When are the best times to take a spite fence to court?
Since the lands in Texas are so vast when compared to the rest of the nation, there are bound to be plenty of boundary dispute cases that can arise. Many of these arguments result in the owner of the fence retaliating against their neighbor for their bickering. Some feel that it is enough to keep the fence as it is, but some go the extra mile and make the fence even more unbearable for the property owner next door to look at.
These are called spite fences, as the property owner designed the fence purely to annoy their neighbors. If you feel that your neighbor’s motivation for making such an ugly or obstructing structure is obvious, you can take the case to court to try and have it removed. Before you do so, you should know that not all spite fence cases are easy victories. Sometimes the court may not see the fence as a nuisance or conclude that your neighbor isn’t breaking any laws. However, there are certain conditions of the fence that could end up swaying the case in your favor.
The fence is too tall
In Texas, the maximum height for the fence is four feet in the front yard and eight feet anywhere else. Certain cities within the state also have unique fence laws that their residents must follow. Austin has its own set of requirements for property owners that want to build a solid fence between six to eight feet and may require the homeowner ask for permission before constructing the boundaries. They do allow fences taller than eight feet if they are ornamental in design.
Look up your city’s guidelines to see if there are any unique restrictions to fence height. Otherwise, the state will ask property owners who purposefully built their fences taller than eight feet to trim it down.
While Texas does not require property owners to share in the costs of a neighbor’s fence, they do allow legally binding agreements between the neighbors if they both agree to maintain a portion of the fence. These are often made early to prevent both landowners from getting into a boundary dispute later on.
Unfortunately, sometimes all the do is delay the inevitable. However, because you are paying for part of this fence’s construction, you can enforce the agreement if your neighbor starts making the boundary look bad. When you make the agreement early on, make sure you have it done in writing, have both you and your neighbor sign it and provide them and yourself at least one copy of the agreement to remind both of you of the rules.
If you and your neighbor’s boundary disputes reach this point, contact a real estate attorney to see how well your arguments will hold up in the courtroom. Your property and outside view shouldn’t suffer from a squabble like this.