Neighbor Fence Disputes

A fence can often create problems. If the neighbor dispute cannot be resolved by the parties in a friendly manner, then other measures must be taken according to property line laws. Neutral third parties such as mediators, arbitrators or other neighbors may need to help resolve the neighbor dispute. Sometimes the problems with neighbors must be resolved by filing a court action.
Whenever possible it is best to talk to your neighbor first and try and resolve the fence matter amicably. It may be that the neighbor just not even aware of the fence problem and will be happy that you brought it to their attention.

The following is a list of things generally controlled by fence laws:

  • Whether an area is a fence out or fence in area: This refers mostly to the control of livestock animals getting out of fenced areas
  • Building restrictions: What constitutes a fence (minimum requirements)
  • Repair requirements: For example who will repair, or who will shoulder costs
  • Procedures for resolving fence disputes
  • You should check your local ordinances regarding fence laws

Lateral and Subjacent Support

Lateral and subjacent support gives an owner the right to have their land supported by the neighboring land against certain events such as landslide, slippage, etc.

Fences on Boundary Lines

Fences on real estate boundary lines belong to both owners. You and your neighbor would have to agree about making any changes to a fence that sits on both of your properties according to real estate law.

Repair and Maintenance of Fence Responsibility

The repair and maintenance of fences depends on whose property the fence is located on. If it is on the boundary of your property and your neighbors, then both parties are responsible.


Variances can be obtained from the city or county by filing an application. A variance is a onetime exception to a law given to the party that applies for one by a municipality providing they can make a reasonable case for why it should be granted. Developers typically apply for variances when they are developing a subdivision.

If you are having a conflict over a fence you may want to consult an attorney. An experienced property lawyer can help you determine what rights and duties you and your neighbor have. A property lawyer can also help you file a complaint if you feel that your neighbor is acting inappropriately.

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