If you were to build a fence, which side would you rather have? Chances are, you’d choose the smooth and “attractive” side, giving your neighbor the view of the ugly and unfinished side. The problem with this, though, is that it can end in disputes. That’s where good neighborhood fences come in.
What is a good neighbor fence?
A good neighbor fence is a privacy fence that divides two properties. It’s called the “good neighbor” fence because it combines construction with neighborly conduct. By building a good neighbor fence, no one gets a bad view. Both neighbors get to see the “good” side.
The cost to build a good neighbor fence is shared by both homeowners, along with maintenance and ownership. While it’s not required by law to build a good neighbor fence, it is considered good etiquette.
So, if you want to be considered a good neighbor, you better build a good neighbor fence.
What’s the best way to bring it up to your neighbor?
Since a good neighbor fence involved two parties, you’ll need to get your next-door neighbor on board. It’s important to remember that both of you should agree on the cost, materials, and more. Since it’s going to benefit both of you, you should ensure that you’re on the same page before beginning the build.
Let your neighbor know why you want to put up a fence in the first place. Do you need privacy? Do you want it purely for aesthetic purposes? If he/she agrees to build a good neighbor fence, you can then decide on a timeline.
When the fence is finished, keep in mind that both of you are responsible for its upkeep. You don’t need a written agreement for this since it’s usually an unspoken agreement. If you’ve hired a property manager, it’s important to let them know that it’s a shared fence.
To sum it up, you and your neighbor should share the cost to construct the fence. When it is completed, you’re responsible for your side of the fence, and your neighbor is responsible for theirs.
What if the neighbor doesn’t want a good neighbor fence?
Not all neighbors will be willing to build a good neighbor fence. Whatever their reasons are, the only thing you can do is to respect their decision. Still, you should continue being a good neighbor by following these steps:
#1 Inform your neighbor about your plans
Let your neighbors know that you’ll be building a fence. Talk about the specifics of the fence, such as its height, colors, and so on. This gives them the chance to express their concerns. After all, it’s technically going to be their fence, too. They may be worried that it might block their view, or that it might interfere with their plant-growing plans. Accommodate their concerns by coming to a compromise. You wouldn’t want to end up as enemies, especially if you plan to live in your South Florida property for a long time.
#2 Work around your neighbor’s schedule
There’s a good chance that your next-door neighbor will find your construction to be a nuisance. It’s important to be respectful of your neighbor’s schedule, especially since they’re likely working from home. So, if they have a Zoom meeting in the morning, you may want to put off using the table saw. Similarly, you shouldn’t do any construction work during the evening, as the entire neighborhood will likely be winding down for the night. Your homeowners association (HOA) probably has rules regarding noise, too.
#3 Check your HOA rules
Don’t go against your HOA’s rules, otherwise, you’ll end up paying a hefty fine. Before building a fence, ask your property management company to check your HOA’s rules and regulations. In some communities, homeowners can’t build fences that are above a certain height, or that are a certain color. Since there’s no way of going around your HOA’s rules, the only thing you can do is to abide by them.
#4 Make sure your fence is facing the right way
Even if you aren’t building a good neighbor fence, you should still be a good neighbor by letting your neighbor have the “better” side. The smooth side of the fence should be facing your neighbor’s property, while the side showing the rails should be facing yours. Besides, this is one way to enhance your property’s curb appeal. Would you rather show the bad-looking side to the outside world? It may be an eyesore to you, but it won’t be an eyesore to everyone else.
#5 Know where your property ends and begins
The worst mistake you can make is constructing the fence on your neighbor’s property. To make sure the fence is built within the boundaries of your land, have your property professionally surveyed. A property management company can connect you to a surveyor who can accurately establish your property line. You can also check your local records office if you’ve had your property surveyed in the past.
#6 Work with professionals
Think you can DIY your fence? Think again. Building a fence is a lot harder than it looks. That’s why you should only work with professional contractors. Choose licensed individuals who’ve been vetted by your property management company. Ideally, you should get at least three estimates from your top contractors. A property manager can help negotiate cheaper terms on your behalf.
As you can see, building a fence involves more than taking out the tools from your garage. You need to ensure that you can actually build a fence in the first place. Additionally, you should remember to respect your neighbor even if you aren’t building a fence together.
If you’re planning on building a fence on your South Florida property, or if you simply want to spruce up your existing fence, count on a company you can trust. At Luxury Property Care, we offer full-service property preservation to ensure that your home is maintained and managed to your exact standards.