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Homeowners Association Etiquette: Fencing Tips to Avoid Disputes

February 28, 2015 / by HOA Manager

drawing of shaking hands over fenceCan’t we all just get along? In a perfect world, yes, but in a homeowners association or any neighborhood for that matter, people are going to do things that either drive you crazy or are just outright rude. But you don’t have to be that neighbor. Instead, make it a point to be a good neighbor when a maintenance or repair issue comes up. There are two sides to this. One is having an open mind when a neighbor comes to you. The second is knowing some proper etiquette when you have to approach a neighbor. One common issue that can lead to disputes is fencing.

Posted by: houselogic

Fence Etiquette: Tips to Avoid Neighbor Disputes

Avoid fence disputes by practicing fence etiquette—a good neighbor policy. If you follow zoning regulations and share basics with neighbors before construction, you can install a new fence AND stay on good terms with the folks next door.


Observe boundaries: Don’t risk having to tear down that fence by going even one inch over your property line. Study your house line drawing or plat or order a new survey ($500 to $1,000) from a land surveyor to be sure of boundaries. Fence companies usually install a foot inside the line, to be on the safe side.
Respect limits: Fencing companies obtain permits and must know local zoning regulations for height, setbacks, and other restrictions. Height limits typically are 6 feet for side and back yards; 4 feet for front yards. More restrictive rules often apply to corner lots, where blind curves can limit driving visibility. To avoid disputes, review restrictions with your fence company before choosing a fence.

Follow HOA rules: Fencing companies are not responsible for knowing home owners association dos and don’ts; that’s your job. Unless you want to suffer committee wrath, and engage in a dispute, follow HOA guidelines. HOAs can dictate style, height, and maintenance. If your HOA wants all structures to match, you won’t have much wiggle room.

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That last point can’t be emphasized enough. As a member of the homeowners association, it’s your responsibility to read your CC&Rs and understand what you can and cannot do in the Association. Sometimes, this involves fencing. The CC&Rs dictate the responsibilities of the Association and the responsibilities of the homeowner. Once you understand what those are, then it’s your duty to abide by the HOA rules. If you have any questions an HOA board member or the HOA manager are the people to talk to.

If there is a dispute between yourself and a neighbor, do everything in your power to get it resolved. You do have to share a fence with them after all. 


Help Your HOA Members Be Informed and Involved

Topics: Living in an HOA, HOA Board, HOA Rules and Regulations