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  1. #1

    Default How Could a Coterminous Property Owner Stop the Replacement of a Property Line Fence

    My question involves real estate located in the State of: California

    Our family moved into a 1960's neighborhood 2years, but the house and property all had obvious updates and replacements that needed to take place, including property line fences.

    We approached the neighbors on three sides and 2 were no problem, they agreed to the replacement, both offered to share the costs, all was good. The neighbors on the 3rd side said it wasnt a good time financially so we deferred to their money issues and postponed.

    This spring 2011 I've asked them again, and again they said that now and for the foreseeable future is not a good time for them to replace a fence.

    The bids that I've had are between $2k to $3k for 80 foot length of 6 foot high redwood privacy fence, looks the same on both sides. So half would be at most $1.5k.

    I'm tired of looking at my falling down fence on one side and am willing to just cover the costs myself of the replacement, I dont care enough about it to take these folks to small claims to get what they are legally obligated to pay under California section 841.

    The problem is that I dont think money is the issue, the neighbors continue to drive their class A motorhome and can clearly spend money on other things, and they can't see the fence from their side to determine its condition since its covered in plants (part of the reason why its in poor shape). I think they simply want to keep the plants that are growing all over their side of the fence.

    The replacement fence will be of equal or greater value, and the existing fence already has been repaired with 4x4's posts sistered to the old rotting 4x4 posts, but since the new 4x4's are probably 15+ years old, they are also rotted at ground level.

    When I send them a letter saying the day that the fence replacement crew will arrive, and that they should trim back the plants from the property line or the fence crew will do that for them, I think they might seek retaliation.

    My question is what could they possibly do to stop me from replacing a property line fence?

    Besides a cease and desist letter or an court injunction for a stop-work order, can a joint property owner unilaterally veto a fence replacement? Do I need their permission since it is a property line fence and I dont care about the $?

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

    Default Re: How Could a Coterminous Property Owner Stop the Replacement of a Property Line Fe

    The law here states that you are jointly responsible (as you already have educated yourself on). I don't recall anything in the law that states that both must be willing to maintain it before either can. So it goes to the tresspass laws. If you or your fence crew has to be on the neighbors property for any reason, which it is almost inevitable that you will, the neighbor may be able to temporarily stop you from continuing your work.

    The other side of this is that you probably don't have the means to compel your neighbor to remove vegetation without a court order, but if it is necessary to remove it to repair the fence, you may be able to do so yourself.

    Here's my disclaimer: I'm a surveyor, not an attorney. I know boundary law and the portions of the tresspass law that enable me to do my job. I know just enough about other laws to give you questionable advice. So take the time and spend the money to sit down for an hour with a local attorney to determine what you would need to do to continue work if your neighbor attempts to stop you, and what rights and responsibilities you would have with respect to removing the neighbors vegetation to allow you to repair/replace the fence.

    Good luck with this. Hopefully your worried about problems that won't materialize.

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