California Fence Laws – 3 things you should know

Everyone hopes for a quality relationship with their neighbors. After all, when you’re in such close proximity, maintaining a solid relationship can be a huge asset. But sometimes disputes do happen, and often these arguments involve something that cannot be seen — the property line. It is common in California for houses to be built packed close together but that can make erecting and maintaining fences difficult. If you or your neighbor are planning on putting up such a barrier, it is important to know the facts about California fence laws. Being well informed can help you avoid unnecessary disputes with your neighbors.

Read on and we will walk you through everything you need to know.

Things You Need to Know About California Fence Laws

Understanding California Fence Laws

There are a lot of disputes around fences in California because homeowners do not understand what the laws are surrounding installation and maintenance. There are some common issues that present themselves again and again. These issues prevent neighbors from getting along and benefiting from one another’s presence.

1. Placement of a Fence

The most common dispute when it comes to fencing has to do with the property line itself. If a fence is being erected by only one household, it needs to remain off the property line of the other homeowners.

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.

2. Maintenence of a Fence

Another common dispute involves a fence that is erected directly on the property line between two homes. In this situation, who has responsibility is it to maintain and care for the fence?

California law presumes that a fence located directly on the property line benefits both homeowners equally. As such, the law states that both homeowners are equally responsible for costs associated with repair and maintenance. The costs involved must be ‘reasonable,’ and backed up by evidence of their need.

If you plan to do work or maintenance on a shared fence, you must give the other homeowner at least 30 days of notice before beginning work.

3. Private Nuisance

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. 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.

In order to win, the fence, wall or hedges must be more than ten feet in height. 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.

California Fences and Barriers

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. The above information should allow you to approach potential disputes with the proper information at hand.

Have more questions about California real estate law? Reach out to me, Lisa Wills, Law Offices of Lisa Wills,  at any time for assistance.

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