What should you do as a property owner if the fence between your neighbor’s property is damaged? In 2014, the California Civil Code set guidelines for shared fences. If you decide to build a new fence without telling your neighbor, you cannot automatically expect them to pay for it. According to Code 654.1422, you must provide a written notification of the repair plans to the other involved party at least 30 days before any reconstruction takes place. This should include:
- An explanation of what needs to be done;
- A substantial justification of why it needs to happen;
- A detailed analysis of the neighbor’s expected responsibility, including measurements and costs as needed;
- The total anticipated cost of the replacement, with written documentation;
- The dollar amount that each party will pay; and
- The anticipated start date of the project (which should be at least 30 days from the date that the letter is delivered).
If the fence is down, a temporary solution may be necessary for those 30 days to maintain the safety of your property. However, when installing a permanent solution for the damaged fence, the Civil Code must be obeyed in order for the neighbor to help with payment.