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  1. #1

    Default Shared Fence Rights and Responsibilities in California

    My question involves real estate located in the State of: Calfornia
    My family moved into a home that we purchased two months ago. One side of a shared fence was falling down and had holes where boards had been broken. We share this fence with renters who have two adult Rottweilers. I happen to have two toddlers. The dogs go crazy when they hear the children . . barking, jumping on the fence, scratching and trying to dig through. The dogs have a history of escaping to get to other dogs in the neighborhood. We contacted the owners of the rental property to discuss fence replacement die to our unusable backyard. We quoted out and they said, "It is not a good time." We had to replace the fence to keep the children safe from the dogs on their property. They are now avoiding our phone calls. Do we have any way of recovering half of the cost of the fence?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    El Dorado County, CA
    Posts
    338

    Default Re: Shared Fence Rights and Responsibilities in California

    It's not the renters but the owner of the property that has the responsibility of their share of the fence repair.

    The renters have a responsibility to contain and control their dogs. Rotts are gentle dogs and great with kids if raised right (ours was the gentlest dog I've ever had, and I've had many of various breeds and sizes). The fact that the neighbor's dogs are so crazed speaks poorly to their fitness as dog owners. A todler is no match for a rott bent on doing harm, so take no chances.

    The fence is just one aspect of the potential larger problem of the dogs going after your kids. If problems arise, call the police.

    Getting back to the cost of the fence, if you can't get the owners name from the renters, go to the county assessor's office to find out who the current owner is. At any rate, don't ask for $ from the renters anymore. If the owner thinks the renters should ultimately pay for it, that's a matter between owner and tennant, not your problem. The owner needs to pay you.

    Bear in mind that the neighbor's duty (owner) is only 1/2 of the cost of repair using similar materials as what the existing fence is made of. if you upgraded, the difference is on you.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Shared Fence Rights and Responsibilities in California

    Our contact has been with the owners of the property. They spoke with us before the work was done. They thought our quotes were high, so they quoted it out, as well, and came up with similiar figures. We had to replace the fence to keep our children safe, and now they have not returned our calls (after we paid the whole bill.) The dogs are probably wonderful, although I would not want to take a chance with the lives of my children.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Behind a Desk
    Posts
    71,832

    Default Re: Shared Fence Rights and Responsibilities in California

    Quote Quoting California Civil Code, Sec. 841.
    Coterminous owners are mutually bound equally to maintain:
    1. The boundaries and monuments between them;

    2. The fences between them, unless one of them chooses to let his land lie without fencing; in which case, if he afterwards incloses it, he must refund to the other a just proportion of the value, at that time, of any division fence made by the latter.
    If this falls under the statute, you can consider suing in small claims court for the neighboring landowner's share of the repair cost.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Shared Fence Rights and Responsibilities in California

    Thanks Mr. Knowitall. That is helpful.

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