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Thread: Residential fence rules

  1. #1
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    Residential fence rules

    I am looking for what people in other jurisdictions have dealt with. I have always understood that, in my city, fences between homes were the responsibility of the homeowner who first puts it up. And the rule was "good side out" and 6" off the property line. But after a discussion with a neighbor who wants me to share the cost of replacement, I cant find any such written requirements. City codes only address max fence height. State rules are all about farm fencing. When I call the city codes' department, I get the glassy-eyed tap dance of interns who don't understand the question.

    Am I misinformed as to what common knowledge is? Or do people who are not the original property owners that installed the fence normally agree to share costs? He's a good neighbor and I benefit from the fence. But I sure didnt ask the three other neighbors that border me to help pay for my fence.
    < insert spurious quote here >

  2. #2
    No laws here but the common agreement is to share the cost of a fence between two properties. The problem that occurs is that one side may not want the kind of fence the other side wants, including cost. Other problem is who gets the "nice" side of the fence.

    If the two sides can't agree, one side usually will cover the whole cost and do what they want.

    Mike
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  3. #3
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    In the in newer neighborhoods in Columbia MO the covenants of the subdivisions and home owners associations fill in the specifics that the city ordinances do not address. The rules vary from subdivision to subdivision. In the old neighborhoods it is common for neighbors to collaborate and build right on the property line. Even with lots of rules and laws there are still many problems between neighbors about the fences. Fences do not require permits in Columbia. When we helped our daughter buy a house we inherited the previous owners nasty feud. It had been settled in court. The judges ruling made impossible for our daughter to get a car into her garage.
    Last edited by Maurice Mcmurry; 05-18-2024 at 3:33 PM.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stan Calow View Post
    I am looking for what people in other jurisdictions have dealt with. I have always understood that, in my city, fences between homes were the responsibility of the homeowner who first puts it up. And the rule was "good side out" and 6" off the property line. But after a discussion with a neighbor who wants me to share the cost of replacement, I cant find any such written requirements. City codes only address max fence height. State rules are all about farm fencing. When I call the city codes' department, I get the glassy-eyed tap dance of interns who don't understand the question.

    Am I misinformed as to what common knowledge is? Or do people who are not the original property owners that installed the fence normally agree to share costs? He's a good neighbor and I benefit from the fence. But I sure didnt ask the three other neighbors that border me to help pay for my fence.
    Good side out and distance off the property line may or may not be in city codes. Good side might depend on the person. For me, having the rails on my side made for places to set or hang flower pots and other items.

    It appears a quick Googling finds some information.

    For Kansas City, MO:

    I want to put up a fence. Do I need a permit?

    Fences are governed per City Ordinance, Chapter 27, Fences and Walls. The fence may not exceed 4 feet in height in the front and street side yard if on a corner lot. It may not exceed 6 feet in height in the interior side and rear yards. No building permit is required. Contact Neighborhoods and Housing at (816) 513-3200 or 311 for guidance and enforcement.
    and > https://library.municode.com/mo/kans...ICOOR_CH27FEWA

    Kansas City, KS doesn't seem to have as good an online presence.

    Surveys or permits are not required in order to build a fence 6 feet or less high. Additional fence restrictions are available from the Planning & Zoning office for your local Jurisdiction. If you are unsure of where your property lines are beware that you are building a fence at your own risk and you may be encroaching on your neighbor’s property.


    Kansas City, KS Residents: Call Urban Planning (913) 573-5750
    There are multiple fences between one of my neighbors and my properties. When they moved in, they had a survey done. It indicated their property was a bit less in my direction than they liked.

    It is amazing how a little thing like the location of a property line can upset people. It really hasn't bothered me, but my neighbor is not too happy. They had the survey done after escrow went through, big mistake.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  5. #5
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    Jim, yes what you quote from the KC MO rules is what I found - it addresses height only, not property line or shared maintenance. And yes, I called the code office multiple times with no helpful response other than referring me to the exact same citation.

    Not needing a permit would lead one to believe I could make a fence out of pallets or barbed wire as long as it met the 6" height. And noting that a comma in that code sentence would help clarify corner lot height requirements.

    But I will check with HOA - I had not thought of that.
    < insert spurious quote here >

  6. #6
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    One thing to consider when making a fence is how to make both sides the good side.

    Back in the 1950s a fence between my folks property and the neighbor's used panels with the top and bottom 2X4s slotted down the middle. Then tongue & groove pieces were set in them to make a fence with both sides the same.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  7. #7
    if you are rich the laws may not apply to you, look at Drakes home on Post Road. Those fences are probably double allowed.

    My view fence doesnt cut it. I put in cedars end to end same as my father did on his home his were 45 feet tall when we sold mine I trim constant are 16 to 22 feet tall. I keep them down as on a 10 foot ladder with a pole trimmer that is my max. Im just moving compost and then clean the yard of much from my parents home. Those trees white pines and white cedars (best type) were in a bag and four to five inches tall when i planted them. Im just starting into trimming on the side then when done switch to the back here;., That home was put on six feet or raised ground and a concrete wall yoiu dont see with a 6 foot cedar fence on top of the concrete wall. Im blocking it out but unless i get a lift ill stay at the 22 feet till I find another way to get higher. the back cedars and pines were to 24 feet but had to bring them down as I couild not reach. I tied an extension ladder to a 10 foot step ladder but got hell from a few friends that care about me.

    If you can invent a drone to trim trees ill take one. A laser would work as well if it didnt take any airplanes down.



    P2250600A.jpg
    Last edited by Warren Lake; 05-18-2024 at 4:52 PM.

  8. #8
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    Ever seen videos of the chainsaw hanging from a helicopter for trimming trees? I first saw on in a James Bond movie.
    Bill D.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mfz1YrpMbBg

  9. #9
    At least in the suburbs of California I'm familiar with, fences are placed on the property line, and cost to replace them are shared by the property owners. I believe there is legal standing in that regard, in that if a fence needed replacing and one neighbor did not want to replace it, the neighbor who does have it replaced can sue the other person for the cost. I suspect if it went to the point of a lawsuit, there are lots of things that may be considered - reasonable costs vs what was actually paid, did the fence really need replacing, etc.

    Fortunately, I have good relations with all of my neighbors, and at this point, have had 3 out of the 4 fences replaced without any issues (4th is a small section with a 4th neighbor that hasn't needed replacing yet)

    Permits are not required unless you want the fence taller than 6'. But a 6' fence with a 2' lattice on top is also allowed without a permit.

  10. #10
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    Thanks for input all. Mark, I've heard people around here say that fences must be "on" the property line, others say 6" off, and others say 12" off. Thats part of my question, since I see nothing in city codes about it.

    In my suburban situation, the 60' fence that was put in by a previous neighbor (which I need for dogs) needs repair and the current owner wants me to contribute. I don't want to, as I believe it is his property. Looking for what the rules are, but it seems like it is based on local custom, not rules.

    Warren, I'm still working on the rich part, but yeah, thats the way it is.
    < insert spurious quote here >

  11. #11
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    One thing you could do is to consult some of the older local fence companies and discuss your options with regard to property lines and cooperative or non-cooperative neighbors. I'm sure they have encountered most everything in their business.

    In some states there is a thing known as adverse possession. If a neighbor builds a fence on your side of the property line and you do nothing for some number of years, the fence will become the property line and the neighbor now owns that piece of your property. That is why fences are normally constructed along the property lines.
    Last edited by Lee Schierer; 05-18-2024 at 6:25 PM.
    Lee Schierer
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stan Calow View Post
    Thanks for input all. Mark, I've heard people around here say that fences must be "on" the property line, others say 6" off, and others say 12"
    A good friend and close neighbor consulted me about building an 8 foot fence to isolate himself from a grumpy neighbor with a junky yard. He allowed two feet from the old broken down"Right on the line" fence and built the new 8 foot tall fence. As soon as it was done the junky, grumpy, guy tore down the old fence and used the new fence for the back wall of a shed. My friend is disgusted but has managed to laugh and let it go. The shed actually provides an added level of privacy and some of the junk was moved inside.

  13. #13
    thanks Bill I know all the movies well. I think they have that trimmer at home depot but ill wait till its battery powered.

    I think I had that same neighbour, then his wife left and his home was sold. People there now are stellar.

  14. #14
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    I've shared the side fence costs with my neighbors. To good side / bad side, flip a coin, that's never been a show stopper for me.
    Please help support the Creek.


    "The older I get, the better I used to be."
    Lee Trevino


  15. #15
    We have fence height restrictions. So what some people do who want privacy is they build a low fence in front of their house, then plant some shrubs along it that grow tall and narrow. They plant those shrubs about 2 feet apart. When they grow, what you have is a fully opaque front "fence" over 8 feet tall. It'd be tough for someone to get through those shrubs, also.

    Mike
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

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