Question about property line fencing...

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Ravenlost, Sep 22, 2006.

  1. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Hubby asked me to get some feedback on this situation. We paid to have a good sturdy fence built down our south property line. The next door neighbor was all for it and agreed to pay half. Of course, he never spoke to us again. Now he's lost the place and yesterday a couple came to look at it. I went out and talked to them a little while and they indicated that they had a couple ponies and would be fencing in the rest of the property. They intend to use our fence to connect their fence to and hubby is hesitant about that.

    What are our rights? Should they pay to use the fence, or is it theirs to use since it existed when they bought the place? Are they responsible for maintenance if they connect to it? They were concerned about their ponies going under the fence where the pond is normally (it tends to dry up a lot in the summer) and were asking if we would fix it.

    I just don't know who is responsible for what or if there are laws in Mississippi that govern such things as shared fences.

    HELP!!!
     
  2. jassytoo

    jassytoo Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I don't know about in Mississippi, but here you are responsible to keep your animals in.Therefore, it would be the neighbours responsibility to either reinforce your fence or put something in front of it so his ponies can't wander through.As for paying for it, I would think that they can't be held responsible for what your neighbor ageed to. If you think the ponies are going to damage the fence ask them to put a hot wire on their side, that should keep the animals from leaning on or pushing through the fence.
     

  3. dagwood

    dagwood Well-Known Member

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    I would suggest contacting a local Real Estate Attorney just to be on the safe side. Better to get and act on solid info rather than err on something as important as this.
     
  4. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thanks!

    I told hubby last night that I didn't see how he could ask the new neighbors to pay for what the old neighbors agreed to pay. I mean, how would they know that the old neighbors hadn't held up their side of the bargain? Why would they be responsible for the old neighbor's actions?
     
  5. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    In Indiana where all the farms used to be fenced completely, The line fence is 50-50. The right half as you stand on your property facing the fence is your responsability to build and maintain. If a new fence is needed and the neighbor refuses to build it, you could report it to the trustee of your township. The trustee would hire it built and put the cost on their taxes. Now days, very few farms have livestock and the farmers agree to eliminate the fence alltogether. The fence laws still exist here and if my neighbor wants livestock, I have to put up my half of the fence. You could get a judgment against the farm for the cost of the left half of the fence that you put up. If that pond is on the left half of the fence, it's his to fix.
     
  6. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The pond is on both sides of the fence.
     
  7. tallpines

    tallpines Well-Known Member

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    Wisconsin has the same laws regarding fences.
     
  8. Alice In TX/MO

    Alice In TX/MO More dharma, less drama. Supporter

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    I think if you try to charge them ANYTHING, they will wind up posting a 'bad neighbor' thread on homesteadingtoday.com! :)

    You are absolutely correct that you can't hold them liable for a previous owner's debt.

    Asking them to pay to connect a few wires to your fence at a corner so that they can run their fence just seems petty to me.

    I do, however, think they are responsible for building a 'water gap' at the pond if it's their ponies getting out.
     
  9. lgslgs

    lgslgs Well-Known Member

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    Did you build right on the survey line or inside of it?

    We intentionally ran ours several feet inside of the survey line and then had the neigbors sign a paper saying that we mutually agreed that we were going to waive making them pay for half of it, that the fence did NOT mark the property line or supecede the survey, and that they were aware that it was electric.

    We will greet any new neighbors with a copy of the original agreement for their awareness and records.

    If future neighbors want a perimeter fence, they can survey and then build there own and even if they build right on the line, we'll end up with a 3 - 8 foot buffer zone (it varies in spots) left that will give us access to both sides of the fence. And hooking up to our corners is not going to be an option.

    If your fence IS actually right on the boundary line, I wouldn't let them connect to it unless they agree in writing that they will do (or pay for) half the maintainence on the fence.

    Lynda

    P.S. You can find out more about your state laws by searching on "line fencing laws". Here's a start http://muextension.missouri.edu/platte/Ag Hybrid/September 2001/MONewFenceLaw.html and http://muextension.missouri.edu/explore/agguides/agecon/g00810.htm
     
  10. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Your state does not have good laws on this, as I can see.

    http://198.187.128.12/mississippi/lpext.dll?f=templates&fn=fs-main.htm&2.0

    They are more concerned about counties maintaining open range concept, vs the statewide closed range laws.


    So, _in general_ what is done is done now, your new neighbors should not be bothered to pay for what exsists there now.

    However, if they actually use the fence (and sounds like they will) then they should have to pay for the maintenence costs from here on out.

    In most states, a fence on the property line, _being used by both parties_, should be maintained 1/2 & 1/2. You stand on your property, and the 1/2 on your right is _your_ fence to maintain to the legal level of fence. And, your state does have a legal description of a fence.....

    But, there is no clear cut laws of this posted for your state, so you best ask at your county seat. Seems each county will be doing their own different things in your state.

    You may uncover some very odd & contradictory statutes on all this if you dig enough.

    Anything we tell you on here are only general, sorta accepted here & there things. If you wish to make it legal & push comes to shove, you need to look to the local county for help.

    I'd look for an agreement to maintain the fence from here on out, and it might be nice if they offered to kick in a little for what is there. But I don't know that I'd start off on a bad foot & demand such.

    imho for now, different situations, different laws, might make me feel different.

    --->Paul
     
  11. Ole Man Legrand

    Ole Man Legrand Well-Known Member

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    You should build your fence 6 to 10 feet inside your property line.Then no one can use your fence.If your fence is on the property line your neighbors will use it.
     
  12. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Then the problem becomes, what happens to that 10 feet of property? If you never visit it, & the neighbor does, in some states you could lose it to adverse possesion type laws.

    Seems better to fence to the property line & deal with the fence use, rather than possibly legally or effectively anyhow lose the use of 10 feet of your property?

    --->Paul
     
  13. Alice In TX/MO

    Alice In TX/MO More dharma, less drama. Supporter

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    I'm with Rambler on that one. The idea of giving away the edge of my property is mind boggling. :shrug:

    Also, if you build inside the line, and your neighbor builds inside the line, who is going to maintain that buffer? What happens when the grass, weeds, and brush grow up, and you have a dry year, and it's a fire hazard?
     
  14. ceresone

    ceresone Well-Known Member Supporter

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    When our new neighbors moved in, they tied their fence to our corner posts, and got very upset because i asked him to please put in a brace post on his side. then, about 1/2 way down, he built himself a cross fence by tying onto our barb wire between posts! after taking it loose once, i finally relented and left him alone.--now, mind you, this is ALL on the right side, looking at fence from the middle,the left side, or his to maintain, has fell completely down. says since he dont have animals back there, he dont care.--- SO, it still dont have a brace post-still tied between posts-and his side to fix is down. and people put us ozarkians down for being stand-offish! gee, ya' think we've been burned once too often by people from 'elsewhere??
     
  15. Chris in PA

    Chris in PA Well-Known Member

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    In most states it take 20 years to get property by adverse possesion - so every 2-3 years go down there with a weed wacker and trim your fence line. Takes care of the issue. Though I have to admit I am not sure I would do 10 inside my property line. I would be more open to 4-5 feet just enough that I could mow it with a tractor if I wanted.

    You don't have to 'use' the land to keep it from adverse possesion - just walk on it occasionally and do a bit to maintain it.
     
  16. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Putting the fence inside the property line is a moot point as the fence is already on the property line. It's there to stay...posts are cemented in. With the neighbor behind us we've had no problems. He used to have cows and the fence is old. He's in his 70s so his grandson and my hubby have repaired the fence (it's also on the property line). It's a 50/50 deal...he supplies materials and hubby supplies manpower. Works great, but then, these neighbors treat us like family and vice/versa. Hopefully we can work out a similar relationship with the new neighbors.
     
  17. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Some states are as short as 7 years...... If neighbor is greedy & keeps pics/ record of what he did, & you only walk on it every few years with no proof of how/why/when....... Be careful.

    I farm, I figure every 38" of field is worth $25 of income per year. I wouldn't feel like giving up $333 a year of crops.....

    --->Paul
     
  18. RandB

    RandB Well-Known Member

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    Is this a wooden fence, or wire ?

    It sounds like you are the complete owner of the fence you put up. If they seem like reasonable people, you could explain the situation, see if they are interested in paying for part of it, and then let them use it. Otherwise, maybe you could tell them you would prefer they put up their own "parallel" fence along side of yours, to contain their ponies. Many horse farms do this - a double row of fence. Some horses can be very destructive to fences! And, that way if the worst happens and ponies get out, you can't be blamed in any way via your fence.
     
  19. cast iron

    cast iron Well-Known Member

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    That's the direction I would take. This is very much one of those "pick your battles" type deal. While you don't want to let the neighbor walk on you, you also don't want to underestimate the value of good neighbor relations into the future. Hooking up to the boundary fence does not seem to me to be out of line.
     
  20. kenuchelover

    kenuchelover Well-Known Member

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    Here's a question..... what are YOU using the fence for? If it's not something YOU really need on a constant basis, the option of taking down a few randoms sections of YOUR fence would exist as a bargaining chip in a worst case scenario.

    My suggestion is to go to these people, explain the situation in full, and ask if they'll contribute something towards the fence since they expect to be making use of it. Explain neighbor's obligations, and how fullfilling them works out to everybody's benefit. You may not get them to pay half of the old cost (unless they want to "buy" half of the decision making rights re the fence), but it's conceiveable they can be talked into paying for all or most of future repairs & upkeep. CLEARLY MARK any junction between your old & their "new" fencing, maybe even to the point of a metal label plate. With them having ponies that THEY are obligated to keep in, you have the upper hand here. If you don't need the fence to keep YOUR critters in, you can open up gaps at will & force them to be constantly at work recovering their animals lest they incur compensatory damages. Even if you DO need the fence yourself, you could open gaps whenever convienient for YOU (just moved cows elsewhere, etc)..... which inevitably won't be convienient for them. I'm NOT saying that you want to be a bad neighbor, just that if they act unreasonable you hold the practical & legal open hand (so long as you've no livestock straying onto their property in turn). Try the friendly approach first..... you can play hardball later if you have to (just keep that option in mind, so that you're not tempted to let them run all over you).

    You have NO responsibility to improve the fence at the pond.... they want you to fix THEIR problem for them at your expense. Tell them this, ask if THEY want to pay to have the extension done (note that they'd first have to get permission from YOU, just as they need permission to connect onto your fence).... and point out that their only alternative is for them to fence their ponies out of the pond on their side... which would also be their expense.

    They should have NO rights to your fence, you put it up (& can prove that).

    When was the property line last surveyed? If the fence is even SLIGHTLY on your side of the property line they have no rights to it at all..... and you could likely force them to pay to have a survey done to "prove" it's not on your side, if they argued the point. Especially since you were there first & the fence was a "prexisting condition" from the perspective of their land title. Even if ON the exact boundary, or over on their side of the line, the fact that you built it & have "used it" since BEFORE they purchased the adjacent land, tends to grandfather you in.... One possible solution if they turn out penny pinching is to suggest they ask their title insurance to cover any expenses (new fence being made, reimbursing you for half of the old fence, creating a double fence, etc?).... note that this would be cheaper for the title company than litigation would be.