Neighbor dynamics are usually characterized by interesting situations. No wonder why some people prefer to not have any immediate neighbors. This is because they will be trying to avoid contentions. People’s experiences do differ though as some go on to have the best neighbors. One of the most contentious aspects of properties neighboring each other is property lines. Sometimes disputes can stem from someone claiming their neighbor is encroaching on to their property. One interesting issue is that of fencing. Today let us look at how to handle a situation where a neighbor will not pay half of fence in Texas.
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Understand What The Law Says About Fences In Texas
According to the applicable law in Texas, it is not mandatory for a neighbor to pay half of the fence. When it comes to the boundary fence, neighbors do not necessarily have to share the costs of fencing. Your neighbor is not legally required to pay half of the fence. In a way we can say there is no law in Texas that explicitly governs the sharing of costs for boundary fences. This means issues pertaining to boundary fences and neighbors are mostly subject to the neighbors.
Do bear in mind that there can be stipulations on features and dimensions of the fences. In certain counties or residential areas there can be ordinances regarding that. Check with local authorities of your location to get more details. Thus it is important to be abreast with any such ordinances. What then do you do when your neighbor will not pay half of the fence in Texas?
Engage The Neighbor To See What Their Position Is
When your property borders with another fencing can be tricky. This is because if you erect a fence it will simultaneously benefit the neighbor. Yet at the same time they are not legally required to pay anything towards it. That is unfair because they can benefit from something they did not pay for. Thus it all boils down to you engaging them to see their position. Are they willing to contribute something towards the fence?
If they are reasonable enough they will commit to contribute something. If they are not, they might just come up with some excuse to not pay anything. In some cases it is possible they might not have the capacity to contribute something. At the end of the day you need to approach them with the possibility that they might not contribute anything. Regardless, that should always be the starting point, find out what their position is. What then if the neighbor will not pay half of the fence?
Way Forward If The Neighbor Refuses To Pay Half Fence
You will just have to go ahead and erect the fence. You cannot force or report the neighbor since they are not legally obligated. In Texas you do not even need the neighbor’s consent to erect the boundary fence. Yes it will unfairly benefit them but the primary reason for erecting it is for your property. At least you will enjoy sole power over the fence. Whenever you feel like doing anything to the fence, you will not be answerable to the neighbor.
Plus the neighbor will not have the right to even use it in any way without your consent. That is why a reasonable neighbor might want to consider sharing the cost. In a way it might be a blessing in disguise when the neighbor refuses to pay half of the fence. Having a shared responsibility can be much more contentious than you think. Possible disputes might be hard to settle so much that they may end up in court.
Be Sure About The Property Lines
When a neighbor refuses to pay half of the fence, be careful. That can be an indicator of a problematic neighbor. That is if their reasons for not paying are not genuine. This must prime you to carefully consider the property lines before erecting the fence. You must be absolutely sure the fence is along the exact property lines to avoid disputes later.
If you are not sure you can engage professionals e.g. a surveyor. They will help you accurately identify the property lines. If you erect the fence and it encroaches into the neighbor’s property, they can report you. This can result in the inconvenience of having to remove the fence and start afresh. When a neighbor refuses to pay half of the fence, be more vigilant about keeping to the exact the property lines.
Important Distinction Worth Noting
What we have discussed so far pertains to scenarios where there was no fence to begin with. Let us now discuss a scenario where neighbors have a boundary fence they found there already. There can only be shared responsibility if the fence was put up right on the property line. If not, the neighbor whose side the fence is on has the sole ownership of the fence. When there is a shared responsibility you need to be sure it is.
Then whenever there is something that needs to be done you discuss it with your neighbor first. For instance it might involve replacing the fence or getting it fixed. Otherwise if the fence was pre-existing on your side of the property line, you do not need their prior consent to do anything. Yes, you can talk to them to see if they are interested in sharing the costs but they will not be under obligation. You will own it and it will be your sole responsibility.
If you live in Texas and a neighbor will not pay half of the fence consider the circumstances first. Did the fence pre-exist you and the neighbor? If so, is it exactly on the property line? If so, the fence is a shared responsibility. If the neighbor refuses seek legal guidance. If it pre-existed and is on your side of the property line, it is your sole responsibility. Otherwise if you are thinking of erecting a boundary fence that was not there before, the neighbor is not obligated to pay half of the fence.