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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
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    1

    Default Can a Neighbor Remove a Boundary Fence if You Have a Parallel Fence for Your Property

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

    Hello,
    I have a question regarding what is typically referred as Boundary fence between homes. I have an existing fence between my house and the next door which is in poor shape. few years back, I replace the other fence on the opposite of my house with my other neighbour with no problem at all. When I approached the left side neighbour, he wanted to set up a fence which was at the time not legal and according to the local code. Furhermore he wanted a certain style that would cost much more than conventional. At least 4 years has passed by and lots of arguments oer other issues not related to the fence. To the point I had to call police to remind him of his behavior. He is not liked by just about most people in the neighbourhood. I have recently checked with the local city hall, and was informed up to 7 feet tall Fence is allowed.
    In the past six to 8 months twice I have mentioned to this neighbour the fence needs to be replace and he just doesn't listen. I have now decided to erect a new fence on my side in my property in parallel to the existing fence, at a rather higher price, because I hae concrete which needs to be taken out in order to put fence Post. My question is once I put the fence up on my property, can he legally remove the boundary fence ( the existing fence) without my consenet which I will never give! He can put another fence on his side and the current one will just mark the boundar between the houses.

    What is the proper way to go about this, since we don't talk anymore. I would like to know the law, and if there is a special form where I can simply fill out, have it registered mail, and advise him of what we intend to do. Give him so many days, before the fence people show up. If he does take the fence down which I own 50%, what are my legal routes. looking forward to legal advise.

    Thank you.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    1,240

    Default Re: Can a Neighbor Remove a Boundary Fence if You Have a Parallel Fence for Your Prop

    The California Civil Code governs maintenance of boundary markers and shared fences. Go here

    http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/fa...er=2.&article=

    and start reading at Section 841. It should address most of your questions.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Behind a Desk
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    98,846

    Default Re: Can a Neighbor Remove a Boundary Fence if You Have a Parallel Fence for Your Prop

    Quote Quoting Nik2015
    View Post
    I have an existing fence between my house and the next door which is in poor shape.... My question is once I put the fence up on my property, can he legally remove the boundary fence ( the existing fence) without my consent which I will never give!
    You cannot force your neighbor to tolerate a decrepit boundary fence. If you insist upon maintaining the fence in its present location, you're going to trigger the statutory language identified by L-1, "Adjoining landowners are presumed to share an equal benefit from any fence dividing their properties and, unless otherwise agreed to by the parties in a written agreement, shall be presumed to be equally responsible for the reasonable costs of construction, maintenance, or necessary replacement of the fence". You can't expect to have it both ways -- you can't expect that a court will allow you to simultaneously argue that the boundary fence benefits you and cannot be touched by your neighbor, and that it doesn't affect you at all so its decrepitude is entirely your neighbor's problem. Your neighbor could notify you of an intent to replace the fence, under Sec. 841(b)(2) of the Civil Code, as a prelude to recovering half the cost of constructing the replacement fence that you concede is needed.

    I cannot see a court buying into your notion that the existing, decrepit fence should be sandwiched between two new fences, such that it cannot be seen or repaired (without removing part or all of one of the new fences).

    If he removes the fence, you also have a problem. Your new fence would prevent you from restoring a boundary fence without going onto his property, which he would almost certainly refuse. It would also make it very difficult for you to be able to convince a court that you were somehow damaged by having your land lie unfenced -- you would have your own new fence, part of the goal of which is to prevent you from even seeing if the boundary fence remains in place, such that your property remained fully fenced.

    If you want to instead replace the existing fence with a new boundary fence, and to try to recover half of the cost from your neighbor, you should follow the steps outlined in the linked statutes, Sec. 841(b)(2).

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    El Dorado County, CA
    Posts
    395

    Default Re: Can a Neighbor Remove a Boundary Fence if You Have a Parallel Fence for Your Prop

    A second fenceline along a property boundary is almost never a good idea. As a surveyor, when I show up to a site and see two fences running next to each other, I know that at least one and quite possibly both landowners will be difficult to deal with.

    If the existing fence is in such poor repair that it needs to be replaced, then work toward replacing it, not hiding it behind another fence. Once you have put up the second fence, you are essentially relinquishing use of the old fence and allowing your neighbor to leave it, remove it, or replace it as he sees fit (and as complies with local codes). Worse, depending upon other circumstances, if your neighbor removes the old fence after you've built a new one, he will likely begin using the small strip of land in between. Depending upon the type of use and how long you let that go on, you could end up permanently losing use or even ownership of that strip of land.

    If the fence needs to be replaced, then your neighbor is liable for half the cost of a new fence of similar materials, or the least amount above that if it costs more to bring it up to code. If you are planning something significantly more costly, the difference is all on you if your neighbor won't agree to the costlier fence. Since it seems that there will be no cooperation in replacing the fence, get advice from a local attorney about how to proceed and options for getting your neighbor to pay his share before you start.

    If the fence is still in reasonably good shape or only in need of minor repair, your options are much more limited. If you are able to replace the fence with something you like better, it needs to do the job at least as well as the fence you are replacing, and the entire cost will likely be your responsibility. My suggestion is if the fence does not need replacing, live with it until it does need replacing or until you and your neighbor can be civil enough to come to some agreement for a new fence.

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