Photo Source: Fence Pro

It can be a pain dealing with neighbors and property line issues. Whether it’s a fence, deck or other structure, people can get a little touchy when it comes to their property. Knowing this, we can avoid the awkwardness and potential miscommunication at the onset of any project if we stick to a few simple guidelines.

Respect all lot lines:

This is the most common hiccup between neighbors. It’s understandable that we want to be sure we are protecting our property. In a lot of cases, there are property bars installed that mark the perimeter of Ontario properties. Another source of clarification is lot drawings provided by either the city or builder. The important part of this stage is communicating with the affected neighbor. In my 20 years working in residential construction, the biggest asset in this respect is a willingness to communicate openly about the proposed project.

Follow local building bylaws:

Fence heights and specification allowances can vary from city to city. As such, it’s imperative to know the local codes. If these codes are breached, the project may be derailed because of a lack of foresight. The only way it is legal to build outside of code is through a variance application at your local city hall. If all attempts at fruitful communication have failed, the Line Fences Act works as a mechanism for dispute resolution.

Plan the work and work the plan:

Photo Source: Fence Pro

Planning the work to be carried out is vital to having a successful project. It also provides a tool to manage expectations in the building process. Often, your fence contractor can act as a bridge to successful communication because of their experience in the industry. Generally speaking, if people are kept in the loop, all goes well.

Let the neighbor choose:

If your project has the opportunity for a preferred aesthetic, it’s a good time to show your good faith by letting your neighbor make their choice first. This will encourage good feelings and also foster a feeling of inclusion. Let’s try and remember that we have to live beside each other and honey attracts more bees than vinegar does.

In the end, it’s all about communication. If we stay open and authentic about our plans, we can generally anticipate a pleasant outcome. In the unfortunate circumstance that you cannot come to a mutually agreed upon plan of action, there is always the legislation to refer to.

For more advice or answers to your deck building questions, contact Fence Pro at www.fencepro.ca 905.922.4776

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