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Installing a New Fence – Etiquette Tips for Avoiding Neighbor Disputes

Installing a New Fence – Etiquette Tips for Avoiding Neighbor Disputes

Like the saying goes, “Good fences make good neighbors” – but only if both sets of neighbors are thoughtful and kind about placement, design, maintenance and choice of fence materials. Residents can foster neighborly love by following the fence etiquette tips listed below.

1. Research zoning & HOA regulations

Every town has slightly different regulations about fencing, but some regulations are fairly common. For example, most American cities limit backyard and side yard fences to a height of six feet, while restricting front yard fences to no more than four feet in height.

If you want to build a fence that somehow contradicts your city’s fencing regulations, you can apply to your local zoning board for a variance. For example, if your home faces a particularly busy street and you want to erect a tall, thick fence to cut down on street noise, your zoning board may allow that.

If you are a member of an HOA, you will need to follow their rules as well. Otherwise, you may face fines or nasty disputes. Some HOAs aim for a consistent style throughout the neighborhood. If your HOA publishes fence design guidelines, you may not have much wiggle room as far as the design of your fence is concerned.

2. Respect property boundaries

Avoid problems with the neighbors later on by carefully building your fence on your side of the property line. Many fence installation companies recommend installing new fences one foot inside of the property line, to stay on the safe side and avoid disputes. If you are unsure where the property line is for your home, study your plat or house line drawing.

Be sure to talk to your neighbors before building the fence. While there’s no need to divulge the design for your fence materials, residents would be wise to come to an agreement with their neighbors about how they will gain access to maintain the fence.

Given their proximity to your home, your neighbors can make your life heaven or hell. You’re more likely to have a heavenly home life if you think about how the neighbors might feel when you put up your new fence.

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