Who Is Responsible for Fence Damage?
Understanding How Circumstances Determine Liability
Fences play an important role in providing privacy and security for homeowners. However, they can also be sources of disputes between neighbors when they get damaged. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at who is responsible for fence damage.
Property Owners and Their Responsibility
First, it’s important to understand that fence ownership doesn’t necessarily dictate responsibility for repairs. Depending on the circumstances, different people can be held liable for damage to the fence.
Typically, the responsibility for fence repair and maintenance falls on the property owner whose property the fence sits on. If a fence is on the boundary line between two properties, both parties may be responsible for repairing and maintaining the fence. If a homeowner installs a fence along their property line to enclose it, and their neighbor builds off that fence to enclose their property as well, both parties would be responsible for repairs. Be aware that if a property owner belongs to a homeowner’s association, the HOA agreement typically includes a clause regarding fence repair; the expense to repair or replace a damaged fence might be covered.
Incidental damage can be another factor in determining responsibility for fence repair. For example, a storm might knock over a tree branch and cause it to fall on a fence. In most cases, whether the tree is located on the homeowner’s property or the neighbor’s, the property owner is responsible for the repairs. Homeowners should check their insurance policy to see if the expense is covered. In a different example of incidental damage, if a neighboring dog chews through a fence or digs under it, the owner of the dog would be responsible for repairing the fence.
Damage Caused by a Third Party
Sometimes a third party can be held responsible for fence damage. For example, if a neighbor hires a landscaping company and the company damages the fence during their work, the neighbor who hired the company could be liable for the repairs.
Check Your Insurance
Most importantly, you should be aware of what your homeowner’s insurance covers in case of fence damage. Communicate with your neighbors to ensure there is a clear understanding of expectations around fence repair and maintenance. If your fence is damaged, check with your insurance company for confirmation on which party is responsible for repairs.
The responsibility for fence damage ultimately depends on the circumstances surrounding the damage. In general, a property owner is responsible for repairing and maintaining the fence on their property. However, incidental damage or damage caused by a third party may shift the responsibility to a different party.
AVO Fence & Supply proudly serves the fence industry and homeowners across New England. Contact us for more information about our company, its products, and how we can serve you.