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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    2

    Default Must You Pay Toward a Pre-Existing Boundary Fence if You Use it to Enclose Your Land

    I've recently purchased a property that is adjacent to our neighbors who paid for a boundary fence located on property line prior to my purchase. The neighbor is now claiming that I'm responsible for half of the cost of the fence since I'm erecting a gate to enclose my property under state law. My gate will not be attached the property fence although from my understand since it's on the property line is have duty for maintenance and therefore can connect the my side of the fence. I've looked up the rcw related to fences which is RCW 16.20 Fences. This RCW is under Title 16: Animals and Livestock. It appears that the rcw is ralated to agricultural fencing for enclosing livestock utilizing neighbors fence. Please advise.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    15,194

    Default Re: Washington State: Boundary Fense

    Quote Quoting Ghostdog21
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    I've recently purchased a property that is adjacent to our neighbors who paid for a boundary fence located on property line prior to my purchase. The neighbor is now claiming that I'm responsible for half of the cost of the fence since I'm erecting a gate to enclose my property under state law. My gate will not be attached the property fence although from my understand since it's on the property line is have duty for maintenance and therefore can connect the my side of the fence. I've looked up the rcw related to fences which is RCW 16.20 Fences. This RCW is under Title 16: Animals and Livestock. It appears that the rcw is ralated to agricultural fencing for enclosing livestock utilizing neighbors fence. Please advise.
    Are you saying that the neighbor is telling you that you have to reimburse him for half of the cost of the fence, even though you did not own the property when he erected the fence? If so, tell him to pound sand.

    However, if he is saying that you have to share in the cost of maintaining the fence, that might be accurate.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    16,760

    Default Re: Washington State: Boundary Fense

    Quote Quoting Ghostdog21
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    I'm erecting a gate to enclose my property under state law.
    Not that it makes any difference, but what state law requires you to erect a gate to enclose your property? Cite the statute number.

    Quote Quoting Ghostdog21
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    I've looked up the rcw related to fences which is RCW 16.20 Fences. This RCW is under Title 16: Animals and Livestock. It appears that the rcw is ralated to agricultural fencing for enclosing livestock utilizing neighbors fence.
    It's RCW 16.60:

    https://law.justia.com/codes/washing...chapter-16.60/


    Quote Quoting Ghostdog21
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    This RCW is under Title 16: Animals and Livestock. It appears that the rcw is related to agricultural fencing for enclosing livestock utilizing neighbors fence.
    It could be, but I wouldn't bet the farm on it being that restrictive. (Pun intended.)

    I found only two appellate decision regarding RCW 16.60 and neither appear to be on point for your situation.

    https://scholar.google.com/scholar?h...16.60%22&btnG=

    Without case law to back up either of you, your options are to either pay half the cost or refuse to pay and see what the neighbor does next.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Posts
    2,761

    Default Re: Washington State: Boundary Fense

    Most of WA laws on fences https://app.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=16.60

    WA's Law on partition fences. Read all of it.
    https://app.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=16.60.020

    You might want to discuss the issue with a local (probably real estate) lawyer familiar with the state's fence law. Because I'm betting a lot of the definitions are going to come from case law on the subject.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Washington State: Boundary Fense

    I fully agree with your interpretation of the reimbursement requirement under RCW 16.60.020. Meaning that it only applies to boundary fences erected for the purpose of containing "animals and livestock".

    Objectively, and without literal exception, the statute reads "When any fence has been or shall thereafter be erected. . . "

    However, when read in conjunction with what constitutes a "lawful fence" as consisting of "at least four barbed, horizontal, well-stretched wires . . . (RCW 6.60.010)" and the fact that it appears under the Title heading "Animals and livestock" leaves little doubt as to the legislative intention.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    16,760

    Default Re: Washington State: Boundary Fense

    Quote Quoting latigo
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    However, when read in conjunction with what constitutes a "lawful fence" as consisting of "at least four barbed, horizontal, well-stretched wires . . . (RCW 6.60.010)" and the fact that it appears under the Title heading "Animals and livestock" leaves little doubt as to the legislative intention.
    Not sure about "little doubt" as 16.60.11 allows for "All other fences as strong and as well calculated as the fence described in RCW 16.60.010 shall be lawful fences."

    Block, chain link, wood fences could all qualify as "strong and as well calculated."

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