Neighbor's Fence has Fallen [and it can't get up]

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Neighbor's Fence has Fallen [and it can't get up]

Postby Call_Me_Op » Thu Jan 31, 2013 5:39 pm

Due to the recent high winds, an 8 foot wide (6 foot high) section of my neighbor's wooden fence has fallen onto my property. That side of the fence is about 48 feet long and is 40-50 years old. Here is my question.

That neighbor never repairs of replaces anything on their property. So I assume that they will just let the fallen section of fence sit there - and not replace it or the entire aging fence. I assume that my insurance does not cover the fence, and I do not know about their insurance. Should I just ask them if I can replace the fence (and pay for a new 48 foot fence out of my pocket) or should I expect their insurance to pay for at least replacement of the 8 foot section that has fallen into my backyard?
Last edited by Call_Me_Op on Fri Feb 01, 2013 9:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Neighbor's Fence has Fallen onto my Property

Postby nodenuff2 » Thu Jan 31, 2013 5:52 pm

We need more info. Was the fence put up by this neighbor ? Is it a fence on the property line? If it belonged to your neighbor then he should file an insurance claim to get the fence replaced. If it was put up when you both purchsed the property and it is on the property line it could be the property of both. In that case if the cost exceeds your deductble then you make a claim under your policy. Unless you has written him asking him to make repairs and have that letter then he was not on notice that it needed attention. I don't think his liablity coverage is applicable because of the high winds. This sounds like an opportunity for a cooperative effort to rebuild the fence. 12.50 a linear foot should replace the fence.
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Re: Neighbor's Fence has Fallen onto my Property

Postby HardKnocker » Thu Jan 31, 2013 5:58 pm

You don't really think insurance will pay to replace an 8-foot section of fence do you? The deductible alone would be greater than the cost. If the section of fence is still in decent shape it's easy to put it back up. Just get some longer galvanized screws and put it back up with a drill. If you don't have rechargeable drill get one. Now's your chance.

I had a fence fence post of my neighbor's fall onto my property along with a couple fence crosspieces. My neighbor is a nice guy but lazy. I waited a couple weeks but he never did anything. :(

I put it back together and fixed it without spending any money as I had some materials to repair it.

The guy's wife noticed and made him come over and edge my front walk to "pay" me back. :D They are good people.

Some time later (a year :oops: ) the neighbor had workmen come in and replace my quick-fix.

You've got some options.

Do nothing.
Fix his fence yourself. I doubt you can make him fix it if he refuses.
Don't fix it but put his fence piece in his yard (definitely!).
Talk to your neighbor about it first (makes sense!)
Put a new fence on your side at your own expense.
Shoot your neighbor (just kidding :wink: )

If it was me, I'd put the old piece of fence back up myself. If he says anything just say you're glad to help him out because he's such a good neighbor! Be sincere.

If you don't like his 50 year old fence put up your own fence, on your property. "Good fences making good neighbors".
Last edited by HardKnocker on Thu Jan 31, 2013 6:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Neighbor's Fence has Fallen onto my Property

Postby mhc » Thu Jan 31, 2013 6:08 pm

Go have a nice conversation with your neighbor and work it out. Be willing to pitch in. Maybe take over a couple of beers or a plate of cookies.
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Re: Neighbor's Fence has Fallen onto my Property

Postby HardKnocker » Thu Jan 31, 2013 6:22 pm

Are we afraid to talk to our neighbors?

Think about it.

Here's an idea: "Hey, Joe, I see a section of the fence blew down. What say we put it back up? It'll take five minutes."
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Re: Neighbor's Fence has Fallen onto my Property

Postby Rodc » Thu Jan 31, 2013 6:42 pm

HardKnocker wrote:Are we afraid to talk to our neighbors?

Think about it.

Here's an idea: "Hey, Joe, I see a section of the fence blew down. What say we put it back up? It'll take five minutes."


I like that solution.

Or just flip the section back in his yard. Your yard will be back to where it was and they will do whatever they do.

Unless there are zoning issues or some hazard, or some neighborhood covenants, they don't really have an obligation.

In this situation some folks just put in their own fence to hide the ugly fence.
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Re: Neighbor's Fence has Fallen onto my Property

Postby Call_Me_Op » Thu Jan 31, 2013 6:43 pm

I do plan to talk with the neighbor. Not as easy as it sounds - but doable.

As far as the fence history, it was probably erected before this neighbor moved in 30 years ago - but the neighbor in the past told me it was her fence. I believe it is just over the property line, on her side.

Probably putting it back up is the best bet - even though the whole fence will be falling apart in the coming years. I would have to get help due to a back problem. The fence section is quite heavy.

Someone said 15 bucks per linear foot. I paid 26 bucks per linear foot for an equivalent fence in back of my yard. I live in an expensive part of the country, which affects everything.
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Re: Neighbor's Fence has Fallen onto my Property

Postby Rodc » Thu Jan 31, 2013 7:25 pm

Frankly, sounds like the fence just needs to be taken down and carted off. Some handyman with a pickup truck is likely cheapest.
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Re: Neighbor's Fence has Fallen onto my Property

Postby gerntz » Thu Jan 31, 2013 7:29 pm

Sounds like cheap firewood.
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Re: Neighbor's Fence has Fallen onto my Property

Postby sscritic » Thu Jan 31, 2013 7:41 pm

Do you want a fence?

I have lived with
no fence
a low picket fence
an iron fence you can see through
a block wall

Put up an 8 foot section of block wall and see the reaction you get. :)

What is the code where you live? I live in codeville, and the height of the fence you are allowed to has 30 different values depending on the location. My favorite is the Mayor's illegal fence.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has asked for approval for a six-foot-wall around the Getty House, the mayor’s official residence in Windsor Square, according to city documents.

But at least one planning official was “caught off guard” by Villaraigosa’s request for increased security around the taxpayer-owned property.

The mayor’s office filed its request on Feb. 2 for a variance to city bylaws with plans to erect a security wall around the property at 605 S. Irving Blvd.
...
Initially, the mayor proposed an eight-and-a-half-foot wall, which was quickly rejected by the Windsor Square Association.

Villaraigosa has scaled down his plans, but the new proposal still exceeds the permitted 42-inch height.


Our mayor loves his fence, but strongly opposes other fences. No, not that fence, this fence:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nkVXZPwIG84
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Re: Neighbor's Fence has Fallen onto my Property

Postby Rubiosa » Thu Jan 31, 2013 7:47 pm

sscritic - A polite request.

If your url doesn't so indicate, a heads-up of "Fox News" would probably be welcome in many quarters. Thanks.
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Re: Neighbor's Fence has Fallen onto my Property

Postby Epsilon Delta » Thu Jan 31, 2013 7:54 pm

gerntz wrote:Sounds like cheap firewood.


If the wood is pressure treated, stained or otherwise coated you probably don't want to be around if it burns. In most parts of the country the fact that it has lasted for 30 plus years suggests that it has been treated, since raw wood would not last that long.
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Re: Neighbor's Fence has Fallen onto my Property

Postby sscritic » Thu Jan 31, 2013 7:54 pm

Rubiosa wrote:sscritic - A polite request.

If your url doesn't so indicate, a heads-up of "Fox News" would probably be welcome in many quarters. Thanks.

I will ignore any request that attempts to hide the truth. If you want to find another story about the tale of two fences, you are welcome to post your own link.

I deliberately left out all the stories that made a political point about the contrast between this fence and that other fence.

P.S. I don't self censor; I read the WSJ and the NY Times.
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Re: Neighbor's Fence has Fallen onto my Property

Postby sscritic » Thu Jan 31, 2013 8:04 pm

About Fox: Are you afraid of Glee, Bones, and American Idol? I admit that Kitchen Nightmares can be pretty frightening.

I realize you said news, so does that mean you won't watch the weather report on your local Fox station? What about a good police car chase? Fox has some of the best helicopter coverage.
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Re: Neighbor's Fence has Fallen onto my Property

Postby LadyGeek » Thu Jan 31, 2013 8:15 pm

Let's stay on topic...
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Re: Neighbor's Fence has Fallen onto my Property

Postby RyeWhiskey » Thu Jan 31, 2013 9:12 pm

Call_Me_Op wrote:I do plan to talk with the neighbor. Not as easy as it sounds - but doable.

As far as the fence history, it was probably erected before this neighbor moved in 30 years ago - but the neighbor in the past told me it was her fence. I believe it is just over the property line, on her side.

Probably putting it back up is the best bet - even though the whole fence will be falling apart in the coming years. I would have to get help due to a back problem. The fence section is quite heavy.

Someone said 15 bucks per linear foot. I paid 26 bucks per linear foot for an equivalent fence in back of my yard. I live in an expensive part of the country, which affects everything.


Well you've really only got a couple options, logically speaking:
1) Throw the fence back into their yard and forget about it.
1a) Throw the fence back into their yard and build your own fence on your property covering that portion or possibly the whole bit.
2) Talk to them and ask them to fix it.
3) Talk to them and offer to help in fixing it.

That's about it. It's up to you if you want to contribute financially or physically to the operation, or if you want to forget the whole thing and just build your own fence.
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Re: Neighbor's Fence has Fallen onto my Property

Postby donall » Thu Jan 31, 2013 10:19 pm

Our insurance co. paid for a wooden fence portion (6 feet high) that fell over due to a windstorm. It costs a lot more than one would think.

Not sure ins. co would pay for repair/replacement of a 50 year old fence.... may be best to work with neighbor, or time to plant shrubs.
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Re: Neighbor's Fence has Fallen onto my Property

Postby NorCalDad » Thu Jan 31, 2013 11:52 pm

Maybe customs/laws are different where I live, but it seems weird to me to call it your "neighbor's fence," since that suggests only one of you bears responsibility for a downed fence between your yards. I've had fence problems on both sides of my property, and each time have come up with a reasonable split and solution to replace the damaged sections. Both of us benefit by the fence, both of us share in the cost of repair, which only seems right to me. I realize not all neighbors are reasonable, so I should consider myself fortunate.

It'd have to be one heck of a fence and a very long section for me to call my insurer since I have a high homeowner's deductible.
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Re: Neighbor's Fence has Fallen onto my Property

Postby Call_Me_Op » Fri Feb 01, 2013 8:05 am

NorCalDad wrote:Maybe customs/laws are different where I live, but it seems weird to me to call it your "neighbor's fence," since that suggests only one of you bears responsibility for a downed fence between your yards.


I referred to it as my neighbor's fence because she has told me in the past that it is her fence. I guess that means that either she or a previous owner of her home installed the fence. Also, it looks like the holes for the fence posts are located on her side of the property line.

Somehow, moving the fence to her property seems like something that could cause unforeseen problems, including angering the neighbor.

My plan at this point is to wait a while to allow her to do something. If she does nothing, I will discuss with her how she wants to remedy the situation. If she offers no help, I will ask her if I can reinstall that section of fence - and that will probably hold for a few years - until we again experience hurricane force wind gusts.
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Re: Neighbor's Fence has Fallen onto my Property

Postby nisiprius » Fri Feb 01, 2013 8:44 am

You have the reading on her personality and attitude... I'd just say this. First, if you're willing to correct the problem at your own expense and effort--such as the temporizing measure of just reinstalling the fallen section--if you approach her with the attitude "I would like to fix our problem," or "I would like to fix our problem temporarily," I don't think you'll be any worse off doing it now than waiting.

("Our" problem? Well, it's her problem because "her" fence is broken and it's your problem because it's lying on your property, so I think "our" is quite legitimate here).

I would be open to the possibility that she's perfectly aware that the section of fence is down and that it is nagging unpleasantly at some corner of her mind, but that she may actually be clueless about what to do about it. She may actually not know how to Google on "fence contractor zenith, winnemac." Or she may not have the do-it-yourself gumption to do it herself and have a limited budget with higher priorities.

She may just be overwhelmed with an ever-growing list of home-ownership tasks she does not know what to do about.

If she's sort of brooding about "oh, no, all those other things and now the fence too" she may actually be relieved if you come to her with an offer to take ownership of the problem.

If you want a fence on that property border, and if you've "enjoyed" the neighbor's fence for fifty years without any effort or expense on your part, it seems reasonable for you to open negotiations with a generous offer...
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Re: Neighbor's Fence has Fallen onto my Property

Postby surveyor » Fri Feb 01, 2013 8:50 am

This reminds me of why I love the heartland. If my fence fell onto my neighbors property I'd pick it up. If he knew I had back problems he'd make sure he got out there first. If his fence fell onto my property he'd pick it up. If we both had back problems our wives would do it. Neither of us would even think of posting on an internet forum for investing on what to do if a section of fence fell down. No wonder our country has so many problems. /rant.
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Re: Neighbor's Fence has Fallen onto my Property

Postby Call_Me_Op » Fri Feb 01, 2013 8:59 am

Thanks Nisi. I have only lived in this home for 8 years - but the fence has been there a very long time. I actually have no problem taking care of it myself - but since it's her fence, I need to at least get her authorization.

Surveyor, I like to think before I act. I like to get the opinion of Bogleheads, since they tend to be intelligent and considerate.
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Re: Neighbor's Fence has Fallen onto my Property

Postby sscritic » Fri Feb 01, 2013 9:14 am

My neighbor had his trees trimmed. A moderately large branch fell on my side of the fence. I did not post on the internet asking what I should do. If I did ask for tree removal advice, it wouldn't be on bogleheads. I know better.

P.S. And I am not telling what I did or how large my neighbor's shotgun is. :)

P.P.S. And I don't live in the heartland, but things must be different out there in the milky way.
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Re: Neighbor's Fence has Fallen onto my Property

Postby fourwaystreet » Fri Feb 01, 2013 9:19 am

I don't see what the big deal is here. A eight foot section of stockade fence that belongs to your neighbor fell onto your property. Either the neighbor should walk over and drag the fence back onto their property or if they fail to do so you should drag the fence over to their property and leave it there. I can only assume that the fence just fell over and the base of the section remains right next to the property line. If the neighbors trash can blew into your yard or their kids ball came over the fence you would give it back right? Same theory here.

Unless there is a code on the books that mandates that they do so the neighbor is under no obligation to repair or replace the fence. If you want a new fence I am guessing here but I would think the neighbor would not object to you tearing down the fence and paying for a replacement.
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Re: Neighbor's Fence has Fallen onto my Property

Postby HardKnocker » Fri Feb 01, 2013 9:33 am

The general consensus seems to be "go talk to your neighbor".

So, go talk to her. Work it out. Previous poster's comment about the mental state of the owner may be correct. She may have paralysis by analysis.

However, if she looks like this, use caution...

Image
Last edited by HardKnocker on Fri Feb 01, 2013 9:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Neighbor's Fence has Fallen onto my Property

Postby Call_Me_Op » Fri Feb 01, 2013 9:36 am

OK guys - since I am all set with my portfolio, I wanted to talk about something on here. :)

Thanks for all of the advice.
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