Man's Response to Fence Issue With Neighbor Divides Opinion: 'Not Winning'

A man has divided opinion on TikTok over how he dealt with a shared fence issue with a neighbor after they couldn't agree on how to repair or replace the structure.

TikTok user JonnySteele shared a series of clips on the social media platform, as he filmed his backyard revealing he'd installed a brand-new fence two feet away from the old one, which was falling apart.

In the clip, JonnySteele, of Texas, says: "When your neighbor doesn't want to replace the aging fence. I even offered to pay for half and to do the work."

The video, shared earlier this month, amassed more than 9 million views and can be seen here, as people weighed in on the structure.

Numerous people felt JonnySteele got the short straw by losing some of his yard, as Rixjdr commented: "Well you just shafted yourself because now they simply pull down the old one and they have another foot of land and free firewood!"

Guzman remarked: "Just pay full price and replace it. You literally played yourself."

Mobile Detail55 thought: "So now they tear down the old fence get a new fence and more yard."

Cameron Camskiezz Ow asked: "So you give him more land also?"

Burcu Kopuz366 said: "You're not winning."

Suziewestbags replied: "You just cut off your nose to spite your face. You lost 2 ft of your own yard to just be a stubborn, bad neighbor. Idiocy!"

But David Jenness added: "Love the criticism you're getting. You did this for you not for your neighbor! I would give up a foot on my property in a heartbeat for that!"

After numerous people weighed in on his response, JonnySteele shared a few more follow-up videos clarifying a few points.

He said it was built on top of a cinder block retaining wall, which went down several feet, as he filmed his Husky running around inside, possibly one factor in needing a sturdy fence.

"Not meant to be pretty, but does the job," one clip was captioned.

JonnySteele went on to explain the fence was built on the boundary line, so no one person owned it outright.

He said it was "good neighbor etiquette to pay for half the replacement," as he said the neighbor initially approached them about replacing the fence a few years ago.

JonnySteele said he agreed to pay for half the costs, but only for the section that borders his backyard, and not for further sections which encompass her "corner lot."

He filmed a stretch of fence that extended past his front yard, which he said he wasn't "technically responsible" for.

"We were not going to pay for the portion of the fence beyond this gate up here, which kind of upset her," he said.

Due to the condition of the current fence, JonnySteele explained: "We decided just to bite the bullet and build it two feet back from our property line. We did lose two feet of usable space..."

Ultimately he was pleased as he added: "Now we can actually use this side of the house. And not have to worry about it falling down."

JonnySteele also shared clips of the old wooden structure, showing it sagging and bowing in the wind.

People erred on JonnySteele's side more after the explanation, as commenter 80's teen dayz 4 life said: "Why people mad? It's your yard who cares. It looks great. They should've paid for half and it would've all been settled."

Dex and Bob cat admitted: "Wish you were our neighbors I'd pay 50/50."

Although 9021mobb questioned: "Wouldn't paying for 50% of the few feet on fence in your front yard cost you substantially less, help you retain sq ft, and have better curb appeal?"

To which JohnnySteele replied: "With inflation and lumber prices, it would have been an extra $2000 for just the extra length. Just wasn't in the budget."

And explaining why he thinks the neighbor won't simply tear down the old fence, he said: "Well since she has a pool, she is required to have a fence. So if she takes it down, she will be out of compliance."

Fences and boundary lines are a common source of grievance among neighbors, with the Texas Law State Library saying: "A common dispute among neighbors is who owns, as well as who is responsible for maintaining the fence between their properties.

"Texas does not have a specific state law that addresses boundary line fences. Cities or property owner associations will often try to regulate things such as fence height but for disputes involving ownership or maintenance, those will often need to be settled in court if the neighbors cannot come to an agreement on their own."

Texas Law Help went into more detail about fences on property lines, saying: "If the fence is on the boundary line between both properties, both property owners own the fence as long as both 'use' it, unless an agreement indicates otherwise.

"Thus, you and your neighbor would share the cost of repairing and replacing the fence."

Newsweek reached out to JonnySteele for comment.

File photo of backyard fence.
File photo of backyard fence. A man has divided opinion on TikTok over how he dealt with an issue with a fence on a property boundary line. CRobertson/Getty Images