Privacy fences shield you, your family and your friends from the eyes of neighbors and passersby. They also prevent toddlers from straying. A fence is a structure of a certain height without a roof. It may be made of wood, metal, vinyl or another material. A retaining wall is also considered a fence. Sometimes a fence can be made of flowers, shrubs, trees, hedges and other growth.
If you’re replacing an existing fence with a new one of the same type, then you’re not likely to have any problems. If you’re building a new one, however, there are several considerations to take into account in order to stay on the good side of the law and your neighbor.
INQUIRE ABOUT FENCE LAWS
Contact your city’s codes department to find out what zoning laws, covenants, restrictions or conditions are in place for installing a fence. In Tennessee and many other states, fences in front yards may not exceed 4 feet in height while those in rear yards may not exceed 6 feet.
DISCOVER LEGAL DIMENSIONS AND BANNED MATERIALS
Some natural fences, ones made of wood, for example, are sometimes allowed to be 5 to 8 feet in height in Tennessee. The state only requires permits for fence construction if the property is in a historic district. Residential fences must do no harm, so ones that include barbed wire, razor wire and other dangerous materials are banned. If there is a homeowner’s association active in your area, make sure you’re in compliance with its rules about fences.
ORDER A SURVEY
Contact the Recorder of Deeds or like governmental body to see if a survey for your property exists. If it doesn’t, pay for one because you don’t want to erect a fence on your neighbor’s property.
TALK TO YOUR NEIGHBOR
Unless you and your neighbor have a written agreement about who will be responsible for the maintenance and repair of the fence, the cost is usually split between both neighbors. That’s because though one neighbor installs the fence, the other likely “uses” it. One definition of this benefit applies when one neighbor has occupancy or use of the land up to the fence.
It’s also a good idea to let your neighbor know what kind of privacy fence you intend to construct to see if they’re in agreement. A fence built on the boundary line between two properties is owned by the two neighbors. In Tennessee, if you want complete control of a fence, place it at least four feet from your property line.
BUILD A NUISANCE FENCE IF YOU WANT TROUBLE
Okay, some neighbors don’t get along, so one of them may erect a spite fence. It’s a construction that’s unattractive and usually in excess of the legal height. It doesn’t bring any discernible pleasure or use to the builder other than to annoy a neighbor. Such a fence may put the property owner who constructed it in a legal battle if the neighbor decides to take the matter to court.
CALL UTILITY COMPANY BEFORE BEGINNING
Don’t dig before contacting your local utility to make sure you will not hit any utility lines. In this state, make that call to the Tennessee One Call System.
Privacy fences are widely used. Rather than doing the hard work to erect one yourself, choose us. We do quality work, and we’ll make the effort to ensure that your fence is in compliance with local regulations.