Recently, I was involved in a mediation which raised an important point about what to do when you are putting up a fence. I thought I would take a moment to spell out some basics so that you don’t end up with a mess ten years down the road.

The overarching point is spelled out by the name of this post. Forget lunge, parry, en gaard … what ever nonsense people with the long, skinny daggers might be about; when you put up a fence make it touch BUT NOT EXCEED the boundary line. It’s that simple.

Why? Because if you pull back from the boundary line, almost without fail 10 years down the line per Washington’s Statute RCW 4.16.020 which identifies the statute of limitations for real property, your neighbors will be able to claim the land as their own.

Think a few feet or inches isn’t worth it. Well, if you get in a fight down the line because of the problem you won’t want to attempt to fight through and lose $50,000 – $100,000 … would you. Most people will capitulate when faced with that prospect.

But, that little sliver of land might be very important to keep your property up to speed with respect to side yards and other zoning requirements which might serve to frustrate your ability to move forward with any type of permitting for sub-division or additional build of structures – existing or new – on your property.

Best practice? Go get a survey of your property.

Is that too expensive for you? Well, how do you get on with your neighbor? Could you go to them and indicate that you are intending to build a fence and that you would like them to sign a note of permission whereby they acknowledge that they are using your land?

That sounds kind of kookie doesn’t it? 

Well, the sad reality is that “you can not thrust permission onto your neighbor.” So, you better sally up to your neighbor and have them ink that permission slip. 

Now if you are going to all that trouble and you want to do it right so that you can also make sure that there isn’t problems with respect to an injury which might conveniently occur on your neighbor’s side of the fence, but that is still your land until your fence has weathered its first 10 years of existence, give me a call. 

I’ll get you a nice permission slip which gets the job done for $100 bucks … fair enough?justice-smiles-green.png