Fencing with your Neighbor or “Lady, That Ain’t Your Fence”

double fence

The other day the landlord of the building adjacent to mine had the fence between our yards taken down. Not only did he not speak to me about it first but he denied planning to do it when I asked his crew of construction workers just the day before. When I complained about the lack of notice due to the impact the fence removal had on my yard (dog no longer contained, plants along fence line damaged, yard unexpectedly exposed) his only comment was “Lady, that ain't your fence.” My calm reply that most neighbors talk to each other about putting up or pulling down fencing was greeted with eye-rolling. From a grown man! Unbelievable.

So I did what any self-respecting real estate blogger would do, I looked up the city regulations! Guess what? I think he is right. Most fencing companies request neighbor approval and some law offices will help you file a damage claim if you feel wronged by a neighbor's fence but there does not seem to be any laws regarding neighbor rights to property-line fencing. Permits are required only if a fence is over 8 ft. tall. If your neighbor wants to tear down his fence, he doesn't have to check with you first. It might not be neighborly, or ethical, but it doesn't appear to be against any regulations.

My neighbor says he will be rebuilding “his fence” on his own timetable, but I'm not relying on his fence this time. I put up my own temporary fence already and will contract for another soon. If you've ever seen a yard with a double fence – now you know why.