Can A Neighbor Attach Something To My Fence?
When we see Pinterest boards that show cutesy art projects affixed to a fence, we don’t usually think about the legality of the matters. They’re just art projects, right? Well, sometimes that’s the case. Other times, the items that get affixed to fences can be an eyesore or a downright nuisance. If you’re in a situation where neighbors are putting stuff on your fence, you might be wondering what you can do.
If the fence is your property, it is illegal for a neighbor to attach something to it without your permission. Any modifications and attachments can only be done by the legal owner, meaning your neighbor, even if the side of the fence is facing their house, cannot legally change anything on your fence. If your neighbors attach anything to your fence without your permission, you have the right to sue them, call the police, or get a mediator.
Waking up to seeing your property modified isn’t exactly fun. But, it can happen to anyone in any neighborhood. If you’re wondering what your rights are, or just aren’t sure what you should do, then keep reading. This article has the details you need.
Are Neighbors Allowed To Attach Things To My Fence?
The answer to this all depends on ownership. If the fence is on your property and isn’t split between you and your neighbor, then the answer is no. Since it’s your property, only you are allowed to determine what happens to it. This includes any modifications that could be made as well as hanging any items from it.
If the fence is technically owned by you and your neighbor, then things get a little more complicated. Generally speaking, your neighbor will be allowed to hang stuff up on their side of the fence–and only their side of the fence. If they try to hang stuff up on your side, you might have a right to sue.
What Should I Do If My Neighbor Attached Something To My Fence?
If you woke up to see a new “something” attached to your fence, it’s normal to feel a little violated or concerned. It also can be pretty hard to figure out what to do. The truth is that you can solve this issue the same ways that you could solve most other fence-related issues, including unwanted modifications to your fence. If you’re not sure what to do, follow these steps below.
Figure Out If It’s Really An Issue
Let’s just face it, there are attachments and then there are attachments. Hanging a planter off your fence probably isn’t that bad a thing and probably doesn’t warrant a trip to court. Hanging a different fence off of it, or drilling holes to add a patio umbrella holder, on the other hand, is definitely worth a stern discussion.
On a similar note, you should also keep in mind that certain items might be in bad taste to remove. For example, if a neighbor attaches a memorial for someone who passed away outside your home, removing it will probably cast you in a bad light. Think about the consequences before you get angry.
Talk To Your Neighbor
When talking to your neighbor, be tactful and calm. Ask them (politely) to remove whatever is irking you on your fence, or at the very least, find out why they did that. In most cases, your neighbor might be shocked to find out that it was even an issue and offer to fix it. If not, you might ask them to fix it.
Talking it out with your neighbor seems like a relatively easy way to solve things, and it usually is. Talking things out is the easiest way to avoid serious conflicts and prevent a “fence war” with your neighbor. Should nothing arise from talking about the situation, you are going to have to take a look at going to court.
Weigh Your Options
Depending on your area, you may have several options to consider:
- Talk to your HOA. If the attachment is against HOA rules or if you want to handle it through the HOA, tell them what’s going on. They will usually help act as mediators or determine if the fence addition is a violation of the local codes.
- Consider adding a “No Tresspassing Sign.” If you see your neighbor on your property after you install the sign, you can call the police. This should be a last resort, since it can potentially ruin your relationship with your neighbors. On a similar note, you should call the police if you have evidence that your neighbors vandalized your fence.
- Sue your neighbor in small claims. In most jurisdictions, you also have a right to sue your neighbor for “reduced enjoyment of property” as well as any repairs that could arise from whatever they attach.
- Write a letter asking them to remove the item. For many people, just getting the letter in the mail will be enough to make them rethink their decision to attach something to your fence.
- Offer to hire a mediator. A mediator is a legal “middle man” who helps you and your neighbor work things out.
Does Your Neighbor Have To Remove The Item They Attached To Your Fence?
If you are able to prove that the fence is yours in court, then you are probably going to be able to legally force your neighbor to remove the attachment. If your neighbor doesn’t remove the attachment in a certain number of days, then you can most likely sue or have the town fine them.
With that said, you might also have a right to remove the attachments yourself in some cases–especially if your neighbor refuses to remove them. It all depends on your local laws as well as what the courts determine.
Can I build a fence next to my neighbor’s fence?
If you want to build a fence next to your neighbor’s fence, you need to make sure that your fence is on your property line and that the project is in accordance with your local laws. In most cases, you can do it without having to worry too much about getting fined or sued.
Do I need a permit to build a fence in my yard?
This all depends on the local laws as well as HOA ordinances that are in place. Most small towns will require a permit before you start the installation, but it’s still best to check with your local housing board to ensure you’re not doing excess paperwork.
What do I do if I have a boundary conflict with my neighbor?
A boundary conflict is something that shouldn’t be taken lightly, especially if it could potentially end with installations on your property. Before anything happens, try talking to your neighbor about the issue. If you have a conflict, hire a land surveyor and bring your neighbor to civil court.
Do I have to ask my neighbors before installing a fence on my property?
Assuming that you don’t have part of the fence extend on their property, the answer is no. You don’t have to ask them for permission. However, it’s generally considered to be common courtesy in most communities and can also help prevent problems if your neighbor is not okay with the fence being there.
Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.
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