Can a neighbor make you put up your own fence if you’ve been tied into theirs for a year?

About a year ago, we got a dog. My neighbors on both sides already had privacy fences up and agreed to let us tie into their fence so that we could keep it contained. A couple of nights ago, the dog had her head under the fence playing with the other dog. They got into a little fight and our dog’s face got bit. Well, we said something to them about it. The next day we were told that we

needed to put up our own fence because what happened was on their property. Our side of the fence does go over the property line about 2 feet. I’m wondering if because we had a verbal agreement about the fence if they can still make us do that?

Asked on March 28, 2019 under Real Estate Law, Tennessee

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

An oral (that, not verbal, is the correct term for "unwritten") agreement like you describe is not enforceable: 1) if you did not give them anything of value in exchange for their permission to tie to their fence, they did not receive "consideration," and without consideration going to each side (each side must benefit), there is no enforceable contract; 2) an agreement without a set duration can generally be changed or cancelled at will.
Therefore, the agreement you describe is almost certanly not enforceable. And not being enforceable, they have the right to tell to you to remove your fence from their land and from their fence whenever they like; that you had it there for a year with their permission gives you rights to keep it there.


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