Why Building a Fence an Inch onto Your Property Makes Good Sense

Want to keep neighbors from destroying the fence that you put up at your own expense? Chances are if you’ve erected it straight down the center of the property line there could be a dispute with the neighbors because it could be considered mute property. Try thinking of it in this way, does anyone really own the property line? Could it be that both sides own it?

To avoid disputes like the above, properties can be surveyed and most companies or fence builders will recommend where to erect a fence before building. In my small town you now have to get a permit to build a fence. This seems to help eradicate any questionable issues of who owns what.

Building on a property line also brings up the word easement. There has to be some give and take between homeowner houses. With a leeway of about a foot to two feet making up the easement between the houses the mute property line is accessible to both sides. The easement can be a walkway for city workers, meter readers and others to pass through so that gas lines or such can be fixed. Plus if the city wanted to they could take possession of anything on the easement.

My aunt once told me that “If you’re going to build a fence then build it an inch onto your property.” That is good advice. It means that the homeowners next door will be trespassing on your property if they step on that inch. This means they have no claim on your fence. Here is something that happened to my parents quite recently. The homeowner next door rented the house. The renters decided to chain their large dog to the wooden fence that my Father had actually paid for and built. The fence was on his property. Every time the dog got excited it pulled the fence with it as it tried to break free. As the fence leaned in the direction of the chained dog the nails started to come out and the boards started to become uneven. It was destroying a strong sturdy fence a little at a time. If my Father wanted to make the homeowner pay for the fence or build a new one he could have. Why? The renters had no business chaining their dog to the fence in the first place. They were actually trespassing in doing so and you could consider their dog trespassing.

Be aware that some people construct things without surveying where the property line begins and ends. Usually property lines can be found on deeds to the house so if you have any question about where the homeowner next door is constructing a fence or anything else check your deed or have a surveyor come out.

If there is a dispute over property lines such as the homeowner next door cutting down trees or trimming branches that are on the easement or are on your side then you can call the police. They can make them cease or back off what they are doing until you take it to court where a judge will make the deciding factor in the dispute.

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