Can I replace a fence without my neighbor’s permission?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can I replace a fence without my neighbor’s permission?

Parts of our fence fell down in a recent windstorm. It’s original fence and is 25 years old. Our neighbors got a quote to repair the fence for $700, we got a quote to replace the fence for $2000. They said they couldn’t afford the replacement so we offered to pay for it up front and they could make payments to us. They said no. Then, they said they could give us $500 towards the replacement. We said no

problem. We just want 3/4 of the fence on the nice side since we’re paying for it. They said no. They don’t want the ugly side of the fence, they want a good neighbor fence. I have no problem with that if they paid for half. Now they want to go back to repairing it. Legally, can I pay for the entire fence and get the nice side without my neighbor having a say in it?

Asked on February 3, 2017 under Real Estate Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Whose property is the fence on? If on their property, they control what happens and you cannot repair, replace, etc. unless they let you. If exactly on the property line between you, you both have to agree, so again, you need their consent. But if wholly on your property, you can do anything you like with it, at your expense (it is your fence). If the current fence is on their property or the property line, you could put a new fence "inside" it, on your property (even if only slightly or barely on your property) regardless of what they want.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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