Dear PoPville – Painting Shared Wall Behind Row House

Photo by PoPville flickr user W_Bram

“Dear PoPville,

We’re painting the back of our row house, which juts in, leaving a narrow area between us and our neighbor’s house. The wall that we share thus extends the depth of that nook, and we’d like to paint that wall the same color as our exterior walls, but I guess that’s technically our neighbor’s wall (not exactly clear). Can we do this without asking our neighbor? To answer a few possible questions: it’s stucco, not original brick; there are no windows on the shared wall; our neighbor in fact cannot, and would not, ever see the shared wall, as our yards are separated by a fence.

Has anyone ever done this before? One comment on this old post mentioned that someone even did it in the FRONT of a house!”

22 Comment


  • More importantly, why the reluctance to ask your neighbor? Is he gonna jump off his bike and slap you around?

  • If it’s a shared wall, then the side that faces you would be yours, if I understand the configuration correctly.

    • I think that’s if it’s a shared wall, i.e., on both sides of the property line.

      If it’s entirely on the neighbor’s side of the property line, then it belongs to him and I _think_ he’s supposed to be responsible for its upkeep. And if that’s the case, you would DEFINITELY need his permission to paint it.

      • No doubt. You would need to know where the property line is. A lot of times, the wall between a row house sits on the middle of the property line and what may appear to be the outside of the neighbors house is really shared space.

        Still, neighborliness dictates talking to the neighbor.

  • ask your neighbor if he minds. next question.

  • Oh man, seriously? Don’t do it without asking your neighbor unless you are sure the wall (or the part of it that you are painting) is yours.

  • Is this what the digital age has brought us to? People thinking it’s acceptable to go to anonymous social media sources rather than talking face to face with their neighbor?! Seriously, people! Get off your computers and go knock on your neighbor’s door!

    • Maybe they just want to know what the legality of it is. Getting the neighbor’s permission is great, but they could turn around and take you to court if you weren’t supposed to be doing it. Verbal agreement means little.

    • I agree – people are becoming more and more socially retarded

  • We had that issue about the little piece of wall that sticks up between our rooves. The little old lady next door painted it an atrocious Mediterranean blue. We painted it white. She didn’t notice. When she did, we slapped her and threw her books into a puddle.

  • assuming there is a reason they don’t want to ask, I’d just do it.

  • As someone who is dealing with this in a lawsuit right now… if you don’t know if it is your wall or if it is a party wall on the property line. Get written explicit permission to do so. I did get written permission but that sometimes still doesn’t stop a hostel neighbor

  • oooohhhh oohhhhh. mista kotta! i know the answer. ooohhh oohhhh.

    what you should do is tawk it ova wit yer neighba!

  • Ask your neighbor. We had a similar situation, however the entire wall was on her property, but in such a way that she never actually sees the wall, only we do. Her response was:

    “As long as your are beautifying the neighborhood, go right ahead! Thanks for asking!”

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