What is a “Spite” Fence?

spite fence disputeFor the most part, a fence is just a fence – a pleasing addition to your yard or landscaping. It may keep dogs in or keep neighborhood kids away from your pool, but there’s generally nothing more to it than that.

There’s another type of fence, however, one that could become a real problem. They’re called spite fences.

A spite fence is a fence that is built for the sole purpose of annoying your neighbor. Most spite fences are ugly, built way too high for code, and don’t serve any reasonable or useful purpose.

They may be designed to “block you out of our view forever,” or they may be designed to “punish” you for some perceived slight. There are lots of different reasons why people build spite fences.

You might see your neighbor build a spite fence after the two of you have gotten into some sort of fight or dispute. Of course, we’re assuming you’d never do such a thing yourself!

Fortunately, you are not helpless if your neighbor decides to build a spite fence. Most states, including Wisconsin, have laws and ordinances against them.

While we can’t advise you on the law, we can note that you do have legal recourse. Contact a lawyer if you are having trouble.

We can also note that if you want to avoid any situation where your brand new fence could be perceived as a spite fence then there are several things you can do. First, you can make absolutely sure you’ve done your paperwork in advance.

That means researching the zoning and building laws and getting your building permit. It also can mean communicating with your local homeowner’s association to make absolutely sure that there are no neighborhood rules about fences.

Neighbors can become very confrontational if they believe you are breaking the rules. Most fence contractors do have at least one story about an angry neighbor coming out to interrupt fence contractors at work.

Usually when this happens we’d simply refer the complaining neighbor back to the homeowner. If your neighbor confronts you while your fence is getting built then it’s good to have all of your paperwork lined up and ready to go.

Hiring a fence contractor instead of attempting to build the fence yourself can be a fantastic step towards avoiding spite fence accusations. While anyone can lodge a complaint for any reason it’s hard to imagine how anyone reasonable would take a professionally installed cedar fence as an eyesore.

If you’re thinking about having a new fence installed and you want to make sure it meets all codes and will make you and your neighbors happy, please consider us for the job. We’ve constructed hundreds of fences throughout the Milwaukee area over the years and both homeowners and neighbors love our work!

Call us today for a free estimate! We serve Shorewood, Wauwatosa and the entire Milwaukee metro area.

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