Fences are a great addition to any yard. They provide extra privacy and security and are a great way to see where your land ends and your neighbor’s property begins. But how close to your property line are you actually allowed to build a fence?
Most places will allow you to build a fence within two to eight inches (5.08-20.32 cm) of your property line. Some areas will even allow you to build directly on the line, so long as you have your neighbor’s approval.
Before building, there are several actions to take and factors to consider and discuss with your neighbors. This article will discuss those actions and factors in detail to better prepare you for your build.
Regulations on Building Near Property Lines Vary
The rules regarding how close to a property line you can build differ depending on your state, county, and neighborhood.
Most areas allow you to build a fence within two to eight inches (5.08-20.32 cm) of the property line.
However, depending on where you live, you may also be able to build directly on the line.
If you are interested in building a fence on your property, it’s always best to look into your specific area’s laws and regulations to ensure you have a complete picture of where you can build a fence.
What To Do Before Building Near the Property Line
Building a fence is a significant home project, and before jumping into it, you should take several actions to ensure that the building process goes as smoothly as possible.
Before building a fence near your property line, here are a few things you should do.
1. Research Your Area’s Rules and Regulations
Before moving further with your plans, you must research your area’s building rules and regulations.
Because these rules can vary not only by state and city, but also by neighborhood, you’ll want to clearly understand what you are and are not allowed to do before deciding to build a fence.
In addition to the zoning requirements and where you are allowed to build, you’ll also want to consider if you need a permit.
Moving forward with this project before obtaining the proper licenses can result in a fine and a massive headache, so you’ll want to find out this information ahead of time.
Furthermore, if you live in an area with a homeowner’s association (HOA), you’ll need to check the HOA rules to see if there are any additional restrictions that you need to follow.
2. Complete a Property Survey
Once you’ve learned where you can build your fence, you’ll need to complete a property survey.
A property survey can give you exact details on where your property line is, so there is no confusion or mix-ups in the building process.
You don’t want to accidentally build on your neighbor’s land and have to deal with those consequences in the future.
You may be able to find this information online through your county’s website or on your deed.
If you’re unsure where the line is, you can hire a professional surveyor to look at your property.
Though hiring a professional can cost several hundred dollars, this expense is worth it to avoid potential issues and even higher costs in the future if there were to be any disputes.
3. Discuss the Plan With Your Neighbors
After you’ve determined the details around your build, you’ll want to talk to your neighbors.
Talking to your neighbors ahead of time will allow you to work out additional details and give them a chance to voice any concerns before building.
It is also polite to let them know about the build since this will also affect them.
This step is particularly important if you live in an area that allows you to build directly on a property line.
In these instances, you may want to consider additional factors such as maintenance, payment, and permissions from all parties involved.
Things To Consider Before Building The Fence
After you’ve looked at the regulations in your area, figured out the details of your property line, and informed your neighbors of the build, there are a few other things to consider before breaking ground.
Here are a few things to think about and discuss with your neighbors before building.
1. Property Maintenance
One thing to consider before building your fence is how you will maintain your property on the other side.
If you are building the fence several inches from your property line, you’ll have a portion of your land on your neighbor’s side of the fence for which you are technically responsible.
Therefore, you’ll want to discuss a maintenance plan with your neighbor that gives you access to their side of the property or states that they will maintain that side of your property.
2. Fence Maintenance
In addition to land maintenance, you’ll also have to decide how to maintain the fence:
- If your fence needs repairs or routine maintenance, will you have access to your neighbor’s property to work on it?
- Will your neighbor be responsible for maintaining their side?
- Is there enough of our property on the other side of the fence to give you access without walking through your neighbor’s yard?
These are all additional details you’ll want to work out ahead of time.
Who Will Pay for the Fence
If you are building on the property line, you may also have to figure out who will pay for the build.
Typically, if the fence is built on a property line, both parties will share the cost and maintenance.
Discuss those details before building if you feel your neighbor should share responsibility for the fence.
Potential Disputes With Neighbors
Lastly, you’ll want to consider scenarios that could lead to a property dispute.
For example, if there is a portion of your property that you are no longer using, but your neighbor is using that, that property could fall under prescriptive easement.
This means that they may be able to claim a legal right to use your property.
If this scenario continues for several years, your neighbor may even be able to claim adverse possession, meaning that they would gain legal ownership over that strip of your property.
While these scenarios may not be concerning if the amount of land in question is considerably small, the further away from the line you build, the more land area this could affect.
Be sure to think these scenarios through and consider making an agreement with your neighbors if you feel that is necessary.
Where on your property you can build a fence will depend on where you live – some areas require a fence to be at least a few inches away from the property line, while others allow you to build directly on it.
Before breaking ground, there are several things you should do, including researching the regulations for your area and finding out where your property line is.
Additionally, there are several factors that you should consider and discuss with your neighbors before building, such as how you will maintain the fence and the surrounding property and who will pay for it.
Cheers, tools owners!
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