Can a neighbor make you put up your own fence if you’ve been tied into theirs for a year?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can a neighbor make you put up your own fence if you’ve been tied into theirs for a year?

About a year ago, we got a dog. My neighbors on both sides already had privacy fences up and agreed to let us tie into their fence so that we could keep it contained. A couple of nights ago, the dog had her head under the fence playing with the other dog. They got into a little fight and our dog’s face got bit. Well, we said something to them about it. The next day we were told that we

needed to put up our own fence because what happened was on their property. Our side of the fence does go over the property line about 2 feet. I’m wondering if because we had a verbal agreement about the fence if they can still make us do that?

Asked on March 28, 2019 under Real Estate Law, Tennessee


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

An oral (that, not verbal, is the correct term for "unwritten") agreement like you describe is not enforceable: 1) if you did not give them anything of value in exchange for their permission to tie to their fence, they did not receive "consideration," and without consideration going to each side (each side must benefit), there is no enforceable contract; 2) an agreement without a set duration can generally be changed or cancelled at will.
Therefore, the agreement you describe is almost certanly not enforceable. And not being enforceable, they have the right to tell to you to remove your fence from their land and from their fence whenever they like; that you had it there for a year with their permission gives you rights to keep it there.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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