Both Neighbors Responsible for Common Fence
Question: My husband and I purchased a home in Prescott. Our backyard wood fence was very dilapidated and starting to fall down. Our neighbor refused to do anything. We have now paid to replace the dilapidated wood fence with a block wall. Does our neighbor have to share in the cost of this block wall?
Answer: The general rule is that both neighbors are responsible for the maintenance of a common fence. Therefore, if replacement of the dilapidated wood fence was required, your neighbor should pay to you one-half of the cost. Unless there was a reason, however, to replace the wood fence with the block fence, e.g., the soil had changed for the footings, you may have to pay for the additional cost of a block fence.
Related Question Regarding Commons Walls
Question: Our next door neighbor has damaged the cinder block wall between our homes by constantly soaking it with his lawn sprinklers. I am concerned that if and when I decide to sell my Peoria home, a buyer might say, “All right, I’ll take it, but only on condition that you repair the wall.” Is there any way to convince our neighbor to repair the damage to the wall now? Otherwise, the only possibility I see is to pay for the repair of the wall myself, and then get a judgment against our neighbor for the repair costs in Small Claims Court. Our neighbor would probably ignore this judgment. Any chance that a judge could order our neighbor to fix the wall?
Answer: The general rule on the maintenance of common walls between neighbors is that both neighbors have joint liability to maintain and repair the common wall. If one neighbor is solely responsible for the damage to the common wall, however, that neighbor has the sole obligation to pay for the repairs to the common wall. If that neighbor will not pay for the repairs, the other neighbor can make the repairs and sue for reimbursement for the cost of the repairs.
Note: A court will generally not order the neighbor to make the repairs as the reimbursement for the cost of repairs is sufficient.