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Fence Question
Old 01-25-2014, 08:23 PM
  #1

My husband and I bought our first home this past fall. We love our neighborhood and are so excited to finally have our own home! We are not, however, especially pleased with one neighbor. We have seen him send his dog over into our yard on multiple occasions. Footprints in the snow show that he has walked over with him even more often than we thought! The home was previously owned by an elderly woman with no children or family, so perhaps she didn't mind him using her yard because she was not using it either. It was also vacant for about 6 months, so he may have become used to having two yards.

Beyond this, the very first day we moved in he tried to tell us that our property line was about 3 feet from our house, despite our property maps saying otherwise. I'm not sure why he said this- we had just met him! He also has a large garden that is clearly many feet (at least 10) onto our property. He also took the opportunity to ask us how much we paid for the house and ask us what our home inspector found. Very strange first impression.

So, all this being said, we want to put a fence up in the spring. We aren't sure what to do, however, because the a fence already exists along the back of the property (a 6 foot tall privacy fence) and along the right of the property (a 3 - 4 foot decorative white picket fence). Each is owned by the respective neighbor. We would want our fence to match, but aren't sure what to do? I would feel strange putting another fence against an existing fence. I would feel even MORE strange, though, with 3 different fence styles around my yard! What would you do?


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Old 01-25-2014, 08:31 PM
  #2

I would put a fence that matches the other side so two sides match, if that is possible. My next door neighbor has three different fences because the neighbors (including me) put the fences up and he didn't. When we put up a new fence he tried to get us to match it to one of the two fence types around his yard. We didn't. I would put up a fence to keep the dog out and also to get your property back. I have also seen fences that go up against the other fence so all of the sides of your yard will match. I think it is a personal preference. I would prefer the fence to match all the way around.
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Old 01-25-2014, 08:56 PM
  #3

The first thing I would do is have your property line legally defined by your municipality or whatever agency does this in your area. Then I would kindly inform him of the fact that his garden is on your property and you would like him to remove it.

As for the fences, I would match the two side fences, to have symmetry.
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Old 01-25-2014, 09:31 PM
  #4

A friend has a neighbor like this. He likely will continue to be a problem no matter what you do.

imatchr2 is right. The property line needs to clearly defined. In our area there is a pin at the back corners of the property marking property lines.

I would try to match the fencing that runs along the back--tall, privacy. I might even consider planting hedges, trees, or grapes along that side of the property.
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Old 01-26-2014, 03:21 AM
  #5

I must be weird, because my first reaction to a neighbor's garden being 10 feet over the line would be "Yes, 10 feet I don't have to mow!"

But if you really don't like the looks of the garden, I agree with checking with the town, and then matching the picket fence on the opposite side.


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Old 01-26-2014, 04:24 AM
  #6

Yep, get property lines defined asap. I'd be worried if he had his garden on your property for many years. I've been having similar issues and now it's in the legal system .
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check with zoning laws
Old 01-26-2014, 04:57 AM
  #7

regarding fences. Some place you can fence on the property line, other places, they have to be set in so many inches from the lot line.
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Old 01-26-2014, 05:27 AM
  #8

I would go to the courthouse on Monday and check the deed, tax ticket, and any other property information. He may be correct about the line. If he is wrong, I would make copies to show him and then build my fence.
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Fence
Old 01-26-2014, 06:00 AM
  #9

I would find your property lines from the county and then come in 6 in. and put up the fence you want. If I could- I would put at least an 8 ft. fence. (I'm waiting for a giant gust of wind to knock down mine so I can replace it all)
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Fence
Old 01-26-2014, 06:03 AM
  #10

I would try to match either the other side or the back (depending on if you want a privacy fence on his side or not) at least with the same type of material. I really want a privacy fence on my one side, but my neighbors behind me mentioned they might put up a fence in their yard this year, so I'm kind of waiting to see what type of material they use because I want them to match.


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Old 01-26-2014, 07:02 AM
  #11

You need to look into adverse possession immediately! He may legally own the land, even though your property records state otherwise. Our neighbor's driveway was built over our property line and there's nothing we can do because it had been there for more than 20 years.
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Old 01-26-2014, 08:41 AM
  #12

That's exactly what I was thinking.
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Old 01-26-2014, 08:52 AM
  #13

I didn't read all responses but do have your property surveyed again. Make sure the survey company installs property marking pegs and photograph them clearly in case they "get moved." Someone in our neighborhood did that when we had the neighborhood park surveyed. He was trying to take some of the land and even had a cement driveway 3 ft. on it- which our HOA sued to have cut to bring it back to the property line. We had to have the property resurveyed but were successful in taking back what he had tried to take over.

As for the type of fence... make it one you want. If you like the back fence but not the one side fence, copy the back fences. Are the fences jointly owned or on your neighbor's property? If they are on their property, erect what you want. I'd go for full privacy since it sounds as if your homes are rather close.

As for the garden, once the property line is established and if he is on your property, tell him he needs to removed his garden items. Give him a little time and then remove it yourself. A garden is not like a driveway that someone mentioned since it is not cement and permanent.

Good luck! Your neighbor sounds like an oddball. We all have them from time to time.
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In our town
Old 01-26-2014, 09:20 AM
  #14

you need to have your lot surveyed and marked before you put up a fence. You also need a permit. I would go with the one of the two styles already installed. I think a privacy fence in the back and a picket fence on each side would be nice. You can always put plantings on your side of the fence to make the privacy fence look more attractive.
Since you just bought the home you may already have the survey. I think I would still check with the township. We have owned property for a long, long time. Last year we started to build. We had to have another survey done before they broke ground. Our picky, negative neighbor on one side of our place was told by the company doing the surveying and by the township that the corner of his driveway was on our property. I am glad we didn't need to tell him that! If you go to the township you will find out whether or not he was informed that his garden etc. are on your land. So much nicer when it comes from the township.
Good luck.
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Fence
Old 01-26-2014, 09:39 AM
  #15

I would get the survey done now. Let neighbor know that you will be up a fence in the spring. I would as PP said put up a privacy fence (taller than other fences) a few inches in from the property line. He does sound like an odd duck. We have block fences around all our houses in our subdivision. I do rather like it. We have a pool so we would need one anyway. Good luck and remember it is your house, you can do what you want. You might want to check if you need permits.
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Old 01-26-2014, 12:19 PM
  #16

Thanks, everyone! We definitely agree that we need to have a survey done. We live in the Boston area, and the section of the city we live in is old. We have one original marker from when the land was divided, but it is in the opposite corner of the yard. We are going to wait until Spring for the surveyor to come out so he can remark our boundaries. I did check with city hall for previous surveys, but they are all very old and use trees that are long gone as markers. Boo!

I like the idea of matching the fence to at least one side of it. That could work for us! Maybe we'll also put in some large shrubs along the fence on the difficult neighbors' side...
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and
Old 01-26-2014, 01:20 PM
  #17

then spray the bushes with animal repellent!
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Boston
Old 01-26-2014, 03:29 PM
  #18

I almost laughed when I saw you were in the Boston area. When My grandfather died 4 years ago I tried to help my mother figure out the property line for his property and it was a nightmare. He lived there all his life (92 years) and the city has some of the worse records imaginable. The area was sold as "tent lots" and apparently never updated. We had quite a time figuring out exactly how many lots he owned. These are very small. There was at least 1 that he paid taxes on, but the city said he didn't own and I think 2 others that they said he owned, but were where the street was.

However all that should have been figured out before you were allowed to close on your home. If your neighbor has a garden and has kept it on property you believe you now own for years that should have been addressed before closing. You'll have to get that figured out before putting up a fence.

I also think it makes for good neighbor relations to let your neighbors know you are thinking of putting up another fence. My neighbor let me know when he was changing his to match with mine in the back. It did look funny to have the fences back to back and they were different types. I ended up telling him he could just attached the side fence to my back fence. Our fences are on the property line.
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