The rules for erecting a fence are dependant on many variables. The state you live in, the neighbourhood you live in, where the fence is located on your property, whether the fence is for containment, privacy or boundary are all factors that affect to what rules your fence will be subject.
When erecting a fence on a property line between two homes, you must consider a few important things. You will usually need to hire a surveyor to determine the correct line. It is a good idea to discuss the fence with your neighbour. In some states, if one homeowner wants a fence on the property line, the adjacent neighbour is required to contribute half. A handshake deal where each party agrees to maintain his side of the fence is legally binding in some states.
Fence height rules vary in different states, cities and neighbourhoods. Fences in front yards are usually required to be kept at a lower height than backyard fences. Three and four feet are common front yard height restrictions, and six feet is a common backyard restriction. Residential fence rules will differ from agricultural or business zone fence rules. Some types of businesses such as junkyards are required to have fences for safety and aesthetic reasons.
The material you use to construct your fence is also subject to rules. Some locations prohibit privacy fences that completely obstruct view. Some cities or local homeowners associations only allow you to use certain materials such as whitewashed wood or wrought iron so the fence will blend in with the look of the rest of the neighbourhood. In historic areas new construction often has to be done to recreate how the fence would have looked when the house was built.
Where to Find Fence Rules
Some subdivisions give homeowners a copy of the rules for the subdivision. Homeowner's associations have officers which keep the rulebooks, or the Realtor will have a copy. County and local ordinances can often be found online. Most cities, counties and states have websites which contain links to the laws of the area. You can find hard copies of local ordinances and rules at public libraries, the county courthouse, or the office of the mayor or city manager.