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Privacy Fence Etiquette for Neighbors

Updated February 21, 2017

If you are considering putting up a fence in your front or back yard, you are not obligated to talk to your neighbours about your plans. However, it is a good idea to mention your plans to your neighbours to make sure there are no misunderstandings about property lines or unnecessary gossip.

Deed

Pull up your deed to make sure you know your exact property lines. This will avoid confusion in the future and will help you as you direct a fence company or put up the fence by yourself. It also will help you as you talk to neighbours who may wonder if you are building on their property.

Informing

You do not have to schedule a formal talk with your neighbours. The next time you see your next-door neighbours, casually mention to them that you plan to build a fence. Let them know what kind of fence you are planning to put up. They may offer to help you upgrade or pay for a fence that they like if they know of your intentions ahead of time.

Negotiating

A next-door neighbour may not like your choice of fence. If this happens, you may need to sit down for a formal meeting and discuss style and materials. As long as your fence is on your property, you can choose whatever style of fence you would like. However, to keep the peace, you may want to negotiate a fence that you both like to avoid two different kinds of fences sharing such a close space near the property line.

Legal Documents

For extremely finicky or unreliable neighbours, you may need to have a legal document drawn up that states how much each person will pay for a shared fence.

Respect

It is important to respect the other person's opinion and for your neighbour to respect yours. To ensure this, give each other ample time to talk, do not interrupt and keep your voice calm.

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About the Author

Vera Leigh has worked as a professional freelance writer since 2008. Her work has appeared in "Learn Overseas" and "Grad Source" magazines. In addition, she received an honorable mention in "Newsweek's" My Turn contest. She has written features for nonprofits focused on literacy, education, genomics and health. In her spare time, Leigh puts her English major to use by tutoring in grammar and composition.