Replacing a fence can be an incredibly stressful experience if you do not keep the neighbors happy. Failure to ensure that the neighbors are satisfied with you replacing a shared fence, can result in a whole host of unwanted consequences ranging from simple pettiness to detailed court cases. It is said that the two most significant issues to worsen neighborly relations are noise levels and replacing a fence. Therefore it is imperative that anyone who wishes to replace a fence follows a certain etiquette that can be divided up as follows.


Who Owns The Existing Fence?

It is always a good idea to pull out your property plans to ascertain who owns the fence that you wish to replace. This will save arguments in the future as you will at least know if you own the fence, and if you do, then you are well within your rights as owner of the fence to replace it as you see fit. However if you find out that the fence is actually owned by your neighbor, then you will have to approach the whole issue of replacing the fence in a different way. This will ultimately mean opening a respectful dialogue with your neighbor that addresses the idea of replacing their fence, what you wish to replace their fence with and crucially who will pay for the replacement fence and indeed all labour costs.


What Are The City And HOA Requirements?

Another really important point to take into consideration when you want to replace a fence is to read up on your city and HOA requirements. Failure to do this can result in a disgruntled neighbor seeking legal advice which could find out that you are in breach of planning regulations resulting in you being ordered to pull the fence down. Remember that if you don’t know what the planning regulations of your local city are, you should not be replacing a fence or engaging in any refurbishment work of any structure on your property. Failure to know the law and the planning and building regulations can be an incredibly costly venture and serve only to worsen relations with your neighbors.


What Style Of Fence Will You Be Installing?

Further to the previous point, it is also bearing in mind that replacing a fence has environmental consequences. Certain regulations may prohibit you from replacing fence panels with a non-eco friendly material such as a vinyl fence, for example. You might also discover that your neighbors also do not want a fence that they consider to be inappropriate or unsightly. A chain-link fence or an aluminium fence for example might be useful for your needs, but might worsen the aesthetics of your neighbor’s garden, whereas a wood fence might be more to your neighbor’s preference. The style of fence can really make all the difference in terms of getting your neighbors onside. Once again this can only be achieved through open and honest communication with your neighbor.


Who Will Pay For The New Fence?

Sometimes a neighbor will be more than happy to help fund replacing a shared fence. Then again there are times when a neighbor has no interest in replacing the fence and therefore sees no reason to part with any cash in order to help you fund the construction of your new fence. In this instance, it is crucial that you maintain a good and honest dialogue with your neighbor about your plans and how the new fence could benefit both your neighbor and yourself. By framing the replacement of the fence as a shared endeavour with a shared benefit, your neighbor will be more likely to entertain the idea of helping you to fund the new fence from the outset. By offering to share the costs of replacing the fence you are more likely to persuade your neighbor to agree to replace the fence as opposed to insisting that they should solely pay for it.

Clearly there is an unwritten etiquette when it comes to replacing fences and ensuring good neighborly relations and that is open communication with your neighbor about the replacement fence you propose to build, taking into consideration both your neighbor’s opinion and the legal building regulations that preside over your jurisdiction.