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My neighbors and vinyl vs wood fencing

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
So, I like my neighbors. They are nice, friendly, good neighbors. They found my cat when she escaped and are the type you can go borrow a tool from or ask for help with something and they'd lend a hand. I do not want to alienate them.

Our fence we share is in reasonable condition. I've only lived here since May, but the previous homeowners did not keep things up at all. The fence certainly needs painted on my side (I'm doing that a bit at a time. With kids it's kind of hard keeping them out of the paint!) and there are a few repairs we should probably get done on a couple places... just loose boards here and there. But not a lot and it doesn't look bad and it's certainly still in proper working order.

I didn't even know they were considering new fencing until my neighbor and I were chatting yesterday and she mentioned us maybe needing to talk about it. EEK! I don't have the money for new fencing right now. Our house was a foreclosure and there is TONS I've done and am continuing to do to the house. But anyway, she started mentioning vinyl fencing. I LOATHE vinyl. I don't like vinyl siding at all. The mere thought of vinyl fencing makes me want to shudder.

I love that I can paint my wood fence whatever color (so long as our hoa allows it) I like. I love the feel of the wood when I open my fence. I love the LOOK.

Honestly, I don't want to replace the fence in the first place. I'd happily split the cost of any repairs needed to it (which wouldn't be a lot). I get that it is an older fence, but it still looks very nice, and our hoa doesn't have a problem with it and they are very picky about things.

How do I tactfully say I don't want a new fence and bring up repair costs? How do I nicely put my foot down about vinyl fencing? I do not want to alienate these neighbors, but I also can not afford to put up a new fence at this time- and I have NO desire to! And part of the reason I bought a home was so I could decide these kinds of things and not someone else.

So help, please! (And I hope this is the right place for this post.)
post #2 of 13
I'm confused... You own your own home? I'm assuming you own the property too. Who's property is the fence on?
post #3 of 13
Originally Posted by luvmybaby333 View Post
I'm confused... You own your own home? I'm assuming you own the property too. Who's property is the fence on?
Me, too. If it's on their property, unfortunately, it's their call.
post #4 of 13
Yeah, my understanding is that a fence has to be on one property or the other. In our community, if the fence is on your property, it can't be right on the line, and you are responsible for both sides of the fence - painting, mowing, repairs, etc.

If it's your fence, you decide. If it's their fence, they decide - and you can put up a wood fence on your side so you don't have to look at the vinyl (when you have the time/money).

If it somehow belongs to both of you, you'll have to work it out somehow - of course you want to maintain good neighborly relations, but so do they (I hope).

I appreciate your preference for wood, but a vinyl fence isn't the end of the world.
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
I never even thought about that! I'm really not sure. The fence connects to both of our front fences on our homes. I'll have to look into it more.

ETA: I took a closer look at the fence on both sides of my home and I'm pretty sure it's the boundary line and a shared fence.
post #6 of 13
That is really weird, I don't think I have EVER seen a shared fence like what you're describing. SOMEONE owns it, it is on someone's property. You might need to hire a surveyor to figure it out.
post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
Alright, I looked into it a bit more. I guess shared fences are actually common in this area. When our neighborhood was built they (the developers) had the fences built on the property lines. The fence itself is connected to a wrought iron fence that spans everyone's back yards. It's owned by the HOA. The wrought iron fence has cement sections the homeowner's fences are built into. That is the set up we have. And each neighbor owns 1/2 of the fence that is on their yard, and they are then responsible for 1/2 of the maintenance costs and such.

I suppose if my neighbor brings it up I'll just suggest we see how much repairs would be, and then split that 50/50.
post #8 of 13
I know you aren't super thrilled about it now, but Vinyl fencing has a much longer life span, doesn't look like the vinyl siding you're thinking of, and you can get special paint and do your side if you want.

Dh and I looked into it, and we were all for it. We like solid fences/walls, though.
post #9 of 13
I "share" my fence with each neighbour (each side and then the back), even though the fence technically belongs to whoever's property it's on. It's just how it's done around here. Maybe it's a Canadian thing? I've lived in many places, all in Canada, and I've always share repair/replacement cost, even when the fence is not on my property. I've also ended up with three difference fences in my backyard. LOL. One kind of wood in back, a different kind on one side and chain-link on the other side. Someday I'll manage to coordinate everyone into one kid of fence, but it's not bugging me too much at this point. It's somewhat amusing.

I would be honest with the neighbour and I'm sure they would understand, that you are only willing/able to repair the fence at this point in time. If they insist on replacing it, insist that you can only afford your half of the repairs and cannot contribute more than that amount towards a new fence. Make it very clear that you are not adverse to repairs, only to replacing. Be honest, I'm sure they'll appreciate that. Then the ball will be in their court to decide whether they want to foot the majority of the bill for replacing the existing fence.
post #10 of 13
In our neighborhood both neighbors have to sign a form to install a new fence. If one party doesn't sign...no fence.
I would simply tell the neighbors that you don't have it in the budget right now and don't expect to for some time. Suggest the repairs instead. Most people are pretty understanding about financial priorities.
post #11 of 13
Our fence is on the property line, maybe just a but in, and it's clearly our fence and our responsibility. The neighbors could get away with putting up fewer walls if they decide they want a fence or they could be crazy and run their own right along ours.

Check your zoning too. Vinyl is illegal here. So is chain-link. It's wood or nothing.
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post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone. I'll just suggest repairs if it's mentioned again and I do think they'll be pretty understanding. And I would be willing to consider new fencing next fall, so if they aren't thrilled about the repairs idea (though the last people who owned my home didn't keep things up at all, so I'm pretty sure they'll be happy with repairs for now at least) I'll mention that I'm open to new fencing at a later date, once I have gotten some other home projects out of the way.

Thanks again.
post #13 of 13
We have shared fencing too. Most homeowners just make agreements with their neighbors when fence repairs are needed. Repairs sound like the way to go for now.
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