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“Who owns the fence?”

by Prince Of Petworth January 31, 2018 at 2:30 pm 0

“Dear PoPville,

I’m planning to do some landscaping work at my house come spring. Both the front and rear of my property have old, nasty chain-link fences surrounding them.

One set of neighbors have already installed privacy fencing along the back, leaving the chain-link inside the privacy fence. I’m sure if I asked them if they cared if I removed the chain-link (both in the front and back) along that property line, they’d be happy to have me do so. I do plan to ask them, but I expect the answer to be nothing short of an enthusiastic “please remove it,” no matter who actually owns the fence.

On the other side, the only thing separating the yards both in the front and back is that chain-link fence. The neighbors don’t have a fence around their front yard at all, so I’m sure they’d be fine with me pulling the existing fence out and replacing it with something nicer (I have a dog, so I do want the front yard fenced in), and, yes, I will ask before doing this anyway. But in the back, I’m not sure how to tell whose fence it is or how to go about negotiating whether to remove it or just put a privacy fence inside of it and leave it in place.

It sort-of connects to the fence around their parking area, but at an angle (i.e., not a straight connection that clearly uses the same material and of the same vintage) that makes it unclear whether that was a later ad-hoc, an easement, a neighborly agreement I wasn’t party to, or something else.

Any advice on how to go about this would be appreciated. I do plan to contract with a licensed, up-and-up company to do most of the work, so I’m sure I could throw in a survey to come to a completely legal resolution, but I’d rather save the money on that and work with my neighbors constructively. They do seem to be reasonable people, and I would be replacing the rather busted chain-link fence with a nice wood one.”

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