No Fences Allowed...

Written by Posted On Wednesday, 28 May 2014 05:05


Question - I noticed that the sub in which I found a house that I like has no fences. I have a dog. Will I be allowed to put up a fence? How about putting in one of those invisible fences?

Answer – Maybe. What you are seeing is likely a site condo development (at least in Michigan) with Homeowners Association By-Law rules against fencing. It’s not uncommon and those rules were put in place to protect the property values of all of the homeowners. Sometimes allowing fencing results in some pretty ugly results and certainly give a chopped up appearance to the sub if so-called privacy fences are allowed. You will usually find that safety fencing around pools or hot tubs are allowed (required), but there may be strict style or design rules.

As for those “invisible fences”, there may also be by-law rules about digging up the yard to put them in or where they can be located (usually only in the back yard). A problem with them that few think about is the fact that there is nothing preventing children and animals not wearing the radio collars from crossing into your yard. Depending upon your dog’s reaction, you could be facing a lawsuit if a child wanders into your yard and is “attacked” by your dog, even if your very friendly dog was just jumping up to say hello. You can have signs up warning people that there is an invisible fence, but not all children (or adults for that matter) are able to read them.

Really progressive developments may have provided for an area that you can take your pets to for some exercise and to take care of their business. They will usually also have strict rules about picking up pet waste. If that is not the case, then you are looking at a future of spending time out walking your dog or using a tie-out to allow your dog some use of your yard. Most developments that have a restrictive environment like this will also have rules about the noise that will be tolerated from your dog. If you have a dog that continually barks, expect complaints and trouble from the HOA and perhaps even an order to get rid of the animal. Yes, they do have that power.

If you can’t live with these restrictions, don’t buy in a development with HOA rules like this. In Michigan at least platted subs seldom have such rules or even HOA’s. It is in our unique site-condo developments that you will hit these issues. To read more about Michigan’s site condo developments, see my earlier post on Condos and Site-Condos.


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Norm Werner

Norm Werner is a Realtor at the Milford office of Real Estate One serving the southeastern Michigan area of Oakland and Livingston Counties. Norm specializes in residential real estate. Norm lives and works in Milford Michigan and is married to Carolyn Werner. Norm and Carolyn live in a historic home just three blocks from downtown Milford, with their two dogs - Sadie and Skippy. Norm specializes in the historic homes of Milford and the surrounding area and is on the Board of Directors of the Milford Historical Society. Norm especially enjoys working with first time buyers and those at the other end of the real estate spectrum who are downsizing into their retirement home. 

In addition to his web site, Norm also owns and m,aintains web site, the web site. He is also the webmaster for and the web site and the MilfordCar web site, as well as his church web site - In addition to blogging about real eastate, Norm has a personal blog - - on which he shares inspirational messages and the occasions personal observation about life.

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