Having fence wars is quite common in neighborhoods. And if you happen to have disputes between your neighbor over fence sides, you have to understand boundary rights. For instance, you might ask, “can my neighbor paint my fence on his side?” Or do you have to ask permission to do so?
Your neighbor cannot paint his side of your fence without your permission, unless his side of the fence falls on his side of the property line. If his side of the fence does not fall on his property line and he paints it anyway, then he could be sued for vandalism.
It can be challenging to live next to someone who you will have disputes with. If you want to always maintain a decent relationship with your neighbor, you have to know boundary rights. In this article, we will explain about the issues involving boundary fences, specifically fence painting etiquette, and how you can avoid neighbor disputes.
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Here’s a Quick Pro Tip!
Getting into a dispute with your neighbor is never fun, and these things can drag on forever sometimes.
Catching your neighbor in the act of painting your fence or anything else unlawful will be all the evidence you need to win against them.
Understanding Property Boundary
Consider this scenario: You just moved into your new home and you’re excited to do some projects to turn the property into one that you’ve always wanted. And then you noticed that you don’t have a fence to separate your side from your neighbor. Or perhaps, there’s one but it’s rotting and taking away the aesthetics of your property.
And so you decided to build one over the weekend just so you can have your privacy. But before you do, you have to understand all about property boundaries to avoid any problems with your neighbors. The boundaries are usually indicated in your property deeds and you should read them over before building a dividing fence.
While each state may have different requirements, the general rules are somewhat similar. If you are uncertain, you can consult a solicitor for clarifications about the requirements for building dividing fences.
Negotiating With Neighbor
If you want to build a fence, the first thing to do is approach your neighbor. Make a reasonable proposal of what the fence should look like. Generally, you and your neighbor will split the cost of erecting a fence. You should also give your neighbor a chance to make a proposal.
In the end, both parties should agree on something – which is usually the easy way. An important reminder is that this agreement should be put in writing and signed by both parties. And as a general rule, the care and maintenance of the dividing fence should be the responsibility of both property owners.
Meanwhile, if your neighbor gives you a hard time because he doesn’t accept your fence proposal and you can’t agree on something, then you may want to resort to making a fence that ends on your property line.
Can You Legally Paint Your Side Of Your Neighbor’s Fence?
The scenario may be reversed. For instance, your neighbor has already put up a fence. You see that the color of his fence does not suit your preference, then you decide to paint the side of their fence. Is this acceptable? Can you legally do this?
The answer is both yes and no, depending on the situation. If your side of your neighbor’s fence falls on your property line, then, by all means, you have the right to paint it. But usually, if you’re a good neighbor, or if you aim to be one, you need to tell your neighbor about it.
If your side of the fence falls entirely on his property line, then don’t touch the fence as that is against fence painting etiquette. You legally cannot and should not paint your side of the fence that didn’t even touch your property line.
Your neighbor is within his right to oppose your idea of painting your side of the fence, even if you think that it’s the best way to keep things tidy around the neighborhood. You could be sued for criminal charges if you do it anyway.
When Can I Paint my Neighbours Fence?
There may be cases where you can paint your neighbor’s fence without any issues. As mentioned, you can do it legally if you’re painting only one side of the fence – the side on your property line. But make sure you have at least consulted your neighbor. After all, they worked hard and paid for that fence and it would be rude to just jump in and paint it.
One tip is to promise your neighbor you will do an excellent job at painting your side. This means you have to avoid any unsightly drips that will ruin your neighbor’s side of the fence. And if you do otherwise, ensure that you will pay for their paint job.
Do I Have To Ask Permission To Paint My Side Of The Fence?
If you don’t mind painting the fence the same color as the neighbor’s side, then go ahead and paint. Still, it would be best to ask for permission. Usually, this will be a good option and we don’t think your neighbor would oppose the idea.
Generally, whether or not the fence is on your property line, you should still ask permission to paint your side of the fence if your neighbor paid for it.
Can I Paint Both Sides Of My Fence?
Painting both sides of the fence can be acceptable if the fence didn’t fall on your neighbor’s property line. Because that would mean the fence is all to yourself. You don’t have to explain or even ask permission, because you are building within your property and it is your right.
Still, there may be issues to this, especially if you don’t have considerate neighbors. You could have neighbors that will paint your fence and not inform you beforehand. That may be rude and inconsiderate behavior. No matter how much you dislike it, it could happen to you.It’s best to be prepared by knowing what you can do. Let’s discuss the example below.
My Neighbor Painted My Fence Without Permission
What if you are the one that paid for and erected your fence, which falls within your property line? Then here comes your neighbor, who painted his side of your fence just so it can match the color theme of his entire property. Perhaps, you wanted to retain the wood color and your neighbor thinks it’s not pretty. What should you do?
Having to deal with a neighbor who dislikes your fence color of choice just for the sake of arguing can happen. At times, the neighbor might even take it up to your local council and fabricate stories just so you can get rid of your fence. Or perhaps, so he can have an excuse to paint his side with the color of his choice.
Keep in mind that your neighbor doesn’t have the right to paint your fence, especially if it’s on your property. And they certainly can’t paint it their own color just because yours was distasteful to them.
Neighbor Stained My Fence: What Can I Do?
When a neighbor painted your fence without permission, know that this is unacceptable. But what if he decided to paint his side? While you may choose to ignore it, you might not be able to shrug it off if he stained the paint job you worked so hard on.
If your neighbor didn’t ask for your permission when painting the fence or if he stained on your fence, there may be several ways to approach this situation (this is assuming that the fence is in your property line):
- Talk to your neighbor, and ask him to remove the color because the fence is solely yours. If not let him pay, since you did spend on the painting of the entire fence.
- If you are the type who doesn’t want to go down without a fight, take it to small court claims. You could claim damages but the consequence will be fallout with a person who lives right next to you.
- Ignore it. This may be easier said than done knowing you just spent time, money, and effort on your fence work. But consider this: How much is the color of the other side of the fence worth? Is it really worth fighting your neighbor with? Did the other paint job damage your side? Can you even tell that the other side of the fence is a different color? If there’s not much difference, then it’s not worth stressing over this.
Conclusion: Can My Neighbor Paint His Side of My Fence?
Disputes between neighbors over fences are quite common. They are usually resolved through proper communication with each other. If only both parties will discuss thoroughly, they should arrive at a compromise and everyone wins.
However, the situation will be more challenging if you don’t have a good relationship with your neighbor. In any case, you should remember that painting on your side of the fence you did not build may be legally acceptable if your side is on your property line. Still, it’s a more appropriate step to ask for permission from the person who spent time, money, and effort in building the fence.
If the fence is entirely on someone’s property, then the other person doesn’t have the right to touch the fence or change its color, and vice versa. A fence that is on someone’s property line is solely owned by that person. No one should have the right to touch it unless they want to head to court and pay fines.
Check the property lines. If the side of the fence you painted is on your property, you can paint it. If not, you can offer to paint it over again in a similar color to the original look. Or you could invite them to check in with their own lawyer to see what that person says.Can my Neighbour paint their side of my fence? ›
You can't make changes to your side without their permission, such as painting it.Does a fence need to be painted on both sides? ›
In actuality, you should be staining both sides of your fence. Not only will it be more aesthetically pleasing to all parties involved, it will help your wooden fence last longer. As the days continue to get longer and the sun beats down a little harder, sun protection should be on your mind.Do I need to stain my neighbors side of the fence? ›
With only one side of protect, water will get in and get trapped behind the barrier. The only true way to protect your fence is by staining both sides.What is the California Good Neighbor fence Law? ›
The maintenance of the fence that separates your property from your neighbor is regulated by statute. California Civil Code Section 841 provides, “[a]djoining landowners shall share equally in the responsibility for maintaining the boundaries and monuments between them.” This part of the code is known as the Good ...Can you paint the other side of a fence? ›
Check the property lines. If the side of the fence you painted is on your property, you can paint it. If not, you can offer to paint it over again in a similar color to the original look.Can I put up a fence next to my neighbors fence? ›
Yes, you can build next to your neighbour's fence. As long as you're inside your property line you're fine. One consideration: your posts might have to be staggered relative to the fence posts of the existing fence. Staggered posting avoids interference with existing piers.Should your fence be the same color as your house? ›
Now, your fence and home shouldn't all be exactly the same color. However, if you home features beige trim, then a beige fence will nicely tie in with your home and pull everything together. You should also make sure that your fence and house colors don't clash.Which side of fence is good or bad? ›
The finished side should face toward your neighbor. Not only is this more polite, but it's the standard. Your property will look a lot nicer with the “good” side facing the outside world. Otherwise, your fence will look like it was installed backward.Why do you have to wait to paint a wood fence? ›
A good rule of thumb is to wait a month or two if the fence is made with dry materials. This will allow it to weather enough but not too much. If the fence is made with pressure treated materials it may be 3-4 months for the posts to dry enough and can be checked with a moisture meter.
It's simple: you can only do this if your neighbour says you can. If you lean something against or hang something on your neighbour's fence without permission and the extra burden on the panels causes damage to the fencing (which is very likely to happen sooner or later), you will have to pay for the repairs.Is it better to stain or paint an outside fence? ›
Most of the time, staining is better than painting a fence. It's true that stain eventually fades and must be reapplied, but not for several years. Also, because stain doesn't peel or crack, it requires less preparation than repainting. Simply power wash the fence to produce a clean, prepped surface for staining.Can my neighbor make me pay for fence California? ›
Generally, a fence shared by two or more landowners will require those owners to equitably share the costs for building, maintaining, or replacing the fence. However, there are certain clauses that exempt an owner from sharing the fence costs: The neighbor can prove that the fence has less benefit for them.Can I replace my fence without Neighbours permission in California? ›
According to the California Building Code, Chapter 1, Section 105.2., a permit isn't required if the fence is less than 7 feet in height. However, keep in mind that you still must follow any other applicable laws and ordinances.Who owns a fence between neighbors in California? ›
The State of California generally recognizes that in neighborhoods, a boundary fence will benefit both homeowners equally. Typically, both homeowners are responsible for the costs of construction and maintenance of the fence.Can I paint my side of the fence any colour? ›
Law firm Brown Turner Ross said: "If your neighbour owns the fence then you are not permitted to make any changes to the fence, even if it is on your side of the property boundary, without their permission.Can I just paint my fence? ›
If you want a more dramatic change in the look of your fence, and do not mind a more frequent maintenance regime, then go for paint. If you prefer less maintenance, and/or prefer a more natural looking fence, stain is your best bet.Can I repaint my fence? ›
A good quality latex paint is perfect for fencing. Depending on the fence, you may need a coat of primer first to get the best adhesion and to obtain the best finish. But once it is completed, your fence will have an excellent barrier against the elements and a clean, professional appearance.How close to property line can fence be? ›
Check Rules and Regulations
Typically, fences are installed anywhere from 2 to 8 inches from a property line in most areas. Some areas might allow to go right up to a property line, especially if you live in an urban row house where every inch makes a difference!
How Close To The Property Line Can I Build? Fences are typically built between 2 and 8 inches from the line between properties. Some areas will allow the building of fences directly on the property line, but in this case, you'll have to cooperate with your neighbor and potentially share the cost of the fence.
Without a neighbour's agreement, there is no right to build a wall over the boundary line. The Party Wall Act DOES permit foundations to be built over the boundary, but only 'where necessary'. In my opinion, they are never necessary for domestic work and are seldom necessary for larger projects.What color fence makes your yard look bigger? ›
Garden Tool Box recommends using black for the color of the fence to make your garden feel larger. However, if solid black is too much for your taste, you can also use dark grey or dark brown. Darker colors are better at opening your space because they won't be highlighting the perimeter of your yard.Is a black fence a good idea? ›
Pro: Black Fencing Could Set Your Property apart from the Rest. Because black fencing isn't always common, it could help your property stand out from the crowd. If you want to boost your curb appeal or grab buyers' attention in a listing, a black fence might be the perfect choice for you.What is a good neighbor style fence? ›
A Good Neighbor Fence is a wood privacy fence that divides two properties, where the finished side of the fence (i.e. the more attractive, smooth side) faces the neighbor's property. The homeowner building the fence then has a view of the rails and posts from inside their yard.Which side of fence gets most sun? ›
In general, south-facing yards get the most sun, north-facing sites the least.Is it rude to put up a privacy fence? ›
Some folks wonder if it's considered rude or unfriendly to put up a privacy fence. The answer is no. Privacy fences are extremely common, especially if there's a pool, deck, or other feature that encourages a lot of activity in the backyard.What happens if it rains after you paint a fence? ›
We all know that paint takes time to dry and settle down. If you paint a picket fence in the rain, the paint will only wash off the fence, destroying all your hard work. Moreover, it is essential that you check the weather forecast to ensure that it does not rain the next few days either.What time of day should you paint a fence? ›
According to Bob Vila.com, the best time to paint a fence is on a warm, sunny day with temperatures between 50 and 80 degrees, low-to-moderate humidity, and a good weather forecast. Choose a time when no rain or snow is expected for at least 24 hours.Should I paint wooden fence with roller or brush? ›
To paint garden fences, however, we recommend using both a roller and a paintbrush. This will help you paint the fence quickly without wasting a lot of paint. Use the roller for flat surfaces and the fence brush for edges.Can I put something on top of my fence for privacy? ›
Fence toppers attach to the top of an existing fence to make it taller. That's why they're sometimes referred to as fence extensions. They may be strictly decorative, or increase privacy by adding a solid panel that raises the fence height.
no there is nothing stopping you putting boards up your side they've got gaps to allow the wind to blow through so if you stage them on the other side blocking the view but allowing strong wind you will be fine.Can I put a gate in my back fence? ›
You are totally within your rights to make a gate in your fence, but the council are completely entitled (if they notice it), to ask you never to open it. They may even send someone along to erect a new fence in front of your gate.What is the best color for a privacy fence? ›
Select a Complementary Color
White will always be a good color selection because it can make the yard look fresh and tidy. However, there are choices other than white in which to paint a fence. There are colors such as a pastel blue, yellow, or dove gray that could complement or match the color of the house.
Does paint or stain last longer on a fence? Stain tends to last longer than paint – but it can be more difficult to apply. Keep in mind that stain will fade over time and may need to be reapplied, even if it does outlast normal paint.How long will a fence last without stain? ›
A wood fence should be treated every two to three years with paint or stain. The experts at Five Star Painting recommend stain due to its durability on wood exposed to the elements.How many gallons of paint do I need for a fence? ›
The easiest way to estimate paint needs for your fence job is to count your fence posts and divide by 2, this equals gallons needed to complete the project. 1 board fence with wire generally takes 1 gallon of paint per 27 running feet of fence, covering both sides.Do you have to wash fence before staining? ›
Any good stain should be applied to a surface that has been thoroughly cleaned, which often means rinsing it with water to get rid of any debris that might have collected on it. Once that's been completed, wait until the wood is completely dry before applying the stain, something that might be delayed if rain arrives.What is the best temperature to stain a fence? ›
The ideal temperature range for application is between 50 and 80 degrees and it is important to choose a day when no rain is expected for 24 hours.How do I ask my neighbor for money on my fence? ›
Share as many details as possible. Your neighbor will want to know when the work is taking place, what will be done, what the costs will be, and what timeframe is expected for the complete project. They may also want to offer feedback on things like fence color and design.Can I paint my side of the fence in California? ›
Well, there's the legal answer and then there's the neighbourly answer. A fence on the property line is really in joint ownership. So you can paint your side whatever colour you want.
There is no set standard for residential fence height. However, each city has its own fence height regulations that you must adhere to. Common heights for front yard fences are around 3 feet, while common heights for backyard fences are between 6 and 8 feet.What is California fence law 841? ›
The maintenance of the fence that separates your property from your neighbor is regulated by statute. California Civil Code Section 841 provides, “[a]djoining landowners shall share equally in the responsibility for maintaining the boundaries and monuments between them.” This part of the code is known as the Good ...What is the Good Neighbor fence Act in California? ›
The basic principle of the law is that “adjoining landowners are presumed to share an equal benefit from any fence dividing their properties,” and thus must share any “reasonable” costs associated with the construction, maintenance, or replacement of those fences.Can you put a fence on a property line in California? ›
Answer: The installation of a fence on a property line requires the agreement of both property owners. If your neighbor insists on building on the property line without your consent or damages your property it becomes a civil matter. Your neighbor may install a fence on their own property clear of the property line.What constitutes a nuisance in California? ›
A public nuisance is defined by California Civil Code Section 3480 as one which affects an entire community or neighborhood, or any considerable number or persons, although the extent of the annoyance or damage inflicted upon individuals may be unequal.How do you fence around a tree on a property line? ›
Build a box to either exclude or enclose the tree on the property line. Discuss this possibility with your neighbor if you wish to accept responsibility for the tree and the new fence bump out will encroach on your neighbor's property. Run the fence along the property line but allow the trees to interrupt the fence.What is the fence law in New York State? ›
The NYC Building Code generally allows a maximum fence height of 10 feet, and the NYC Zoning Resolution outlines additional height limits: Residential districts: 6 feet, BC §3112.1. Residential front yard fences: 4 feet, ZR §23-44. Residential side of corner lot: 6 feet, ZR §23-44.Can I use my Neighbours garage wall? ›
If its a party or shared wall then you can do pretty much what you like as its shared. If it forms part of a boundary, that is your neighbours responsibility or on their land then you shouldn't be hanging anything from it without permission.Is there a right side to a fence? ›
Forget anything you've been told about “left-hand” or “right-hand” rules - they don't exist. Looking can give you a clue: walls and fences are most likely to have been built on the land that belongs to the boundary's owner with the further edge of the wall marking the actual boundary.How close to a fence Can a shed be? ›
Maybe your shed is too close to the fence, leaving you with no room to get around it. Sounds dreadful, right? With that in mind, experts recommend leaving at least 24 inches around the entirety of your shed. Plus, with 2 feet to spare, it'll be easy to make any changes or do anything with the shed in the future.
Check Rules and Regulations
Typically, fences are installed anywhere from 2 to 8 inches from a property line in most areas. Some areas might allow to go right up to a property line, especially if you live in an urban row house where every inch makes a difference!
About. No work may be performed on or within 50 feet of a street tree without a Tree Work Permit from Parks & Recreation. Any person, business, or contractor wishing to remove or perform work on or within 50 feet of a tree on New York City property is required to obtain a permit from Parks & Recreation.Do you need a permit to build a fence in New York State? ›
Permanent or non temporary fences may require a permit. For one- and two-family dwellings, DOB does not require permits for fences 6-feet or less in height, and homeowners may install their own fencing. In residential locations, fences are not required between properties.Can my Neighbour attach a fence to my wall? ›
The short answer is no. As can be seen from the preceding paragraphs a 'Boundary Wall' is owned by two or more land owners, each of which must ask the other for permission to repair or rebuild the wall.Can I build a wall between me and my Neighbour? ›
You should always seek the fully informed consent of your neighbour before commencing any works. If agreement can be reached, this could be written down so the terms of the consent and the works are clear to both you and your neighbour.How close to my neighbor can I build a garage? ›
Although exact setback requirements differ, the standard setback is 5 to 10 feet from your property line. You'll likely also have to set back your garage at least 15 feet from your main home—although you'll want to double-check your area's building codes for the specifics.Should a fence be vertical or horizontal? ›
For any type of sloped ground, vertical fences will follow that contour with a smooth look on both the top and bottom of the fence. For any installation where a contemporary look is required, a horizontal fence will be your best bet.What is a hit and miss fence? ›
Hit and miss fencing earns its name from the construction methods used; boards are fixed on alternate sides of the panel and supported by vertical battens to create a pattern that looks good from either direction. You and your neighbour can both enjoy a stylish garden boundary.Can I put a small shed next to my fence? ›
Although you may not be building a shed on your neighbor's property, it is courteous to consider how close the shed is to their property line. Avoid installing sheds that are close to a fence, as it can cause problems with current or future neighbors.How do I block out my Neighbours? ›
Although fences and brick walls can do the trick, adding an extra divider, screen or plant barrier can block your neighbor's two-story view for good. To create your secret retreat, freestanding privacy screens, wood slat partitions and partially enclosed pergolas are effective (and nice to look at).
Sheds. If you're thinking about building a shed for tools or even a she-shed to escape the rest of the family, there are rules around these as well. Requirements in each city will be different but frequently, sheds can't be built closer than 5 feet from the rear property line or 2 feet from the side property line.