Have an issue with your neighbor’s fence? Worried that it may be encroaching on your property line?
Issues with property lines and fencing can be such an awkward issue, as most people want to remain friendly with the people they are going to live next door to for the next 3 to 20 years. Below you will find some common questions that come up related to neighbor’s fences and property line encroachments.
QUESTION: My neighbor built a new fence and a portion of the fence is on my property. What should I do?
- Request that owner move the fence onto the neighbor’s property, or
- Enter into an Easement/Encroachment Agreement allowing the fence to remain, but the owner retaining the right to request the fence be removed at any time the owner requests.
- Nothing…. but this may result in the loss of property over time.
You may also have to have a local surveyor come to the house to identify and mark the true property lines. Usually a survey is about $350 to $400.
QUESTION: My neighbor built a fence higher than allowed by the local ordinance. As the neighbor, what can I do?
- Inform the neighbor of the fence ordinance. The neighbor may not otherwise know the law exists.
- If the neighbor still does not conform the fence to the local ordinance, call the local zoning or planning office and they will take action to seek conformance.
QUESTION: A neighbor’s fence is unsightly (U-G-L-Y!) . What can I do?
- Check the local ordinance to see if the fence is in conformity. If not, see Q&A above.
- If in conformity, but ugly to you, there is nothing that can be done unless:
- There are restrictive covenants in the subdivision restricting fence designs, or
- The fence poses a danger because of its design or condition, or
- The fence is dilapidated.
In these cases you may have the ability to have the fence removed or redesigned.
QUESTION: An old fence used by both owners sits directly on the Property line? Who owns the fence?
ANSWER: The fence belongs to both parties, neither can remove it without the others permission and both are responsible for maintenance.
QUESTION: I would like to build a privacy fence. How high can the fence be?
- Most jurisdictions have limitations on the height of fences, usually six feet for back and side yards and 4 feet for front yards.
- In order to build higher, a “variance” would have to be applied for and approved.
If a conflict arises over any fence issue, the first step is to try to understand the law, verify the property line (using a local survey company) and then to contact the neighbor to discuss remedying any situation. In any of these cases, a lawsuit should be your last resort.
Kerry Lucasse | Atlanta Real Estate Specialist
404.432.1844 (c) | 404.721.3001 (o)
Nest Atlanta Real Estate Group | Ian Marshall Realty