Legal Rights When Building a Fence

Written by noel shankel
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Legal Rights When Building a Fence
Property owners should consult local laws before constructing any fence. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Fencing laws are designed to protect those who wish to build a fence and those who must endure the fence once it's constructed. Both sides have legal rights that cannot be ignored. States, cities and towns have the legal right to create their own fence building ordinances.

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The Boundary

Homeowners have the legal right to build a fence on their side of the property line without consent from their neighbour. If possible, leave enough room on both sides of the fence to maintain it without trespassing. The height limitations of the fence depends on the municipality regulations. Homeowners can request a permit to build a fence higher than municipality regulations.

Walk The Line

If one property owner wishes to construct a fence on the property line, her neighbour is required by law to pay for half the fence construction in certain states and counties. If the other neighbour can prove that a fence will not increase the value of either property, he is not required to pay his half. However, the fence builder still has the legal right to construct her fence.


Property owners have the right to use a wide range of materials to construct their fence to a certain degree. For example, fences can contain barbed wire, but only if the barbed wire is a certain height off the ground. Electric fences can be constructed, but they cannot be adjacent to a public walkway or a neighbour's property line. Always check local laws before constructing a barbed or electrified fence.

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