Nice neighbors, fence question

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We've moved into a new home, new neighborhood. We would like to put up a vinyl privacy fence all the way around the property. One side and rear of the property already has a chain link that we own so that's not a big deal to replace. The other side neighbor is a concern for me. There is no fence or barrier at this time. They have an above ground pool and two small dogs that they let out without a leash. I have caught them in my yard on occassion but they haven't really caused any damage or "land mines". Since the total job is going to cost me several thousand already, I had an idea that I should ask them to contribute half the cost of the section that borders their property. If I'm not mistaken, having an above ground pool with no barrier to keep young children out is mandatory. In addition, I could easily take issue with their dogs coming on my property. If I wanted to, I could probably require them to erect a fence at their own full cost right? These are nice people and we get along (wouldn't call them friends though). How do I approach this request so that there is no resentment?
Bobby in New Jersey
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Drummer of The Vibe wrote:

Start by checking this one out. Find out what really is the rule. I suspect you are right.

Let's consider two options
The law does not require the fence due to the pool. I suggest you ask the neighbors if they would like to participate in the fence and share the cost with them. Suggest that it may offer protection for them and their pool, you may even emphases the possible liability they might expect of a child fell in. Consider working with them on this and maybe even changing your fence design. If you don't want to work with you then you are in a go-it-alone situation.
If the law does require it, then you have more pull. You can let them know that you will report them and they will end up putting a fence up anyway.
Also consider that offending an neighbor is not always a good idea. I am not saying don't do it, but do consider that issue. Consider it for the other neighbors also, as them before you build.
Don't forget to check on any limits on your fence. Some areas don't allow fences or have limits on size or type. Be especially careful about this if you have not gotten your neighbors acceptance of the fence. Also make 100% certain of where the property lines, and utilities are before you build.
I
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Joseph E. Meehan

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In many places, the only requirement is that the "pretty" side of the fence must face the neighbor's side. If, in his locale, the neighbor must "accept" the fence, but refuses to do so, then he should also accept his dogs being liquidated.
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The owner should be worried about small children wandering into the yard and falling into the pool and drowning.
And it even happens with above-ground pools.
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Jim Yanik
jyanik-at-kua.net
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True, but unfortunately, we're living in a society full of people who, for some reason, never learned to be concerned about the consequences of their actions.
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Drummer of The Vibe wrote:

Until your neighbors decide they want a fence, I'm sure they have no desire to pay for one.
I think your only shot is to ask them what plans they have for keeping kids out of their pool. Then you can segway into telling them about your plans to fence in your yard, and ask whether that would also serve their needs. Maybe they'd like to participate -- a larger single fence contract might save both of you some money. They may even have ideas about what style they'd like which could complement your plans.
InMyHumbleOpinion, staying on good terms with neighbors is very important. It's likely that they won't be thrilled at seeing your fence go up. Asking them to pay for part of it may add insult to injury.
Best of luck,
Randy
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@yahoo.com says...

Well, you could probably ask but if it was me being asked, I'd tell you thanks but no thanks. You want a fence, you pay for it.
You could take a friendly neighbor and turn him into an enemy by taking him to court to force him to restrict access to his "attractive nuisance". Hell the building codes in your area might require it. You could snitch on him but he'd know, and his solution might be, not to go halvies with your fence, but to erect a barrier around just his pool. No win for your quest to pay less for your fence.
For the sake of peaceful relations, I'd just suck up the cost and let it go. Really, these kind of disputes can turn very ugly, very quickly. Especially if your house isn't up to code either.
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wrote:

Excellent post, Jim!...and very good advice.
Have a nice week...
Trent
What do you call a smart blonde? A golden retriever.
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Drummer of The Vibe wrote:

Firstly, you have a legitimate safety issue. Call the city and complain about unfenced pool; our city allows anonymous complaints, but doesn't always enforce. Iffy. That might get a fence around their yard. If some kid wanders in and drowns, it won't be you saying "If only....".
Or, you could approach them to discuss the style of fence and ask for their input. I would not ask them to contribute, unless you are flexible about the style and they seem willing to go along. I sure wouldn't pay to get your choice of fence. I would not approach them at all about the fence if they are not people I socialize with and have a fairly strong, positive relationship with. Keep in mind, whatever fence you put in, that it has to abide by city codes, setback, can affect their view, can affect their landscaping if it blocks sun, may be subject to damage on their side if bumped by a mower, etc.
I complained to animal control about a neighbor in our condo who had a screen stapled over the outside of his front door. They have a dog, which is over 100# and had attacked (and injured) other animals on two occasions. The owner admitted she had trouble controlling it but - yet - quit using a muzzle for a time. There are small children who pass within 10 feet of the door and I worried that if the dog was bothered by their noise he might go through the screen. They changed to an aluminum storm/screen, but still it worries me. I didn't want to feel that if a child was attacked, I wished I had done something. I take walks with the owner now and then and, even with a muzzle on, the dog can pick up a regular size auto tire and toss it around like a toy. On one occasion, when I was babysitting for the child, the dog alerted in a very strange way when he saw me carrying the child. He is normally a docile, friendly pooch with me but with the child was entirely different. I had picked up the little boy so he would not run toward the dog. The parents were not the least bit concerned when I told them about it.
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"Drummer of The Vibe" wrote in message

Before approaching them about the fence, make sure you know what you're talking about.
In my area, ABG pools only need a locking gate/ladder to keep out children. An inground needs a fence 4 ft high. I suggest calling your local zoning, they're usually the ones which you will be directed towards answering questions about fences.
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Gonna be noisy this summer...lol

Oh, you will eventually.

Five bucks says they won't go for it.

When I lived in NJ (Montclair), we had an above ground pool in which my father installed a fence around, claiming it would keep stray kids out, which it did. I am NOT sure if its the law, but common sense tells ya that ya should fence it off.

I do doubt it. Basically, the cops are just going to tell them to leash the dogs, not erect an (expensive) fence.

Geez, thats a tough one.. I would do it VERY carefully and in a VERY friendly manner. They have lived there for a while I will assume and whether or not the old owners of your home have complained or not, they have seen no reason to erect a fence as of yet.
Chris

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...and I'm sure the scum will offer to pay for the carpet cleaning, too. Right. :-) Build the fence just to keep the dogs out. The hell with the pool. Concentrate the dog crap in THEIR yard.
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People who let their dogs roam onto other neighbors' property are the scum of the earth, in the same class as people who warm their cars up for 45 minutes. Cut them no slack whatsoever. If you ask them to share the cost of the fence and they agree, you owe them, in a way, for the favor. Why be entangled like that with people who are scum? Build the fence yourself and be done with it. If they ask you why you built it, remind them of the laws against stray dogs. That'll either make them feel miserable, or befuddled, if they're as stupid as most people who let their dogs roam free.

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Drummer of The Vibe wrote:

I've got a fuzzy one with the young professional couple who, a little over a year ago, bought the house behind and one lot to the side of mine. We share a common side line for about 70 feet at the back ends of our respective lots.
I introduced myself and welcomed the husband to the neighborhood the first day last spring we were both out in our back yards. He seemed an ok and intellighent guy, but didn't appear very anxious to buddy up, so I let him have his space.
Abaout a month later a crew came in and expanded and landscaped their back yard, a beautifull job, replete with terraces, masonry retaining walls, an illuminated fountain and nice plantings.
I had a funny feeling he'd excavated away some of our lot and erected stone retaining walls well into our property. But, I wasn't dead certain about where our side line really was, so I kept quiet and hired some surveyors, who last fall got around to doing their thing.
The surveyors confirmed my suspicions, and after they planted some survey markers in the neighbor's new back lawn it was apparent that a few hundred square feet of our lot were now being treated as though they were his.
I couldn't call the guy on the phone because he's got an unlisted number, but I sent him as polite a letter as I could dream up last December. I described what the survey revealed (As if he couldn't have figured that out from the survey markers in his yard.) I mentioned that permitting his continued adverse possession without making proper arrangements could jeopardize my future ownership rights, or perhaps a future buyer of my home could use his encroachment as a bargaining point to knock the selling price down a little.
I expressed my concern about the unfairness of my paying property taxes (close to $100/year) on land he was enjoying the use of.
In my letter I offered a solution, which was for him to purchase the land he'd grabbed from me and told him he could buy it from me for its tax assessed value, which is about half the market value, providing he covered all the appurtenant expenses associated with the transaction.
I got no reply to the letter, so I sent him another copy of it by certified mail (return receipt) early this February. That elicited a call from him the next day, in which he said, "He'd been busy" and promised to "Look into things". He also said he'd have to get his own survey done to "Check things out" before deciding what to do.
It's two months later and I don't think I'm going to get anywhere with this bozo. I'll ping him once more by mail about the matter, but if he's still recalcitrant I think the least expensive thing I can do to preserve my rights is to have a low chain link fence erected along the common property line, with maybe even one small "Private Property-Keep Off" sign on it, facing his side.
Taking any kind of legal action to preserve my rights is likely to become a black hole sucking in my time and money, and would probably end up costing a lot more than 70 feet of fence will.
Comments?
Jeff
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Jeff Wisnia (W1BSV + Brass Rat '57 EE)

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You should be able to appear before your town justice for free, with pertinent paperwork (surveys, etc) in hand. Ask the judge to tell the neighbor to either remove his structures, or pay you for the land based on the average selling prices in the neighborhood. Society has been dumbed down terribly in recent years. There's no reason for intelligent people to pay for this fact.

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Jeff Wisnia wrote:

As you describe him, your neighbor is a finacially secure egotist without regard for your interests, rights, or feelings. If you want to sell him the property he has already absorbed for his own use, there is no reason to settle for a tax assessed value or average sales value. You can demand any amount you want. If he elects not to pay your price, have him remove his improvements and restore your land to its previous state, or fence off the improvements and use them yourself if you like it that way. It does not sound like you are destined to have a warm relationship with them either way.
If your house/lot is under a mortgage, forget the idea of selling off part. Better see a lawyer.
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Stoney wrote:
<snipped>

We burned up the mortgage five years ago....
I'd really like to do my best to not end up in a bitter feud with the "new neighbor". And, since the "lay of the land" suggests that what he's grabbed looks more like part of his lot than mine, I've no reason to be dog in the manger about it. I just don't want to keep paying taxes on what he's using as his, and want to preserving all my rights to it as long as I do own it.
That's why I thought that offering him the 300 feet he'd encroached at the tax assessed value would be a more than fair deal. But, given the value of 300 square feet of land here in Red Sox country, even the tax assessed value of the little strip of land involved is better than $5,000.
That, and what lawyers and the Registry of Deeds charge around here to do a land sale, draw up new plot plans and such is probably why the neighbor is balking. <G>
Fortunately, their home fronts on another street, a quarter of a mile and two turns away from us by road, so it's not like I'll be bumping into them frequently, and there's plenty of natural leafy screening between us in the summer.
As suggested by Doug, I *should* be able to go to a town justice and *get* justice. But in my experience, and also those of friends in town, it just don't work that way around here. The prevailing attitude among the town goodfaddles seems to be that unless it's a matter of personal safety they'll say "That's a civil matter, get a lawyer." In other words they tell you that if you want them to do something on your behalf over a little matter like the one I described, you'll have to get a lawyer and bring suit against the town itself to make them enforce the law.
There are much more serious problems in the world that need solving, and I'm not getting an ulcer over this one, but it pops into my mind about once a month.
Jeff
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"My luck is so bad that if I bought a cemetery, people would stop dying."
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You need to get to "point A". It can be done with or without a lawyer. I live in Rochester NY. A house closing without any sort of major problems costs $400-$600 with a pricey lawyer. You should be able to solve this problem for that price or less, unless your neighbor decides to be an asshole. Call your town justice and ask to set up a meeting to get his or her advice. If you don't ask, you'll get nothing.
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Doug Kanter wrote:

The way things work here in Red Sox territory is that we don't have "town justices". There's a District Court System whose small claims services I occasionally have to use when a client living like they ought to be able to pay their bills just never "gets aroun' twoit".
The Commonwealth of Taxachusetts is in such sorry fiscal shape these days that the wait to get a case heard in small claims court is now over six months (and the filing fees have doubled this year.), as I found out when I initiated a suit against a non-paying client last month. And, when you do get a hearing, they zip through it too fast for anyone to present much of a decent case anyway.
Believe me Doug, I'm neither lazy or incompetent, but I'm a realist about how things work around here, and would rather not bang my head against a stone wall any more often than I have to. I'm not complaining either, I know there are plenty of places in the country where we could move ... where things aren't as bad in those respects as they are here, and the choice to stay here and live with it is ours.
Fo example, one of my friends here in town, living in what was originally a 17th century farmhouse, has a next door neighbor in another old house who is obviously running a sizeable business of some sort out of it, this in a neighborhood zoned "residential only." Large trucks pull up to the neighbor's house after midnight and tough looking guys load and unload huge amounts of boxes several times a week, waking up my friend and his family with their chatter, clatter and headlights. The town goonfaddles have turned a deaf ear to my friend's complaints for over a year now. Maybe it's because both houses are far enough back from the street so that the town people figure it's "out of sight, out of mind", or maybe it's because the "businessman" neighbor knows the right people. Who knows for sure?
I still bfeel that a little fencing will provide the easiest and lowest cost solution for protecting my property rights relative to the little encroachment situation I described.
Happy whatever holiday you may be celebrating this week,
Jeff
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Jeff Wisnia (W1BSV + Brass Rat '57 EE)

"My luck is so bad that if I bought a cemetery, people would stop dying."
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On Fri, 02 Apr 2004 16:14:30 -0500, Jeff Wisnia

When we bought our home the folks behind us had some stuff planted on our land. I asked them about it, they said "oh, grandma has been doing that for years". It appears they've been slowly moving their line over bit by bit....so I called them on it. His wife immediately said "if we took you to court, the city would give us the land because we've been gardening on it for years". I called the city, they said that if I had knowingly let them plant on it for years then they could go after me. I told them to move their stuff off of the land unless they wanted to buy it. They said it was easier to sue. Find. I fired up the mower and was trimming in the area when they ran out and agreed to purchase it. She b*tched a total fit....got really irate. When I told her we were selling out home she calmed a bit....before demanding the land be turned over to her. When I reminded her that she was planting on my VACANT lot..which I could easily sell...she changed her tune, esp after I said it was zoned for multi family. That did the trick.
We finally agreed that they'd pay part of the surveyor and fair market value of the land. They aren't too happy, but it's going to be settled. I even offered to sell them a bit more of the land for FMV + costs, which I think is beyond fair.
Come to think of it I should have just mowed the shit over. :)
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