Neighbors can be a fantastic addition to your homeowner experience OR they can be a nightmare. What can you do if the latter is the case and they are making your life miserable? One of the most common situations that occurs that should be an easy resolution through courtesy and communication is having a fence directly on the lot line. What happens if your neighbor decides to replace the fence without your consideration (dogs, landscaping, privacy etc.)? Do you have any recourse if it’s their fence even if it is on the lot line. Odds are, yes you do.

Step One: Check with your city or municipal bylaws and codes. Do your research. A local surveying company would know the bylaws very well. Once you know the laws are on your side, contact the city inspector. Typically they will send someone out to ensure the homeowner or his contractor follow the codes. That will probably annoy the heck out of your neighbor but you’re already in conflict and by dealing with it this way, you’re remaining calm and law abiding which if it ever escalates to a lawsuit will work in your favor. Document every call, conversation, text, email, photos etc. just in case you do end up in court.

The law and building codes may be on your side so, again, do your research and if they are, then respectfully contact the city inspector to assist you with the issue. Whether it’s a fence, tree branches, driveways, etc…..take the time to research the facts and remedies so you don’t lose out for lack of knowledge.

During the process remain respectful of your neighbor as well. This may be the most difficult part of the challenge but perhaps by doing so, in the future, this may be something you’ll both look back on as a learning experience and choose to move forward with a friendlier…more neighborly relationship. If not, at least you know that you have resources for remedy.