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Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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After doing all the leg work last year I approached my neighbor

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After doing all the leg work last year I approached my neighbor about sharing the cost of replacing a shared fence. He acted like he was agreeable but the next thing I knew he was moving out. He is now renting that property and the fence pickets are falling (into his yard).
There is also a pool on his property.
I have a toddler living with me and I tried calling him to voice my concern over the safety of the child. I called him twice and left a message but got no response. Next I called our City Code Enforcement and filed a complaint.
Now since he received a letter from the City he wants to know "What WE can do about it". I told him that I don't have the money now and that I have been off work and on state disability(which is the truth).
My question is - am I obligated to share in the expense of a new fence?
By the way I live in California.
Hello friend. My name is XXXXX XXXXX welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: (1) this is general information only, not legal advice, and, (2) there may be a slight delay between your follow ups and my replies.

I am afraid that one this website, I do not always get to give good news, and I am afraid that this is one of these times.

I am very sorry for your situation. Under Ca. Cal. Civ. Code § 841(1), it is stated:

Coterminous owners are mutually bound equally to maintain the boundaries and monuments between them.

This is the state's "fence law" is one can say it.

In other words, neighbors are expected to share equitably the expenses of a mutual fence, equally. McCormick v. Appleton, 225 Cal. App. 2d 591 - Cal: Court of Appeal 1964.

No other provision is made, thus the neighbors have an equal duty to repair the fence. Now, you do not have to do/pay for any more work than he, and, any amount already done by you is to be taken into account. However, you do retain a 50% burden, I am sorry to say.

However of course, unless he presses on you to do this, the City seems more interested in faulting him and not you. So if you refuse to do the work, he may have to do it himself as he is under pressure from the City to act, not you. Of course, he can try to sue for reimbursement - but - most people do not in such situations.

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