Avoid Border Wars with Neighbors

11/6/2008 Consumer Watch This fence could've sparked a border war between Heather Feldman and her neighbor. "The older couple who had allowed us to put up the fence without making us do a survey then needed to move the fence in order for them to make a deal on their house."

Heather hadn't realized the fence was on the neighbor's property. She readily agreed to move it at the cost of about 12-hundred dollars. Fences are one of the many flash points that can lead to feuding neighbors.

Dan Diclerico, Consumer Reports, says "If you're not sure where your property line is, check your deed or call your local surveyor. If it turns out your neighbor is trying to build a fence on your land, you need to get a court injunction fast to halt the building."

Another leading cause of border wars is you guessed. It's noise. "Most communities have laws prohibiting unreasonable noise. So always check state and local laws first before confronting a noisy neighbor," says Diclerico.

Towering trees can also turn into neighborhood trouble. If you have a big tree with branches hanging over your neighbor's yard, it's a good idea to trim those branches back. If a branch falls onto your neighbor's property, you could be held responsible for any damages.

Consumer Reports says no matter what triggers a dispute, think twice before getting embroiled in a border war. "W=e had to move the fence, regardless of whether legally we had to move the fence because it's always important to do the right thing by your neighbors," says Feldman.

Consumer reports says whatever problem arises with your neighbor, the last place you want to end up is in court. If you're not able to talk through the problem with your neighbor, there may be mediators in the area. They're often volunteers. To find one near you, go to the National Association for Community Mediation's website at www.nafcm.org. Or find a private mediator by checking www.mediate.com


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