Fort White, FL asked in Real Estate Law, Civil Litigation and Land Use & Zoning for Florida

Q: In FL is it illegal/can I be sued for building a fence off of my neighbors existing fence?

I bought my property less than a year ago. On the right side my neighbors already had a 4ft wire fence in place (about a 30 year old fence). My husband and I wanted to cross fence our property to make an area for our dogs. To do this we bought supplies and connected it to the existing boundary fence that our neighbors built. No property damage was done, and if anything we are helping to make their fence a bit more sturdy since we stapled it to a 8in wide wooden post we concreted into the ground. They became furious and are threatening to sue my husband and I for ‘touching their property’ even though they even admitted to there not being any property damage. I read that in FL if you buy land with an existing fence you become a joint owner. Will that apply in this case or is there a way they can sue us? PS- we first just wrapped a wire around our post and their fence but the neighbors cut the wire allowing my dogs to get out of my yard and run away so we stapled the wire to the post

2 Lawyer Answers

A: You do not become a joint owner of the fence. You are not allowed to attach anything to their fence without permission from the owner of the fence. I doubt they will give you permission now. Your best option is to put posts on your land and attach the fence to your posts. You might need to build a fence adjacent to their fence if you cannot keep the space between the fences closed without touching their fence.

Jane Kim
Jane Kim
Answered
  • Real Estate Law Lawyer
  • Naples, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: You can use it, meaning you can receive the benefit of their fence being there, but you are not suppose to attach to it. If it is a boundary fence then both of you have an obligation to maintain it. Having said that, in order to have a legitimate claim, one must show damages.

Here are some brief write ups on the subject matter, I did not check if they are correct on the law- https://www.findlaw.com/state/florida-law/property-and-fence-laws-in-florida.html

https://homegardenguides.com/fencing/laws/property-line-fence-laws-florida/#Can_neighbors_attach_things_to_a_fence_in_FL

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