1. How to get logged in to the NEW SurveyorConnect.com!

    You should have received a password reset notification at the email address you used to register your account here. If you don't receive the email, please check your spam or junk folder. If you still don't have it, please click the following link to manually reset your password. If all else fails, send us an email at support@surveyorconnect.com.

    [ CLICK HERE TO RESET YOUR PASSWORD ]

Where to build the fence? redux

Discussion in 'General Land Surveying' started by Robert Hill, Apr 30, 2013.

  1. Robert Hill

    Robert Hill 5-Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2010
    Messages:
    2,578
    Location:
    St. Tammany Parish, LA
    Licensed in:
    LA
    With all the posts recently about home owners’ authority concerning boundary location and the reliance on fences, I thought it was a goodtime to revisit the question of
    “Where do you advise your client to build a fence?”
    Let’s use this scenario that has different conditions.
    Very expensive estate lots with very pricey homes with many amenities. Desirable location located on an old S/D plan but the homes have mostly been built in the last 20 +/- years in a suburban setting.
    Reliable surveys have been made through the years. Corners should be recovered or reset without any problems. I am thinking estate homes with a $1.5- $3 million value
    1. Client wants to build fence. Do you advise to erect the fence on the line or offset the fence? Homeowner has a fear that if he offsets the fence, a future adjacent owner will think possession is to the fence.
    2. Client and neighbor have tentatively agreed to build the fence together for cost of survey and construction. Does your advice change?
    3. Another adjacent owner hears of the neighbors’ plan and want ’in’ also to erect a fence along another line of the common properties. Let’s say it is the rear line. Does advise change again?

    Fence is probably for the purpose of privacy and security. Not a rural or average lot scenario. Fence wil probably be of high quality material and construction methods.
    If the fence is offset, will an affidavit properly secured and recorded protect the boundary from future owners?
    I don’t think so.
     
  2. Tom Adams

    Tom Adams 2-Year Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2013
    Messages:
    1,501
    Location:
    Colorado
    If the client is building the fence himself at his cost (privacy fence) and he wants full control of it I would think it would need to be on his property. Maybe it's different for different jurisdictions, but that would be my general feel. He makes the "decorative" side facing himself, and has all of the property corners set (and perhaps protects them) and has a survey showing the fence in relation to the property. Why wouldn't an affidavit recorded help protect his property?

    If he and his neighbor mutually want a fence, they should share in the cost and they might have to share in the maintenance of it. It also might cause problems on if-and-who has to pay for improvements. Also, I would think it would be wrong to tear it down or alter it without the neighbor's consent. If one owner decides to build a fence on the property line of his own volition, it might cause problems if the neighbor doesn't want it there. It also might cause problems if the neighbor says "you built it on the line, therefore it is now half mine."

    I am more with the build it on his own property side and claim/take full control of the fence, unless a good and equitable agreement can be made between owners.
     
  3. jud

    jud 4-Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2010
    Messages:
    1,950
    Location:
    Lexington, OR 97839
    Within the type of neighborhood you describe and the intent is a privacy fence intended to be owned and maintained by the one wanting the benefits of the fence, I have came to the conclusion that the fence should allow enough distance between itself and the monumented property line so the fence owner can and does maintain both sides of the fence up to the property line. Fences along the line used to be little problem between owners but today we have a different kind of owner who usually are much more self centered than in the past, maintaining full control of ones property today is required to keep the title clear. Maybe an offset fence with a type of license document attached to the property's, not the owners, could be created with the conditions stated about ownership claims allowing use but not claims. Were it me wanting to take part in building a common fence centered on the property line, again I would attempt to create an agreement stating the terms of maintenance, replacement or removal of that fence attached to both deed documents that remains with the land instead of between owners. If no conciseness can be reached I would set my fence back far enough that I could access and maintain all of my property without trespass. We have many convenience fences and even in town there are many fences constructed to keep the dog home without a thought of claiming it as the ownership line, harmony existing for years before it it gets destroyed by modern man.
    jud
     
  4. Tom Adams

    Tom Adams 2-Year Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2013
    Messages:
    1,501
    Location:
    Colorado
    :good:

    Perhaps even some kind of landscaping between the fence and the property line along the "maintenance path".

    At my house, we have a privacy fence along our back line with a gap to a chain-link fence which is on the line. I would not be able to fit back there to maintain that side of the fence and it just collects debris. (Put up before we bought the house). (Of course I would not have a fight over a foot of property if someone tried to claim that area. It just isn't that important to me and I don't have $1.5M property)
     
  5. FL/GA PLS.

    FL/GA PLS. 5-Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2010
    Messages:
    1,934
    Location:
    Altamonte Springs, Florida
    Licensed in:
    FL, GA
    We have surveyed literally thousands of single family homes in the Central Florida area, from “starter” homes to “mansions” ranging from $120k to $3-5M. It’s been my experience that constructing fences on the property line is best method because the majority of homeowners maintain to it regardless of its position and assume the fence is the line. Of course there are many exceptions to this especially when maintenance issues arise on the more expensive and/or permanent installations. Still, in my opinion, on the property line is the safest bet. Now whether or not a fence company can follow a straight line is a whole ‘nother story.

    Have a great week! B-)
     
  6. foggyidea

    foggyidea 5-Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2010
    Messages:
    2,910
    Location:
    Peoples Republic of Cape Cod
    I think that not building on the line is like giving your neighbor your land. I'd suggest stringing the line and building the face up to that line. Good side towards the neighbor if there is a "good " side. Most often the fences in the neighborhood you speak off have two good sides.

    Of course there are methods to protect the land if you offset the fence but 20-30 ers from now who's going to remember stuff like that?

    Sharing installation and placing it on the line is a great idea if the neighbors are willing. Some sort of maintenance agreement should be made covering repairs and replacements, as well as reimbursement if one decides they don't want it any longer. Must have exit clause!!
     
  7. Nate The Surveyor

    Nate The Surveyor 5-Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Messages:
    4,347
    Location:
    SW Arkansas
    Licensed in:
    AR
    I like the idea of building a monument, at each corner. Like an obelisk, with PROPERTY CORNER imprinted into it. Or a 12" dia concrete cylinder, about 36" to 48" long, with a brass tag, labeled PROPERTY CORNER. Show it to ALL adjoiners. Now, nobody can say they did not know where the corners are.

    Place these fancy monuments every 100' or 200' around the perimeter of your property.

    Now, construct the fence wherever you bloody please!

    :)

    Nate
     
  8. foggyidea

    foggyidea 5-Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2010
    Messages:
    2,910
    Location:
    Peoples Republic of Cape Cod
    I staked a property yesterday where the client had already had a fence constructed all around her property. She had given the fence company a copy of her plot plan (not a survey plot plan)and they said fine, we'll just measure off the one monument that was visible.

    Well the one line is very good, just inside the property line with the face of the fence (the good side) almost right on the line. Of course that line was only 80' form the bound and a straight line. The bond happened to monument the PT of the rounding at the intersection.

    The other side of the lot is over the line by 1' to 1.5'. Since this is registered land you can't gain or lose land by adverse possession so it's not really a land grab but an inconvenience. The neighboring lot is on the market however, and my client is concerned that the new potential owners may object. Therefore she is going to call the fence company and try to compel them to move the fence at their cost. (Good Luck)

    Surveying without a license, would you say so?
     
  9. Joe F

    Joe F 3-Year Member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2011
    Messages:
    476
    Location:
    Phoenix, Az
    I agree that placing a fence along a property line is the best solution - providing that the owners on both side agree - after all, it will be a shared fence.
    If there are other issues such as bad blood between neighbors, that opens another scenario altogether, but for the most part, along the property line makes the most sense to me.

    for instance, 25+ years ago when we bought our home in a suburbia subdivision, the homes all had cheap wood fences, common to the 1979 construction standards for these homes. We wanted to replace the wood with colored block walls, not painted or stucco'ed. we met with the 2 neighbors involved after I verified that the existing fence was indeed ON the property line as close as they can build it. After discussing our wishes for the light brown, Superlite block walls, our neighbors agreed to split the costs of the repective portions of the walls we share. I added one stipulation: that they and us are to always be careful to avoid the walls getting soaked from sprinklers - to avoid the white staining for our city water - which after all these years, they have been diligent and the walls still look great.
    good neighbors CAN share good fences, if they make the effort.
     
  10. JB

    JB 5-Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2010
    Messages:
    711
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    How does placing a fence inside a lot line cede property to an adjoiner?
    Are you suggesting that if I put a fence 1' inside a lot line, the adjoiner somehow automatically gains the foot? How about if I put a fence 15' inside my line, as if to avoid an easment?
    I just did a 2 acre survey and the fence around the house is at least 120' from the rear line and goes behind the house, down the side lines to the road R/W. Is someone seriously making the argument that the 120' of unfenced property is in play for the neighbor?
    WTF?
     
  11. foggyidea

    foggyidea 5-Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2010
    Messages:
    2,910
    Location:
    Peoples Republic of Cape Cod
    Where to build the fence? redux>JB

    Haha JB, you funny guy....

    We obviously work in very different realms of the country.

    Consider my argument objectively; In a subdivision with say half acres lots, you put up a fence 2' inside your property. Who's going to mow that stretch of grass? you or the neighbor? Where are they going to start leaning their snow tires in the summer? You've just given 2' of land to your neighbor for their enjoyment.

    Now say you put 15' into your property but mark your corners well an maintain that area. Well now that's a different story.

    Now lets sway I've got 100 acres and I fence it all in 120' inside the property lines. I'm going to bet that if there are houses surrounding the property some of them will start using the land, and if I'm not careful about defending my rights I am gong to lose that land.

    Adverse possession is a reality, and NOT a figment of my imagination!
     
  12. jud

    jud 4-Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2010
    Messages:
    1,950
    Location:
    Lexington, OR 97839
    Most of the problems with fences is that one of the good neighbors moves on. I tell people, especially people considering making agreements between friends or family that neighbors move, even if not expected at the time of whatever they think they are agreeing to. For that reason, I tell both parties that while forming the agreement to treat it as if was an agreement between people who hate each other and will do all within their power to make the others life miserable. Those who listen end up with agreements about such things as fences, shared driveways or wells with documents that will stand the test of time. Your worst enemy is yourself when you think conditions and harmony will last forever, property's change hands and unless you are prepared to buy them all out, you have no say in who your new neighbors will be or their attitudes.
    jud
     
  13. JPH

    JPH 3-Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2012
    Messages:
    365
    "Surveying without a license, would you say so?"

    :good:


    I always wonder how so many fences get put up without the lot being staked out by a land surveyor.

    People will spend $5K on a fence, but won't spend $500-1000 to make sure that it's put in the right place.


    I once stopped in at a fence company and gave a bunch of cards to the owner. I never got one call.
     
  14. Jered McGrath PLS

    Jered McGrath PLS 4-Year Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2010
    Messages:
    1,186
    Location:
    Portland/Vancouver Metro area
    Licensed in:
    CA, OR, WA
    > “Where do you advise your client to build a fence?”
    > Let’s use this scenario that has different conditions.

    Scenarios don't matter much on prop values etc, IMHO. It boils down to basics.
    1. Client owns property and wants Fence, calls us.
    2. Clients needs boundaries determined, (our job), Get er done.
    3. Discus about cost of joint fence with Neighbor.
    (At this point Neighbor is already aware of boundary from step 2.)

    4. If neighbor wants in. I'd say Joint Fence on boundary. Final Fence Post set online back from corner monument by 1-2 feet. It's easy to run the fence that remaining distance without having a post at the corner in the ground.

    5. If Neighbor doesn't want to pay, then set fence face on boundary doing the same final post offset described above. Oregon actually has a fence law discussing common fence ownership. http://www.leg.state.or.us/ors/096.html

    > 1. Client wants to build fence. Do you advise to erect the fence on the line or offset the fence? Homeowner has a fear that if he offsets the fence, a future adjacent owner will think possession is to the fence.
    I agree that offsetting the fence can be tricky unless a survey is filed and probably an affidavit stating the facts in the title records. I wouldn't recommend it but if an owner wants this then I would help record the intent into the records.

    > 2. Client and neighbor have tentatively agreed to build the fence together for cost of survey and construction. Does your advice change?
    See above #4

    > 3. Another adjacent owner hears of the neighbors’ plan and want ’in’ also to erect a fence along another line of the common properties. Let’s say it is the rear line. Does advise change again?

    Seems to match basics for above #4

    > Fence is probably for the purpose of privacy and security. Not a rural or average lot scenario. Fence wil probably be of high quality material and construction methods.
    > If the fence is offset, will an affidavit properly secured and recorded protect the boundary from future owners?
    > I don’t think so.

    How would you figure a recorded affidavit as to the location of a fence would not assist in determining the intent of the parties at the time of construction? I sure think it would help me in the evidence process when talking to current owners about determining the boundary.
     
  15. Dan Dunn

    Dan Dunn 4-Year Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2010
    Messages:
    211
    Location:
    Northern New Jersey
    Licensed in:
    NJ, NY
    Most of the fence company's in this area have some form of statement in their contract that they will put the fence where ever you tell them, but if it has to be moved it is at your expense.
     
  16. Dan Dunn

    Dan Dunn 4-Year Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2010
    Messages:
    211
    Location:
    Northern New Jersey
    Licensed in:
    NJ, NY
    > 1. Client wants to build fence. Do you advise to erect the fence on the line or offset the fence? Homeowner has a fear that if he offsets the fence, a future adjacent owner will think possession is to the fence.

    On smaller lots in suburban New Jersey if a fence is being constructed along the property line, most fences are commonly built just inside the property line (0.1' to 0.2'). as the lots get larger (3/4 acre on up) the properties tend to be wooded and the fence may be held in from the boundary, jump around trees, I have even seen them parallel the stone walls along the boundary line.

    A building permit is required to build a fence in most all municipalities. The "good side" is required to face toward the adjoining property and the fence is supposed to be constructed on your property. These fences are built as 'fences of convenience' not 'boundary fences'.

    > 2. Client and neighbor have tentatively agreed to build the fence together for cost of survey and construction. Does your advice change?

    In 30 years I have never had that situation, not to say it doesn't happen but it is very uncommon. Many times these fences are required to enclose a pool, and need to be under the full control of the owner. As was said elsewhere common ownership of the fence can cause more problems then its worth. What is common around here is for the adjoinor to ask permission to tie their fence into an existing fence, thus preventing two fences running parallel with only a half foot between which just becomes a catch for leaves.

    > 3. Another adjacent owner hears of the neighbors’ plan and want ’in’ also to erect a fence along another line of the common properties. Let’s say it is the rear line. Does advise change again?

    See number 2 above.
     
  17. Bill93

    Bill93 5-Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2010
    Messages:
    2,734
    Location:
    52402
    How about the farmland situation: suppose someone wants to be picky about placing a new fence and has corner stakes to go by. They are building a barbed wire fence with a wood post every so often and metal t-posts between. Should they put the center of the wood posts on the line or the barbed wire?
     
  18. spledeus

    spledeus 3-Year Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2011
    Messages:
    2,129
    Location:
    Chatham, MA
    If you get along with the neighbor, talk to them and put it right on the line. Split the posts where possible.

    If you have issues with the neighbor put it right up to the line.
     
  19. jud

    jud 4-Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2010
    Messages:
    1,950
    Location:
    Lexington, OR 97839
    Depends on intent, is it on a boundary line because it will be jointly owned and maintained, as noted above we have statute for guidance. Building a fence to keep my livestock in, knowing that some cows, or whatever you want to keep in will be pushing on that fence and can put staples or other types of keepers it on the opposite side of the push, keep my cows home and I build the fence, the wire will be on my side of the posts, be they steel, fiberglass, concrete or wood.
    jud
     
  20. Sergeant Schultz

    Sergeant Schultz 5-Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2010
    Messages:
    233
    I think NY dealt with this in 2008 by adding Sect 543 to the Real Property Actions and Proceedings' Law.

    New Section 543 ("Adverse possession; how affected by acts across a boundary line") provides:

    "1. Notwithstanding any other provision of this article, the existence of de minimus non-structural encroachments including, but not limited to, fences, hedges, shrubbery, plantings, sheds and non-structural walls, shall be deemed to be permissive and non-adverse.

    2. Notwithstanding any other provision of this article, the acts of lawn mowing or similar maintenance across the boundary line of an adjoining landowner's property shall be deemed permissive and non-adverse."

    Of course, now we must define de minimus......
     

Share This Page