Understanding Fencing Laws

Understanding Fencing Laws

Where Should You Go to Make Sure Your New Fence is Legal?

  • Police Station
  • Town Hall
  • Fire Department
  • Neighbor

Answer: Town Hall

Fencing laws vary from state to state and locality to locality. The best place to go to find out if your new fence is legal is the town hall — before you install your fence. Cities and counties may have their own ordinances, and those ordinances can vary based on whether you live in town or in the country. You may even have a building commissioner that works with only county (rural) areas and one that works only with city ordinances.

Difference in Ordinances

In most cities, it is against the law to put a privacy fence in front of the house. You may think it’s to invade your privacy, and in a way it does. But it also prevents emergency services from gaining easy access to your home in case of an emergency. In rural areas, fencing laws may be governed by the county building commissioner and you may be able to have a privacy fence in front of your home because you are more likely to have more room in your front yard for visibility and easy access.

Visit the town hall before you install your fence. This way, you can learn about fencing laws that apply to you, and how to apply for a permit. If you install your fence without a permit, you may face a fine and have to take the fence down.