No Fence Neighborhoods. Know Before You Buy.

joliet real estate attorney

“Why can’t I have a fence around my property? The village said it is OK!”

As a real estate attorney for over 13 years, this has been the question I have been asked more than any other question in my career. I am always asked this question after a purchase has closed, and the new homeowner was not advised of the fence prohibition prior to closing. Occasionally my assistance is requested after the homeowner has installed a fence and the association is now attempting to enforce the "no fence" restriction after years have passed and many fences have been installed throughout the subdivision. Unfortunately my answer usually confirms that fences are not legally allowed, and if a fence has been installed where fences are prohibited, a law suit against the homeowner to remove it would be successful. To make matters worse, to fight it and defend the law suit to remove a fence may mean paying the legal fees for both parties if you lose.

Generally, when you purchase a property, it is yours, and you may use it as you please, subject to applicable legal restrictions. Most people are aware of applicable federal, state and local (city or village) statutes as setting forth those legal restrictions. There is one other major source of legal restrictions, however, and those are private restrictive covenants. Often there is a separate document providing the restrictive covenants for a whole neighborhood, but private restrictions may be in a deed for the benefit of only one other owner. Typically these legal restrictions are not only enforceable in court, they are enforceable by specific performance, meaning a judge can order compliance and order an owner to remove a fence that violates applicable covenants.

What is the solution? KNOW BEFORE YOU BUY!

If you are looking in a subdivision and there are no fences (except around pools), have your agent find out what the rules are in the subdivision. If fencing your yard is a priority, have your attorney confirm that fences are permitted in the subdivisions where you are looking to purchase, even if it appears fences are permitted.

Purchasing or selling real estate in Will County? Contact Ann Zaremba today at 815-740-4025 or via email