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Who owns a fence on a property line?

If you live in a neighborhood, you're probably familiar with neighbors fencing their yards. They do so to keep in pets, keep out people or animals they don't want in their yards and for decoration. Unfortunately, not all people fence their yards off appropriately, which becomes a problem for those who are affected by the fencing.

Local fence ordinances help by dictating the location, height, materials and appearances allowed when constructing a fence. This has several purposes. One is to make sure fencing doesn't block views. For instance, a neighborhood on a lake may limit the height of fences to four feet to avoid neighbors blocking each others' views.

One problem some people come across is having a neighbor who encroaches on their property when building a fence. Fences on boundary lines typically belong to both owners unless you and your neighbor agree otherwise. Both owners, in most cases, are responsible for keeping the fence in good condition. However, neither is able to remove a fence without permission.

If plants begin to cross the fence to the neighbor's side, it's generally agreed that they may chop back branches or plants that they do not want on their property. Therefore, if you have a plant you don't want to have damaged that is near a property line, it's a good idea to crop it back yourself when the time comes.

There are many kinds of disputes that can take place with neighbors, but fence disputes shouldn't happen often. If there is a problem, consider talking to your neighbor first to come to an agreement.

Source: FindLaw, "Neighbor Fence Disputes," accessed April 12, 2018

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