Mending Fences

Posted By on June 18, 2019

Orangecrest Country is nearing 20 years old, which means many wooden fences between homes are likely in urgent need of replacement, especially if they haven’t been replaced yet. But whose responsibility is that fence between your homes, and what if your next door neighbor doesn’t want to chip in?

California anticipated this problem and the Legislature has you covered.  (This IS California, after all, and we have laws for everything!)  California Civil Code 841, also known as the Good Neighbor Fence Act of 2013, requires that “adjoining landowners shall share equally in the responsibility for maintaining the boundaries and monuments between them.”  Fence maintenance between neighbors is not optional.  The statute goes on to say, “Adjoining landowners are presumed to share an equal benefit from any fence dividing their properties and, unless otherwise agreed to by the parties in a written agreement, shall be presumed to be equally responsible for the reasonable costs of construction, maintenance, or necessary replacement of the fence.”  For more details, you may want to check out this article at SFGate.com.

Orangecrest Country also has a process, should your neighbor proof uncooperative.   The Neighbor-to-Neighbor dispute policy states, “When a dispute or complaint is brought to the Board regarding interpretation of rights under, or enforcement of, the Governing Documents, the Board shall, at its next scheduled meeting, discuss the complaint or dispute and make a reasonable business judgment decision as to whether or not it constitutes a Neighbor-to-Neighbor Dispute.”   The policy goes on to state that if it is determined to be a Neighbor-to-Neighbor Dispute, the parties will be required to use their best efforts to submit their dispute to ADR.   One resource for Alternative Dispute Resolution is the Community Action Partnership in Riverside:  https://www.capriverside.org.   Their fee is just $25 per party.    If the opposing party is uncooperative and will not attend ADR after reasonable attempts to schedule, this then should be reported back to the Board and they will consider additional action.