In Orange County, California, real estate is often limited. Many neighbors find themselves right up against each other, able to peek into their neighbor’s homes. As a result, boudaries (fences, walls, trellis’s) are a common solution. But who is to pay for this?

Recently, California Governor signed into law a bill intended “to clarify and modernize California’s almost 150 year old neighborhood fence statute, maintaining the state’s long tradition which holds that neighbors are presumed to gain mutual benefits from the construction and maintenance of a boundary fence between their properties, and as a result are generally equally responsible to contribute tot he construction and maintenance of their shared fencing.”

However, the new law acknowledges that “neighborhood fences are not always mutually beneficial, and that an adjoining landowner who clearly receives little or no benefit from a boundary fence should not be forced to subsidize an adjoining landowner’s fence construction.”  If the landowner intends to incur costs for the fence, he must give 30 days prior notice to each affected adjoining landowner, to which the neighbor can object.

Essentially, under the new law, there is “a rebuttable presumption that adjoining landowners share an equal benefit from any fence dividing their properties and, absent a written agreement to the contrary, are equally responsible for the reasonable costs for the fence, as specified.”

In other words, discuss your desire to add fencing with your neighbors and put that desire in writing. If your neighbor is requesting that you split the cost of adding a fence you do not want, bring up valid issues such as a potentially disproportionate financial burden, the reasonableness of the fence, and any other equitable factors appropriate to the circumstances.

For more assistance with all of your real estate needs, contact OC realtor Cheryl Marquis today.