Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Getting a neighbor to help pay for a replacement fence
Old 08-22-2015, 12:02 PM   #1
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 82
Getting a neighbor to help pay for a replacement fence

Looking for some unofficial legal advise or words of wisdom! I live in a typical subdivision here in California and based on how our lots are staggered, our "Good Neighbor Fence" boarders 5 properties including myself.

We need to replace our entire fence because of age and luckily California has a law (section 841 of the Civil Code) that forces neighbors to pay the share of fence repair/replacement as long as I give 30 days notice to have the work done.

I'm working to get these 4 other property owners to buy into this replacement (the fence is falling down) before winter storms but one neighbor refuses to answer his door or letters sent in the mail regarding it.

Yesterday I sent another letter saying that I was officially enacting this California fence law and that he has 30 notice. This letter was sent both certified and first class which I hear is legally required by law. I'm guessing he won't sign for the certified letter though. Yes, he's a nut job.

Assuming he doesn't contact me, I assume I'll have to take this guy to Small Claims Court in order to collect. But I guess my questions are, what happens if I have him subpoenaed and he doesn't except it (even by a deputy) or refuses to show up in small claims court? The other question is if the judge agree's with my side (which he will based on everything I know about it) how do I force this guy to actually pay me?

Anyone ever had to deal with this type of thing?
__________________

__________________
Drake3287 is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 08-22-2015, 12:08 PM   #2
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Houston
Posts: 1,435
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drake3287 View Post
how do I force this guy to actually pay me?
That's the sticky wicket right there. Assuming he totally ignores the court and you get a default judgement, looks like you could put a lien on his house, which might not pay you back until the house is sold.

https://oag.ca.gov/consumers/general/small
__________________

__________________
soupcxan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2015, 12:29 PM   #3
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Lakewood90712's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 1,316
Ok say you replace the fence, try to collect 1/2 from the neighbor and end up in court. First, prove it is a party wall on the p/l , then prove that it needed to be replaced. I can think of a whole lot more things to torpedo your lawsuit.

So the neighbor is now ticked too, so he/she decides to counter in court, and does so in superior court, and includes a dubious claim of intentional inflection of emotional distress, say for 50k, you are no longer in small claims now you need an atty , and need to spend real money, and you may loose ! I have seen this tactic many times !

Before discarding my view, I was a city government official in CA for 13 years and saw exactly this kind of thing many times.

I have seen lawsuits over property line encroachment of a tree root ball by 3/4 of an inch. !!

If you want to replace the wall/fence and the neighbor doesn't want to share the cost , build a new one entirely on your side and move on. Unless you have C,C, and R's for this in your subdivision , you are opening up a can of worms.

Just my semi-informed opinion. I am not a CA lic Atty, but make money in retirement consulting with defense atty's on issues like this.
__________________
“The finance industry is 5% rational people and 95% shamans and faith healers.” - Charlie Munger
Lakewood90712 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2015, 12:34 PM   #4
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Pasadena CA
Posts: 2,695
I'm in CA, had a neighbor on one side and the fence was going, probably their fence originally many, any years ago, based on the backside facing us. Did not have a contact for the owner, she was renting to another family member who did not respond to a note, letter or certified letter. So We just replaced it ourselves and ate the money, nice new fence good side facing us. Not worth forcing a neighbor to do anything they didn't want and I was the one on whose side it was falling. Was worth every penny to do it our way.
__________________
T.S. Eliot:
Old men ought to be explorers
yakers is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2015, 01:46 PM   #5
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
pb4uski's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Vermont & Sarasota, FL
Posts: 16,461
It sounds like the most practical thing to do is to proceed with the knowledge that you may need to eat that neighbor's share of the cost of the replacement fence. You can decide later how hard you want to chase them for reimbursement.

If you were able to get a judgement against him, I wonder if the result would be the judge might garnish his wages or seize his bank account or if your only remedy would be to place a lien on his home.

I guess what Lakewood said is possible but it seems unlikely that if he is unwilling to fess up for his share of the cost of the fence that he would ante up the money necessary to sue you and I doubt that any lawyer would take his case on contingency.
__________________
If something cannot endure laughter.... it cannot endure.
Patience is the art of concealing your impatience.
Slow and steady wins the race.
pb4uski is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2015, 01:50 PM   #6
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 82
I think at this point it's more the principle then the money, I can eat the cost of his share of the fence but it's just the point that he won't even answer his front door or my letters. If he actually just told me he was sorry but couldn't afford it, I'd say thank you and be done with it.

As for the fence itself, it's the original Redwood Good Neighbor Fence that was installed in 1986 and is now worn, rotten and falling down. Plenty of pictures to support my case although age alone should be enough for any judge.

Another "what if" question is, if I decide to just pay for it myself, can he stop the process of the contractor doing the work altogether? Having to build a fence behind an existing fence would look ugly in this situation.

Why can't people just have common sense? It's like someone buying a car and never expecting to replace the tires. Crazy.
__________________
Drake3287 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2015, 02:04 PM   #7
Moderator
Walt34's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Eastern WV Panhandle
Posts: 16,571
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drake3287 View Post
Why can't people just have common sense?
Hey, be careful there! If too many people did that I likely wouldn't have had a job and wouldn't have been able to retire.

I know nothing of California law but just from what I learned about people in ~30 years in law enforcement I'd say you're on the verge of engaging in an exercise in futility and frustration.
__________________
I heard the call to do nothing. So I answered it.
Walt34 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2015, 02:07 PM   #8
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 1,318
Quote:
Originally Posted by yakers View Post
I'm in CA, had a neighbor on one side and the fence was going, probably their fence originally many, any years ago, based on the backside facing us. Did not have a contact for the owner, she was renting to another family member who did not respond to a note, letter or certified letter. So We just replaced it ourselves and ate the money, nice new fence good side facing us. Not worth forcing a neighbor to do anything they didn't want and I was the one on whose side it was falling. Was worth every penny to do it our way.
In our area the good side of the fence has to face out and the back side is what the homeowner sees.
__________________
splitwdw is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2015, 02:08 PM   #9
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
pb4uski's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Vermont & Sarasota, FL
Posts: 16,461
You could put the fence slightly inside your line and prepaint the side that faces him some really ugly color... I vote for hot pink. he may not see it right away but eventually the 1986 fence will fall and then he'll get to enjoy it.
__________________
If something cannot endure laughter.... it cannot endure.
Patience is the art of concealing your impatience.
Slow and steady wins the race.
pb4uski is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2015, 02:11 PM   #10
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
MooreBonds's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: St. Louis
Posts: 2,091
A little perspective...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drake3287 View Post
Why can't people just have common sense? It's like someone your neighbor buying a car and never expecting you to replace the tires. Crazy.
I've never heard of such a 'fence replacement law'. There's a chance your neighbor has never heard of it, either.

If a simple statement of "sorry, I don't have the money" would instantly make you rein in the attack dogs and forget about it, it sounds kind of odd that you have this completely opposite hell-bent vendetta for them, just on the basis of them not replying to your previous letter and apparently not answering the door when you knocked.
__________________
Dryer sheets Schmyer sheets
MooreBonds is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2015, 02:11 PM   #11
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Lakewood90712's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 1,316
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drake3287 View Post
I think at this point it's more the principle then the money snip.................Why can't people just have common sense? snip.....
"People" and "common sense" usually don't belong in the same sentence

" The Principle ?" life is very short I sure with I didn't waste so much of my life on "being right" over the years. You get one life, and only so many good years before deterioration of body and mind creeps in. No Do overs . Think about it , and enjoy the weekend.
__________________
Lakewood90712 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2015, 02:12 PM   #12
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 13,288
If you are getting the vast majority of the linear feet paid for already, just eat the cost... no principal is worth getting in a fight with a neighbor for small dollars..

As the previous poster who was in city gvmt said, you could be poking the bear and be the one that gets maimed...
__________________
Texas Proud is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2015, 02:18 PM   #13
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
DFW_M5's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 4,982
Make sure you have pictures and an independent viewpoint that supports the fence needing replacement. I went thru this in an HOA neighborhood several years ago with a neighbor on one side of me, after our fence blew down. He refused to pay, and the HOA wouldn't take action to force him although it was in the CCRs. I ended up eating it instead of going the small claims court route.
__________________
Doing things today that others won't, to do things tomorrow that others can't. Of course I'm referring to workouts, not robbing banks.
DFW_M5 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2015, 02:27 PM   #14
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 511
I went through something like this 10 or so years ago - falling down 25 year old fence shared with 4 neighbors. 3 were varying levels of cooperative and one a bit grumbly. All eventually recognized that I was doing them a favor by handling the logistics and eventually paid me their share (1/2 total cost x shared fence length / total fence length). In my case total cost was under $2K so each neighbor's share was only a few 100 bucks.

As I said, they were all eventually cooperative, but had they not been I would have eaten the cost. A few hundred bucks is not worth having a permanent feud with a next door neighbor.

That said, if I were the OP before giving up I'd determine when the neighbor comes and goes and just arrange to step outside and say "hi neighbor" the next time they're there. They may just be hoping you go away, but be willing to listen if you physically corner them like that. Worth a try (assuming they don't have a concealed carry permit).
__________________
stepford is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2015, 02:33 PM   #15
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
target2019's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 3,709
Whose fence is it really?
Here, if I put up a fence the good side must face out. I actually had to ask the association president to flip his new fence sections as they were out of code. But, he said, the installers told my wife it would look better this way.

In CA I think things are somewhat different. Here, if you put up a fence it is yours, and you pay for it.
__________________
target2019 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2015, 02:57 PM   #16
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
mickeyd's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: South Texas~29N/98W
Posts: 5,884
Not in Cali but...my fence is on my property. I asked my 2 neighbors if they wished to pay for 1/2 of their part. I had the fence replaced, paid for it, and advised each what their part was. I had a check from each neighbor the next day.

No need for a special law. Easy peesy.
__________________
Part-Owner of Texas

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. Groucho Marx

In dire need of: faster horses, younger woman, older whiskey, more money.
mickeyd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2015, 03:18 PM   #17
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
youbet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Chicago
Posts: 9,965
Quote:
Originally Posted by mickeyd View Post
Not in Cali but...my fence is on my property. I asked my 2 neighbors if they wished to pay for 1/2 of their part. I had the fence replaced, paid for it, and advised each what their part was. I had a check from each neighbor the next day.

No need for a special law. Easy peesy.
The idea of shared fence ownership as described by OP is strange, at least to me living in Illinois. Here, you put a fence on your own property, pay for it 100% and do with it as you wish.

With your fence mickeyd, if the neighbors wanted to paint their side a different color, hang planters on it or whatever, is it their right to do so because they paid for that part? If a child was hurt climbing over the fence, would the parents sue you as total owner or would your neighbors be involved since they are part owners?

Very confusing......
__________________
"I wasn't born blue blood. I was born blue-collar." John Wort Hannam
youbet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2015, 03:24 PM   #18
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 1,649
Drake3287 Not sure what is available thru your city or county but I had and have a similar situation. I'm not in an HOA neighborhood but am in a neighborhood governed by building and improvement codes, etc. with my city. 24ish years ago my neighbors built a small portion of a fence to backstop a flower garden, the next neighbors finished it all around the property line. Rather than build my fence on the mutual side, I mimicked the pattern (although taller) so it would look somewhat uniform. A hurricane and a tree later, his part of the fence is leaning into my property and looks unsightly. Thank goodness it is in the far corner. Yes I have planted a couple of trees over there.

The owner lives in Texas and I am here in Va. He rents the house. I called the city and the building inspector said he could cite him, which he did. Nothing has been accomplished but that is not my point. At least it is documented. If you have some entity that can come and inspect it from the city or county you would least have some documentation for justification, which might protect you later, If you think that might be a concern. Whatever the entity, get them to inspect it, look at it and perhaps cite "all the owners" including yourself.

I gave up…and am contemplating tying into my fence and running a new one down the mutual side …except….when his falls down…it will damage mine. So, I might try one more time to get this neighbor to fix his fence. I also might pay to have someone "fix his as it might be cheaper. Problem is "it is HIS fence" and would require me to be on HIS property with him living in another state.
__________________
sheehs1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2015, 03:35 PM   #19
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
youbet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Chicago
Posts: 9,965
Quote:
Originally Posted by sheehs1 View Post
I might try one more time to get this neighbor to fix his fence. I also might pay to have someone "fix his as it might be cheaper. Problem is "it is HIS fence" and would require me to be on HIS property with him living in another state.
Just ask him if it's OK if you have his fence professionally repaired at your own expense. He'll likely agree.

Or, tell him you're having a fence installed on your side of the property line and does he wish for his own fence, in need of repair, to be removed at the same time yours is installed.

If your request for him to repair his fence resulted in him just removing it, would that be OK? Or, do you want a fence there and after his is gone you'd put one of your own up?
__________________
"I wasn't born blue blood. I was born blue-collar." John Wort Hannam
youbet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2015, 04:34 PM   #20
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
grasshopper's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 1,671
If you think this is weird move to an open range area and try to fence the cattle out.
__________________

__________________
For me experiences are not good or bad, just different
grasshopper is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
There goes the deductible - Getting a hip replacement Sue J Health and Early Retirement 15 06-20-2014 12:11 PM
Wood fence post replacement Lakewood90712 Other topics 6 11-25-2012 08:48 PM
Help Me Get Off the Fence Amethyst FIRE and Money 30 02-11-2011 10:39 AM
Need Help: Neighbor Dog Problem TromboneAl Other topics 46 07-22-2010 12:30 PM
Neighbor's Fence Issue tgotch Other topics 20 11-15-2009 09:57 AM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:46 AM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.