"Good fences make good neighbors" is how the old adage goes. Many residents of Tennessee mark off the property lines around their home with a fence. While generally this is a good way to ensure privacy, there may come times when neighbors disagree about where the property line lies. When it comes to disputed boundaries, the courts will consider the following factors in order of importance.
The first factor is the existence of any natural objects or landmarks on the property. The next factor looked at is artificial monuments or marks. The third factor to consider is boundary lines of adjacent landowners. Finally, the fourth factor is courses and distances.
Disputes regarding who is to pay the expenses of building, maintaining and fixing fences can also come up between neighbors. Tennessee law addresses these issues, as do local ordinances. Oftentimes, neighbors will jointly share the costs of erecting and maintaining partition fences. If the parties jointly erected the fence, and a party fails to fix their part of the fence when it is broken, it may be possible to hold that party liable for any damages the other party suffers due to the disrepair.
So, whether you are building a fence on your property line for the first time, or fixing an existing one, it is important to understand what your legal obligations are. A lawsuit involving residential real estate can be costly, so it pays to seek the guidance necessary to ensure you are respecting the property lines between your home and your neighbor's home. This may be one situation where an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.