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Dave Kennett
Dave Kennett, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 27689
Experience:  25 years experience
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How close to the property line can my neighbor build a wall

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My back yard is against their back yard

DearCustomer- Unless there is some local zoning ordinance to the contrary he can build it anywhere on his property up to the property line. There are numerous local ordinances that include setbacks, height restrictions and other limitations but otherwise he can build the wall where he pleases on his own property.


I do not have access to all the local zoning restriction or local building rules from this website so you may want to contact your local town or city's zoning department as ask if there are any setback or height restrictions on walls and/or fences.


Dave Kennett

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Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Mr. Kennett,

I live in Queens NYC zip 11366 do you have any access to building information in that local? One more thing, There is a current fence on their property line that is set back about 1'-6" or so back from the property line. As do several of the adjoining neighbors fences. It has probably been that way for more than 30 years if not 50 years. We have bee growing a little flower garden there for 13 years ourselves, does this change anything?

If it has been there for that long then it would be grandfathered in to any ordinance. I do not have access to the local ordinances from here but from these facts 'm quite certain the wall is permissible. You can call the Borough offices and ask. I'm not certain from your question what the exact problem is with the wall, especially if it has been there for so long?



Customer: replied 8 years ago.
The existing chain link fence that is 1-6" back is no problem. They have been telling us that they are going to take it down and build a new wall right on the property line. Somebody cut down the flowers that we had growin in the 1'-6" space this morning I can not prove that it was them but this is starting to escalate.

I see - well they have a right to remove the flowers since it is their property and in order to build a new fence they will likely need a building permit. The city will not issue a permit if the new structure is in violation of the ordinances so if they start building you can call the city to see if they obtained a permit. If they did you can't do much about the wall but if they try to built without a permit the city will stop them and solve your problem.



Dave Kennett and other Real Estate Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
What do you think of this?

Dear neighbor, I appreciate you have notified us that you are going to build the wall.You said that you will be putting right on the property line, it is my wish that you would not do this. You will get no resistance from me (I would be appreciative) if you were to build it in the same location as the current fence. If you insist on putting it right on the property line I must resist in any legal way possible.

Dave I don't want to sound to combative, any thoughts?

It sounds fine to me. It has no legal significance but you may want to call the city just to see if there is a setback law that you could quote in your letter. Threatening legal action without a law to back it up really is just a threat and can create even more animosity.



Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Thanks Dave.
No problem and thanks for using our service - Dave