Dealing with neighbor’s shoddy fence repair
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – March 18, 2016 – Question: My neighbor who lives behind me put up a fence about five years ago. Last week during a storm, a section fell into my yard. He put the fence back in place and used lumber on an angle to prop it up. The fix protrudes into my yard and prevents me from being able to mow my grass completely. Is there a remedy to this eyesore? – Timothy
Answer: It's correctly said that good fences make for good neighbors, but it is equally true that good communication does the same. The first step is to speak to your neighbor. You may find that the fix is temporary while he waits for a fencing company to come out and make a proper repair. If verbal communication does not work, write a letter. Also, take some pictures of the problem area. Often putting it in writing is more powerful, and documenting the issue may become important later if this situation spirals into a lawsuit.
If your neighbor will not relent and fix the fence properly, you may have to take him to court. This is where the letters and pictures will come in handy, and the judge will not take kindly to your neighbor's ignoring your requests.
But before you go this route, check your survey to make sure that the fence supports are actually on your property. People often put their fences a few feet from the property lines for drainage or other reasons. You may have been mowing his property all along.
About the writer: Gary M. Singer is a Florida attorney and board-certified as an expert in real estate law by the Florida Bar. He is the chairperson of the Real Estate Section of the Broward County Bar Association and is an adjunct professor for the Nova Southeastern University Paralegal Studies program. Send him questions online at http://sunsent.nl/mR20t7 or follow him on Twitter @GarySingerLaw.
The information and materials in this column are provided for general informational purposes only and are not intended to be legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is formed. Nothing in this column is intended to substitute for the advice of an attorney, especially an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.© 2016 Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), Gary M. Singer. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.