My neighbor and I agreed that the fence between our houses needed
replacement. Instead of a fence, he gave me an estimate for a block wall
($10,000) which would match the wall on the other two sides of his property.
I told him I didn't care whether it was a block wall or not, except that I
would pay only 1/2 of what a **fence** would cost, and if he wants to pay
the difference for a block wall to match his other wall, that's his
I don't see an easy truce here.
If your neighbor is intent on block wall, then let him pay for it, and make
sure, based on a new survey of property lines, that the block fence is
entirely on his property. Splitting the cost is only appropriate if (1) the
fence is *on* the property line, and (2) you both fully agree on materials
and style. Your offer of paying half the wood fence cost is generous
indeed, if you cannot abide with splitting a $10,000 cost. The backdown
position is to pay none of his costs, unless you really want a fence there.
Of course you have to make these decisions based in large part on
affordability, and on your neighborliness and attitude toward this owner.
assuming you mean the price of a 'decent fence', i think its absolutely
although if it also just happens to match block walls on the other 2 sides
of YOUR property as well your case gets a little weaker. but im guessing
this isnt the case.
My neighbor wanted to replace the fence between our houses. He just
asked me to pay for half of the materials which was I think about
$150. He did all of the work and he even faced the "good side" out
(you know those wood fences that have a good side and a bad side). I
was happy to give him the money.
Of course if your neighbor has a good looking wife and he sends her
over to mow your lawn for a year then you might consider giving a
Otherwise I would pay half the cost of a standard replacement fence.
You really are not obligated to pay anything since it's not your
Here's the basic law on fences:
1. If your neighbor puts up a fence and you do nothing your are liable for
half the cost of the fence (see "assent by silence" and "unjust
enrichment"), irrespective of its cost. This has been the common law since
2. If your neighbor starts constructing a fence, and you object to paying
anything, you are off the hook entirely.
3. It doesn't matter whether the fence is on your property or his. (Of
course if the fence is on your property, you can tear it down, but that has
nothing to do with your liability for the original cost.)
4. You may agree - as you have done - to pay your half of the type of fence
you want and you are not liable for any more than that.
In your particular case, if a "regular" fence would cost $1000, and you are
okay with a $10,000 wall, you need only contribute $500 to the project.
That might be good as an example of common law treatment of the
subject, but it means diddle as far as being enforceable anyplace in
the US where that provision of the common law has not been codified in
statute or in a state/commonwealth that has laws that are not based on
the English Common Law.
A few years ago, there was lawyer in Virginia who used the 'it's my fence
but you have to help pay for it' law to force several of his neighbors to
pay tens of thousands of dollars for their 'fair share' of the fence.
Just a few weeks ago, he wound up in jail after killing the one neighbor who
fought him the most.
That's always the problem with "Common" law. It's commonly
It matters a great deal. And in many jurisdictions, zoning laws will
actually preclude this type of dispute by not allowing fences on the
property line. In any case, if it's entirely on his property, you're
not liable in most instances.
And in any case, the written agreement is what holds up in court.
10 grand? Yikes how much distance is there? A standard FENCE BLOCK wall, 6
foot high with a footing is running about $20 bucks a foot here in Phoenix,
If the wall is standard block 8x8x16 the cost would rise a bunch cause your
going to have to grout it both vertically and horizontally.
You offer to pay half is the neighborly thing to do. I would call some
contractors myself and get some independent bids.
Concrete fences are forever wood will and does go away.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.