair it, just do it. Karma will come back around to reward you for your good deeds as you practice not being a jerk.

We hope we’ve been helpful as your navigate the tricky situation of dealing with a fence installation with an uncooperative neighbor. Communication and patience are the keys to success. We wish you nothing but good luck!