Our neighbor home is being foreclosed on and auctioned off tomorrow morning at 10:00. During a bad storm our

Asked by Connie, Oakley, CA Wed Jul 16, 2008

whole side fence dividing our yards fell down. Will the new owner have to pay for the fence or atleast a portion to help us out?

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Dot Chance, Agent, Burbank, CA
Wed Jul 16, 2008
Hi, Connie:

About 5 years ago our fence blew down during a storm. Our neighbors filed an insurance claim and so did we - each for half of the fence. With our deductible we still had out of pocket expenses.

Hopefully, you will get a good neighbor who will want to split the cost of the fence with you. I cannot give legal advice because I am a Realtor - not an attorney - but you may want to consult a real estate attorney to find out if the new owner will have any legal obligation - my guess is that they will not be legally bound.

Good luck!
Web Reference:  http://www.DotChance.com
1 vote
Marston Myers, , Brandon, FL
Wed Jul 16, 2008
While in Fairfax, VA the fences may be "undoubtedly was on the property of either you or your neighbor" in California it is quite common for the fence to be directly on the property line and both neighbors legally own the fence as "shared". This is especially common in newer subdivisions.

I have had clients and known of others that either want to repair or esthetically upgrade the fence and the neighbor refuses to participate. In this case the party wanting the fence (say vinyl vs. wood) simply installs a brand new fence to the height limit (thereby obscuring the old fence) just a couple of inches inside his own property line.

This may be, however, one case in which the old adage about good fences make good neighbors does NOT apply. However it is a solutuion to the problem.

Also check with your property insurance people (and have your neighbors check his) to see if the insurance companies will participate.

Before doing anything other than replacing the fence as a joint venture, check with your attorney, local building permit office and Association if CCR's apply to your property.

Best of luck.
1 vote
The Hagley G…, Agent, Pleasanton, CA
Thu Jul 17, 2008
This will most likely end up a bank owned home. I would wait to repair it until the home goes on the market. Contact the listing agent...who can contact the bank.....for repair info.
Web Reference:  http://www.cindihagley.com
0 votes
The Hagley G…, Agent, Pleasanton, CA
Wed Jul 16, 2008
Another thought to add to Don's thoughts....

Your attorney could place a lien on the home (if you can prove the fence is joint responsibility) and there is a chance you may get some reimbursement after it sells.

Better yet....contact the listing agent when the home comes on the market as a bank owned home.....ask them to coordinate the repair with the bank.
Web Reference:  http://www.cindihagley.com
0 votes
Katie Cotter, Agent, Seal Beach, CA
Wed Jul 16, 2008
Dear Connie:

I live in California where common fences are prevelant in my area of Long Beach, Lakewood, etc. I have two myself. One with my side neighbor and one with my back neighbor.

I try to always start with the "best case" scenario. It is highly likely that the new owner will be just as upset as you are about not having a fence...

Depending on who buys the house -- you could find that the neighbor will be "delighted" that you're willing to pay for half!

In my case-- with my own fence-- I had one neighbor who wanted an extremely EXPENSIVE fence and one neighbor who was willing to go with something reasonable.

(And then, there was me, who wanted something CHEAP).

We worked it all out. We each got estimates.

We all compromised and went with "reasonable" because that was a good compromise -- and we each paid the contractor individually, so no one had to worry about collecting from the other neighbor. The contractor took checks from us independently and didn't start until they cleared.

Good luck...sorry about the mishap.
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NonRealtor, , 23456
Wed Jul 16, 2008
Get out your hammer and nails and fix the fence.
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Don Tepper, Agent, Burke, VA
Wed Jul 16, 2008
I'm not a lawyer, so this isn't legal advice. However....

The first question is: Who is the owner of the fence? Although it divided your yards, it undoubtedly was on the property of either you or your neighbor. If it was on your property, it's clearly your responsibility.

If the fence was on your neighbor's property, then the decision is up to the new owners. First, is there some community ordinance or regulation requiring the fence? If so, then the new owners would be bound by the regulation. If there's no requirement that a fence be in place, then the new owners shouldn't have to be required to replace the fence.

Recognize, too, that at an auction a likely scenario (in today's market) is that it doesn't sell at it becomes bank-owned. Also possible is that an investor will purchase the property. Neither one is likely to be interested in sinking money into a new fence, if they don't have to. And if the fence is on your property, the odds of either a bank or an investor paying you to help repair your fence are quite unlikely.

If you feel very strongly on the matter, or if the facts are different than those I've guessed at, certainly consult a lawyer.

Good luck.
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