As the saying goes, good fences make good neighbors. This is only true if your fence company puts the structure in the right place. Installations on or over the property line could cause you legal concerns or even require calling fence services to move the fence.
Surprisingly, an installation placed too far inside the property line could be problematic as well. Before asking your fencing company to install the fence too close to or too far from your property line, consider these important facts.
Build On Or Inside the Property Line?
Whether putting up a fence around your backyard or property, it makes sense that you would want to have a fence company do the installation right on the property line to give you the most enclosed space. There are actually important legal factors to consider before doing that, especially where your neighbors are concerned.
One major consideration is ownership of the fence and who will pay for it. An installation done inside your property line is completely owned by you. You must pay for and maintain it to retain complete control over the fence. If a fencing company does the installation right on the property line, your neighbor assumes partial ownership, cost, and maintenance of the fence. When both of you agree, this can work out just fine. If your neighbor disagrees, they could take legal action against you for having fence services put the fence on their side of the line.
Prescriptive Easement and Assertive Possession
When a fence company installs your fence inside the property line, this may allow your neighbor to legally make use of that small amount of land by way of prescriptive easement. While this is not usually much of an issue and typically only involves small strips of ground on the other side of your fence, neighbors who take advantage of prescriptive easement could in rare cases gain legal ownership of that ground.
After a number of years of use, a neighbor could technically gain legal possession of that small area outside your fence, making their property bigger and yours smaller.
Confirm Local Zoning Regulations
Since every circumstance and neighbor is different, the most important thing to do before contracting a fencing company is to confirm your local zoning laws. You may be required to put the fence a certain number of inches away from the property line. If so, you may not legally put the structure on the property line at all, in which case prescriptive easement and assertive possession laws may or may not apply.
Once you have confirmed where you are legally permitted to have fence services install your fence, have a land survey done to mark off the actual property lines. Whether you decide to install on or inside the line, you will have an accurate account of where that line is actually located.
You must make a very careful decision where on your property line you ask a fence company to install your fence. While there may be some benefit to putting it on the property line, it could also lead to problems if your neighbor does not agree to share costs and ownership. You must also confirm whether prescriptive easement and assertive possession could eventually affect your property if fence services install inside the line. To find out more and make the right decision, contact your local zoning office or discuss this with an experienced local fencing company!