She Painted My Fence

(WSVN) - They put up a wooden fence on their property and when their neighbor didn’t like the way the fence looked, she painted her side, leaving us wondering… can your neighbor paint their side of your fence? Know the answer? Let’s hear from Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

When Blanche’s daughter wanted to buy a house, she was there to help her…

Blanche Duncan, fence was painted: “And I told her whatever she saved, I would put with it and she purchased her first house.”

After the home was purchased, one more thing to do… put up a wooden fence in the backyard.

Blanche Duncan: “She followed all the procedures. She went to the city to get everything approved and she hired some people to put in the wooden fence.”

Blanche and her daughter were happy with the fence. Then one day, they got a look at the other side of it…

Blanche Duncan: “And she noticed that someone had painted her fence. I’m the one that helped her with this fence, and I told Glenda, ‘Let me handle it my way.'”

When the fence was put up, this property survey shows it left two feet of Blanche’s property on the other side of the fence. And their neighbor poured a concrete slab on top of their property.

Blanche Duncan: “And who gives you the right to go and do something like that? Who does that?”

They talked to their neighbor to ask why she painted a fence she didn’t own…

Blanche Duncan: “Because she didn’t like wood. She wanted to get creative and start painting a fence that didn’t belong to her.”

Of course you may be thinking, ‘From this side, Blanche can’t see the painted side, so why worry?’

Blanche Duncan: “When it don’t belong to you, Patrick, because you don’t like the color or you don’t like a wooden fence, buy your own damn fence, so that way you don’t have to paint no one else’s fence.”

Blanche doesn’t think there is a way to remove the paint from the fence, so she wants her neighbor to tear up the concrete slab on their property and…

Blanche Duncan: “We want that fence, replaced and we want her to pay for it.”

Well Howard — the old line… good fences make good neighbors, but can your neighbor paint their side of your fence?

Howard Finkelstein, 7News Legal Expert: “If it’s on your property, no. They can no more paint your fence than paint your house. And if they pour concrete behind the fence on your property, they have to remove it.”

I talked to Blanche’s neighbor. She said she just wanted to make the fence look better on her side. She realized she shouldn’t have painted it and looked for a way to remove the paint from the wood, but was told nothing would work.

Blanche then offered to let her pay let her pay half the $2,000 to replace the wood…

The neighbor told me she didn’t have the money and she pointed out, the fence was installed incorrectly since the city code requires the nicer side of the fence to face her instead of being on this side.

Howard Finkelstein: “Blanche could take her neighbor to court and probably win, but since the fence was installed improperly, a judge could make Blanche turn the fence around… or the judge could make her neighbor pay the amount the court feels the paint diminished the value of the fence. It other words, it’s a squirrelly legal situation and you have no idea what can happen in court.”

Blanche will find out because she is going to sue her neighbor in small claims court… and instead of asking for half the $2,000, she now wants it all.

Blanche Duncan: “Because one thing you don’t do — you don’t take advantage of other people on their property when it don’t belong to you.”

Blanche and her neighbor are both nice, both great to talk to. And when it comes to that fence and that concrete slab, I just can’t get them to agree on a solution.

We will keep an eye on it and let you know what happens in court… if it can’t be worked out before it get to court.

A problem got you painted into a corner? Ready for a neighborly solution? Contact us. When to comes to the law, we won’t be a fence straddler ’cause Howard can’t climb that high anyway. With this Help Me Howard, I’m Patrick Fraser, 7News.

Reporter: Patrick Fraser at
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
Broward: 954-761-WSVN
On Twitter: @helpmehoward7

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