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Should My Neighbor Help Pay for My Fence?

Should My Neighbor Help Pay for My Fence?

There’s an old saying that “good fences make good neighbors”. It’s a great axiom that can be construed a couple of different ways, but for the purpose of this article, we’ll use the literal interpretation: that a good fence, when agreed upon in terms of style, height, color, etc. between you and your neighbor, can make for good neighborly relations. Of course, the biggest question, even more vital than what the fence looks like, is who pays for it?

Discuss the Project

In the unwritten rules of home fencing etiquette, the first thing you should do after deciding to build a new fence is to discuss the project with your neighbor. The primary reason for doing this is to ensure that your notion of the property line matches your neighbor’s. Find your plat and review it together. If you lack a plat, hire a surveyor to do a new survey of the property. The key here is to avoid the costly mistake of building something you’ll have to tear down later because it strays onto your neighbor’s property. Even after studying the plat, most people still build their new fence a couple of feet inside the boundary line, just to be on the safe side.

Note that you aren’t required by law to discuss your new fence with your neighbor, but it’s highly recommended – especially if you want your neighbor to share the cost with you.

The Question of Payment

If you approach your neighbor with the idea to build a new fence that separates your respective properties, and your neighbor agrees that it’s a good idea and that he’d like a new fence too, then common sense dictates that the cost should be split equally. However, another possibility is that your neighbor doesn’t care about a new fence, in which case you should prepare to assume 100{5fae7dcccc1057dbda1e018640e298c291ecbda3e3a3c6a23c160c38759dcd72} of the cost, unless your neighbor approaches you and says he wants to contribute to your costs. Often times this gesture will include the neighbor having some input into the fence’s design. Also, in this “ambivalent neighbor” scenario, your neighbor is under no obligation to put any money towards your new fence, even if he/she derives some benefit from it.

Building and Maintaining the Fence

Whether or not your neighbor ends up covering half, some, or none of your new fence’s cost, keep the following things in mind when building and maintaining the fence:

Select a classy fence design that meshes with your home, your neighbor’s home, and your neighborhood as a whole. Everyone likes a good-looking fence, especially if it enhances overall property value.

Chances are the fence you build will look the same on both sides. However, if for some reason one side looks better than the other (i.e. one side is finished and the other isn’t), then the less-attractive side should face your property.

Unless your neighbor agrees to maintain his side of the fence, it’s your responsibility as the “new fence builder” to maintain both sides. Keep in mind that vinyl and aluminum fences are much easier to clean than wood fences, which require not just cleaning but also staining and sealing.

If you’d like more insights on this topic and many others regarding fencing in and around Mundelein, contact Action Fence today.

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