Avoid Real Estate Disputes: 3 Steps to Building a Property Fence the Legal Way

Posted on: 16 December 2015

Whether you want a fence around your piece of property to keep unwanted animals and trespassers out, to help indicate your property line or to simply provide more privacy for your entire family, a fence can be extremely beneficial. However, at the same time, a fence can cause a dispute between you and your neighbors. With that being said, you will want to make sure that you build your fence the right way – the legal way – in order to help prevent any potential issues, including legal troubles, later on. Here are three steps to take when building a fence:

1. Locate the Property Lines.

While the fence that you build does not have to actually be the property line between your house and your neighbor's, you need to make sure that it is built on your property and your property alone. For that reason, you need to know exactly where your property begins and ends.

Depending on the system that your local tax assessor's office utilizes, you may be able to gain access to this information online. Otherwise, you'll need to get in contact with a land surveying company to have the lines marked. If you have landmarks and the length and width of your property, you may be able to use a tape measure and determine the lines yourself, but you must be careful as this may not be as accurate as other methods.

2. Check Any Applicable Local Ordinances.

While you may not be forbidden to build a property fence, you may be subjected to certain laws that the city has dictated regarding how and where your fence can be built. Under most circumstances, this has to do with the types of materials that are used to build the fence, maintenance responsibilities as well as the height limit of the fence. For example, in Austin, Texas, a solid fence cannot be over eight feet high, although ornamental fences can be higher. In addition, a permit is not needed if your fence will not be built over seven feet.

3. Maintain Open Lines of Communication with Neighbors.

The best way to avoid a dispute in any situation is to talk with your neighbor. Let them know what you are wanting to do and keep them up to date with the construction of the fence. You may be surprised that they are more than willing to keep things amicable. After all, your fence-building project gives them some privacy too!

If you run into problems with your neighbor or have questions about how to ensure you are within your legal rights, contact a real estate lawyer, such as Blake Law Office, in your local area to discuss your situation and your legal options. 

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