Building a fence isn’t like making other improvements on your property. You can paint a living room, fix your plumbing, and swap out your appliances without consulting anyone else, but fences impact the entire community.
If you don’t talk to the right people before you get started you may find yourself having to rip out your fence before you begin. That’s why we wanted to put together this handy checklist, so you’d know exactly what to do.
1. Talk to your neighbor.
Why would your neighbor get to weigh in on YOUR new fence?
First, you both need to agree on the location of your property line. If you want to build your fence right on the property line you’ll basically be asking your neighbor to take on 1/2 responsibility for the fence. And if your neighbor does not like your fence or is angry you’ve erected one without talking to him he may even accuse you of building a “spite fence,” which can put you into some protracted legal battles.
Make sure you talk to every neighbor bordering your property, especially if the fence will surround your property.
- What Happens if a Neighbor Builds a Fence Over My Property Line?
- What Can You Do if Your Neighbor is Damaging Your Fence?
- Help! My Neighbor’s Paint Job is Ruining my Fence!
- How to Manage a Boundary Fence With Your Neighbor
2. Talk to your homeowner’s association.
Homeowner’s associations can blindside you in a matter of moments. Their rules on fences are not always clearly outlined in the charter. HoAs are also made up of people, and those people tend to feel they have a right to have a say about what goes on with your property.
It’s not even enough to look around and note other people in your neighborhood have similar fences. Those fences might have been built before the HoA took over. There’s also a political element to the whole thing: some people clash with the board, and some people don’t.
It’s better to be safe than sorry. Put the request for your proposed fence in writing about 6 weeks before you intend to get your fence built. Send it via certified mail. Make sure you get the association’s consent in writing. Otherwise they may force you to tear out your fence and install a new one. Some HoAs will even assess a fine for every day you are not in compliance. It can be messy business. You can go ahead and get the quote before you do this so you can include project details and drawings with your request.
While we can help you make your request as attractive as possible to HoAs we cannot keep track of the individual rules and regulations of every HoA out there. It never hurts to have an informal conversation with the board (bring cookies) to put them in an amiable mood before you make your request.
3. Check with the city.
Every city in our service area has some sort of fence ordinance governing such details as fence height and style. Almost every city in our service area requires a building permit before beginning. We’re happy to help you navigate through the permitting process, but you should be aware of city regulations before you begin. That way you won’t get your heart set on an 8-foot tall spike-topped aluminum security fence.
It may feel annoying to have to involve so many other people in your project, but it’s far less annoying (and expensive) than having to rip out your fence at your own expense before you’ve gotten a chance to enjoy it. Do your homework and have the conversations. Trust us, it will make the entire process run far more smoothly.