| Last updated November 28, 2017. One issue that comes up frequently between neighbors is whether or not they are equally responsible for the costs, construction, and maintenance of a fence that sits on the boundary line between their properties. Can my neighbor build a fence on the property line California? The neighbor should have discussed with you before deciding to move the fence if it was on your shared property. Property Rights: My Neighbor is a Nuisance; Top 10 Reasons to Have Your Property Surveyed; Get Legal Help to Resolve a Fence Dispute with Your Neighbor. Fences serve many purposes. Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. Most involve reasonable and relatively painless compromises, but if all else fails you may have to sue. The fence below our two properties is barely a 3/4 meter high due to the drop in our heights of properties. Or you can build fences high enough to block the view of your neighbor’s security camera. All rights reserved. Before building a fence on the property line, try to get a written agreement, which should be recorded at the county recorder's office, that allows you to access the fence from your neighbor's side for repairs and maintenance. But they can also lead to tensions and conflicts. However, if your issue is more with the height, materials, or aesthetics of your neighbor's fence, you should check with your city, neighborhood association, and relevant covenants, conditions, and restrictions to see if there are any additional rules that might apply. He accidentally (or maybe purposefully) put the fence on my property. For a nominal amount (say, $15 per year), they can keep their fence over the property line and use that three-foot strip. If you would like the fence removed, a trial court judge can issue an injunction against the neighbor. That said, where the neighbour didn't actively create the nuisance, they won't be found liable unless they knew or ought to have known of the facts constituting the nuisance. Learn more about FindLaw’s newsletters, including our terms of use and privacy policy. Are you a legal professional? Visit our professional site », Created by FindLaw's team of legal writers and editors The situation you are describing seems a bit odd. A partition fence is the joint property of adjacent landowners. In some states, mere visual recording is not illegal so long as the camera is on your neighbor’s property. The contractor dug a 3′ trench along the property line, effectively severing a significant portion of roots needed to survive. I have had several conversations with the man, asking him when he will put my fence back. Absurd. The buyer won t close the sale until it is moved. Another common dispute involves a fence that is erected directly on the property line between two homes. Firefox, or Pleasanton, CA 94566 We argued, she called a surveyor. Hi Michael our neighbours property is a big drop of around 2 metres below our property. Property Line and Fence Laws in California. But sometimes disputes do happen, and often these arguments involve something that cannot be seen — the property line. However, this is not an absolute rule and can be rebutted with additional evidence. The neighbor is demanding we cut down a tree and remove our shed before he moves the fence 2 feet. Must the encroachment over the boundary line be removed or may it legally remain in place? By: D. Keith B. Dunnagan, Esq. From a purely legal standpoint, the neighbor, in most circumstances, can build that fence and even can ask you to pay 50-percent of the cost of the fence. California also allows you to sue your neighbor if they build a "spite fence" on their property. If it is on your property, you own the fence! If the fence is on his property, or even encroaching on yours, he can remove it. Monty’s Answer: Surveyors can sometimes make mistakes, and neighbors place fences in the wrong place more often than one would think. Secondly, California law presumes that both owners benefit equally from the boundary fence, and therefore are equally responsible for the reasonable costs of construction and maintenance. For example, if you believe that your neighbor has intentionally blocked the view from your home to certain scenery or landscape, you might be able to sue them under the law of private nuisance. Consider speaking with a California real estate attorney to get a handle on your legal options. Property Line and Fence Laws in California: Related Resources, Get Legal Help for Your California Fence Law Issues. The chart below provides a summary of state laws related to fence laws in California, including links to important code sections. If there is a dispute as to where this property line is located, you may need to have a survey conducted that will firmly establish where one property ends and another begins. If my neighbor builds a fence and a survey shows that the fence is on my property, canI remove it? Read on to learn about property line and fence laws in California. "Good fences make good neighbors" I am an attorney who is only licensed in the State of Florida. A Professional Law Corporation The neighbor that built the fence owns it and is solely responsible for its maintenance unless the other neighbor decides to use it. Tel: (925) 463-9000 No one wants to have a dispute with their neighbors, but it can be easy to if you do not take time to understand California fence laws. Here is an example of how the law of nuisance has been applied to a damaged fence caused by a neighbour. The law states that if your neighbor erects a fence (which can be made out wood, cinder blocks, bushes, etc.) If the existing fence is on the neighbor’s property, you can not remove it without their approval. Patel claimed the roots had started to damage concrete around his property. In March 2020, the Governor of California declared a state of emergency due to the coronavirus pandemic. If you or your neighbor are planning on putting up such a barrier, it is important to know the facts about California fence laws. Sometimes a neighbor may build an ugly fence out of spite for a neighbor. If the fence or barrier in question was not built to spite you but you still disagree with its existence, you … My neighbor wants to block me from access to a public easement that we share. The most common dispute when it comes to fencing has to do with the property line itself. This is no less true in California, where houses are packed closely together and neighbors like to maintain their privacy. As such, the law states that both homeowners are equally responsible for costs associated with repair and maintenance. His fencing contractor began taking down the fence between our properties on a Friday afternoon, saying it wouldn't be replaced until the next Wednesday or so. Fences are a common property dispute, and can have long term effects. If you can't get an agreement in writing, build the fence far enough from the property line that you can mow and make repairs without leaving your yard. Our neighbors fence is 1.9 feet into my property. Do I have to pay for the fence? He keeps giving time periods … The plant is clearly my neighbor’s, but who has the r… California Property Line and Fence Laws at a Glance. Many states have laws that regulate "spite fences." Directions. Two neighbors agreed to replace theirs and those are done; one neighbor is fighting it, saying it doesn’t need to be replaced and is demanding a survey be done because they think the fence is entirely on their property and I don’t have the right to touch it, even though the fence is in line with the other two neighbors (and the rest of the block). Begin typing to search, use arrow keys to navigate, use enter to select, Please enter a legal issue and/or a location. In other states, visual recording is acceptable but any audio recording is not. In this situation, who has responsibility is it to maintain and care for the fence? Copyright © 2021, Thomson Reuters. Internet Explorer 11 is no longer supported. If the fence or barrier in question was not built to spite you but you still disagree with its existence, you might have to look into your neighborhood association regulations to see if there are actions you can take. Being well informed can help you avoid unnecessary disputes with your neighbors. California law presumes that a fence located directly on the property line benefits both homeowners equally. If the fence is on his property it would be unwise for you to buy it because the fence is not within your boundries. You can face stiff civil and even criminal penalties for damaging a tree on your neighbor's property. Law Office of Lisa Wills He actually got the permission of another neighbor, which is my mother’s cousin. Don't worry we hate spam as much as you, and you can unsubscribe at any time. The time is right to solve the problem for more reasons than a sale. It is common in California for houses to be built packed close together but that can make erecting and maintaining fences difficult. California Law for Homeowners Maintaining Shrubbery Property Line. He is trying to take advantage because he knows we need something. In response to the state of emergency, the government issued various executive orders that require citizens to stay home and comply with social distancing standards. It is his fence, so he's entitled to the pieces. In order to win, the fence, wall or hedgesmust be more than ten feet in height. My neighbor constructed a fence on the property line dividing the land. He put up a fence to block me. The costs involved must be ‘reasonable,’ and backed up by evidence of their need. We recommend using Just enter your name and email address and click the button. California also allows you to sue your neighbor if they build a "spite fence" on their property. Stay up-to-date with how the law affects your life, Name A common occurrence in our area, given the frequent lack of survey monuments, is a neighbor’s inadvertent building over your property line, whether it be a driveway, a fence, a deck or even a portion of a house. We marked the line with timbers. California law presumes that a fence located directly on the property line benefits both homeowners equally. He took up my fence without my permission. If it's been less than 10 years, then you can remove the fence and charge your neighbor for the cost of restoring your property to the previous condition. Before proceeding, you need to know the exact location of the property line. If a fence encroaches significantly on someone else's land for many years, this can actually become the new legal property line in some cases. Google Chrome, However, if, despite your efforts, your neighbor’s security camera pointed at your house still makes you feel uneasy and uncomfortable because he has invaded your privacy, then it would be best if you contacted the proper authorities and seek legal help. I had this exact problem when my next door neighbour was building his new house. My mother’s cousin told him to pull up my fence and that it would be OK. A law in California also allows you to sue your neighbor if you believe they have built a fence or wall intentionally to spite, annoy, or irritate you. There are a lot of disputes around fences in California because homeowners do not understand what the laws are surrounding installation and maintenance. Please try again. Read on and we will walk you through everything you need to know. Although it's best to try to resolve neighborly matters through polite communication and mutual agreement, some issues can easily escalate. You don't have any right or obligation to rebuild the fence on his property. by Lisa Wills | Jul 26, 2019 | disputes, Real Estate. If a fence is being erected by only one household, it needs to remain off the property line of the other homeowners. Patel, Patel (the neighbor) hired a contractor to remove the roots from the large Monterey pine his neighbor (Booska) owned. The survey showed the land is ours. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply. Establishing the Property Line. And in other states, all forms of recording might face criminal or civil penalties. My question is, can I take the fence down myself. Luckily, state law provides some guidance when it comes to fences, property lines, tree trimming, and more. While this article outlines the actual laws regarding fences in your city, if you need more information regarding the laws surrounding which neighbor is monetarily liable, then jump on over to our post regarding CA’s Good Neighbor Law, where we explain in detail how both neighbors are now responsible to split the costs of a new fence or repairs 50/50! | Last updated November 28, 2017 their privacy property of adjacent landowners benefits both homeowners equally going to it... My yard and causing the fence law Corporation - all rights reserved my question is, can I take fence... 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