You and your neighbor have never really gotten along, but your recent dispute over a fence on the property line has quickly turned spiteful. One day, you had come back from vacation to discover that the fence had been removed without your consent—even though you were the one who paid to install it. Could you sue your neighbor for the costs of replacement?
Under Texas law, a person who removes, destroys, or damages a fence belonging to someone else can be held liable for property damage. However, the success of your claim will depend on the facts of your case, including:
- Ownership. While an individual cannot build, remove, or destroy a fence on someone else’s land, a fence that is situated directly on the property line of two adjoining owners is usually treated as the common property of both owners. However, neither owner is permitted to remove a shared fence unless all adjacent landowners have been formally notified.
- Location. The location of the fence plays a significant role in a property damage claim. Many people assume that a fence that separates two yards has been built on the property line, when in fact the fence may completely belong to one neighbor or the other. In other cases, a fence that has caused injury or has encroached onto a public street or common area may be removed by a public authority without allowing the owner of the fence to claim damages.
- Action. A neighbor can face punitive damages or even criminal charges depending on the manner in which the fence was removed. He or she may be liable if the removal resulted in excessive destruction, debris, damage to the surrounding area (such as plants or other structures), or a disregard for the other neighbors’ rights.
- Costs. If a neighbor is found liable for property damage, the court will determine how much you are to be awarded in damages. The amount you are awarded will depend on many factors, including the cost to repair or rebuild the fence, the cost of restoring the surrounding property to its previous condition, and the worth of the old fence after depreciation from age and use.
How to Get Proper Compensation for Your Damaged Fence
Many property damage cases arise because a neighbor or insurer refuses to pay a fair value for replacement of a damaged fence. It is vital that you seek the advice of an experienced property damage attorney before you take your claim to court! Call Wayne Wright LLP today at 800-237-3334 to discuss the details of your case in your free consultation.