Disputes between neighbors commonly occur over property lines, maintenance, encroachment and other issues. In some instances, small disputes transform into larger conflicts and one party might attempt to build a barrier to keep out his neighbor. The legality of building such fences is often dictated by state law or the rules of the community in which you live.
State laws on fences. In general a property owner is permitted to construct a fence on his own property. Many laws limit the height of fences in residential neighborhoods. These limitations are usually set by local ordinances in cities and counties.
Are spite fences permissible? A fence that is constructed to irritate a neighbor and has no other purpose is referred to as a spite fence. The structure need not be a typical fence- it can be a row of trees or shrubbery that is intended to retaliate against a neighbor, block his views or prevent light from reaching his property. In most states, there is no law that specifically prohibits one neighbor from building a fence or structure that may prevent light from reaching a neighbor’s home or that hinders his view in some way. However, the fence must conform to state or local rules regarding height restrictions and materials as stated above. Some states permit a party to file a private cause of action for fences that are constructed solely for malicious purposes. Even in states with no such statute, a fence that is overtly created as a means of retaliation or one that blocks all light from reaching a neighbor’s property can lead to a lawsuit and should be avoided.
Rules of a homeowner’s association. When you live in a homeowner’s association, the rules about erecting fences are significantly clearer. Most homeowner’s association maintain strict policies regarding fence construction. These guidelines can cover many things from the height of the fence to the aesthetic qualities of the fence. It is necessary to check the rules of your homeowner’s association to determine whether you can build a fence and what type of fence it must be.
The experienced team of attorneys at the Law Offices of Mark Weinstein, P.C. can help you litigate your real estate claims. Contact Mark Weinstein and his colleagues at (770) 888-7707 or visit them at http://www.markweinsteinlaw.com to find out how they can advise you.