The dividing fence can divide relationships with neighbors, too, if people aren’t careful how they approach the subject. If you’re looking at replacing a dividing fence, it’s best to start with some consultation with your neighbors before you make any commitments. The best first move is to talk to your local fencing contractors and make sure you’ve got all the facts, prices, and options ready to show the neighbor.
Typical situations for dividing fences include a range of situations which need some diplomacy and management:
- The broken down old fence: Everyone will agree this type of fence needs either repair or replacement. The problem is that costs can be either irritating or embarrassing for neighbors.
- The designer fence issue: Some people, naturally, want fences that match their homes. That doesn’t mean the neighbors want to pay for it. The usual format for paying for fencing is a 50- 50 split on costs. That can run to big money.
- Security fencing: Another sticky subject is security fencing. The neighbors may not see the need for a security fence, and the higher prices for security fencing are a potential issue as well.
- Renovations and fencing: A property makeover will often include a new fence. That’s a natural development of the renovation process, and the new fence also adds value to the property. The cost, again, is likely to be a problem with the neighbors, but design is another possible situation requiring management.
As you can see, these are potentially pretty difficult situations. To keep things on a friendly basis, you need to both see the neighbor’s perspective. You also need to find a good working proposition to cover their needs as well:
- The broken down old fence: If you’re aware of any situations which may embarrass or upset the neighbor on this very obviously necessary work, don’t just hit them with a cost. Ask them how they think the problem should be handled. This means they can voluntarily tell you what they’re prepared to do, which will quantify the cost issue and any other concerns they have.
- The designer fence issue: Because of the cost and design issues, diplomacy is the main requirement in this case. Tell the neighbor the situation, and explain that you’re looking for some ideas from them, because of the boundary situation. This makes it clear you’re asking them for advice, so the issue becomes instantly less abrasive. Please also note that the neighbor may have very good ideas about how to get the job done for less, so pay attention to suggestions.
- Security fencing: The neighbor’s views on security fencing may not be obvious. Some people are quite happy to add some security to their property, and the opportunity to share the costs is welcome.
- Renovations and fencing: Before you even start renovations, talk to the neighbors and explain you’re trying to figure out the fencing situation. Renovations can blow out costs, and a neighbor who’s onside and happy to contribute to the fencing can be very helpful.
Important: Also remember that your local fencing contractors will have had experience in these issues. They’ll be able to suggest some good cost and design options.