Why fences don't always make good neighbors - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Why fences don't always make good neighbors

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It's been said that "fences make good neighbors," but what happens when your neighbor tears down your fence?

These clashes happen more often than you think, and they can come to nasty conclusions.

Attorney Scott Fisher has been involved in many property lawsuits. He says in order to prevent a small skirmish like a fence dispute from becoming an all-out war, you must remain civil.

"These incidents, when they escalate, are random. We just don't know what triggers individuals to react in such a violent way," says Fisher. "I think that people get very emotional about these neighborhood issues, because they perhaps rightfully feel in their minds that their home is their castle, and they want to be comfortable in their homes."

Delia Cirino has been waiting for her next door neighbor to live up to a promise he made three years ago.

"He promised to take down the chain link fence when he put up the wall," says Delia. "It is still there. And not only that, he put up an extra fence behind it. There are now three fences between me and there, and I am just a little old lady!"

Mike Sioss' next door neighbor is remodeling and decided to tear down her fence and his fence, too … without asking.

"We come back on Saturday and find out they're in our yard without our permission. They've already torn down half the fence," says Mike.

Mike says he thought about calling the police, but chose to write a letter to his neighbor instead.

"We composed this letter basically saying, 'You do not tear down any more of the fence; you just leave it alone,'" says Mike.

Even so, Mike's neighbor proceeded to destroy the rest of his fence.

"Here's an instance where Mike is faced with a neighbor who is not cooperative, is not considerate, is not engaging with Mike in advance of this fence construction project," say Fisher.

Unfortunately the damage was done, and now Mike will have to pay to have a new fence built or sue his neighbor for those construction costs.

Before a situation escalates into property destruction, or even physical altercations, Fisher suggests trying to work things out peaceably.

"I think that it's important to have an element of compromise in mind both on your side and hopefully the neighbor's side so that you can reach a solution that's workable, livable. I think the key is to understand that you have to live next door to this neighbor," explains Fisher.

Fisher says that by far, the best way to avoid these type of disputes is to make it a point to really get to know your neighbors so you're more inclined to resolve any issues that may come between you.

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