When it comes to boundary fences between neighbors in Texas, the state legislature provides specific guidelines and laws that landowners should be aware of, which outline the rights and responsibilities of both parties. In this article, we explore who pays for a residential fence in Texas, based on Texas Law in detail. Read on to find out everything you need to know about this important issue!
Overview of Texas fence laws
Boundary fences are not specifically covered by state law in Texas; instead, local ordinances and statutes are in charge of more detailed issues. Individual cities in Texas often have their fence and property lines regulations. It’s advised to first check your city’s rules to determine what you can build in your community because in some cases, you’d need to obtain permits before you start with construction.
Fencing regulations and requirements
By Texas fence laws, you are required to get a proper permit if you want to build a residential fence that is out of scope, a commercial fence, or one in a flood area. And not only that, but you are also going to need to have it inspected to make sure that the fence abides by certain standards (like being properly supported on a good foundation).
Fence laws in Texas allow you to build a fence that is no more than 6ft tall without a permit. However, your fence can go up to 8 feet if it is a security fence. If you’re building a fence near a road, it can’t be higher than 4 ft. The fence can also be up to 10 feet tall if it is being put close to a pool or other body of water (but the minimum height of a fence near a pool is 4 ft).
Essentially, it goes like this:
- A fence near a road: no more than 4 feet
- A regular fence: 6 feet
- A security fence: up to 8 feet
- A fence near a body of water: minimum 4 feet, maximum 10 feet
If you are building a fence in a historic district, or you want to have an ornamental fence put in, Texas fence regulations have special height restrictions. It is best to contact a professional fencing company, as they can help in understanding what type of fence you need. They’ll also provide information on what kinds of regulations you need to follow and permits to get.
Who is responsible for building a fence on property lines between neighbors?
In Texas, if you’re planning on putting up a fence between your property and your neighbor’s, it’s important to first discuss it with the property owners. That is if you intend it to be a shared fence among neighbors. While there’s no law mandating that the cost of the fence must be shared, it’s common courtesy to do so. If only one side is paying for the fence, a neighbor that is excluded from financially contributing doesn’t get a say in the details of said fence. Only the neighbor who owns the fence within the property lines can decide what happens next.
If you want to build a shared fence and your neighbor agrees to contribute to the cost and upkeep, you can consider that arrangement valid and legally binding. If you decide to go this route, it’s important to get everything in writing so that there’s no confusion about who is responsible for what later on. But before you build a fence or decide to change the existing one, you are legally required to give your neighbors early notice. The notice must contain the following information:
- A description of the fence you wish to install or the issue that needs to be resolved
- A suggested time frame for construction or maintenance
- A suggested breakdown of building or repair costs
- An invitation to talk about the planned construction or repairs
This provides a chance for neighbors to express their worries or provide comments before you start construction.
By building a shared fence, neither you nor your neighbor owns a side, and both property owners become legally responsible for the fence repair and maintenance.
What if I want to build my fence?
If you want the fence to be entirely on your real estate property with no shared costs, you first need to establish where your property line ends.
Having a distinct, visual sense of where your property borders and fences are is the first step in determining who owns the fence. If you do not own the deed to the house or are unable to get one, you can hire a surveyor, or find the borders yourself.
The outer corners of your property have ground pins, which are iron rods buried 6 to 10 inches underground, that serve as property lines. A surveyor placed them when the property boundaries were drawn. You can use a metal detector to discover the pins enclosing your property if you wish to find the property lines on your own. You could put a flag where you locate the pins and use string to clearly show your real estate perimeter lines.
If you need a deeper search for more precise measurements or can’t find your iron ground pins, call a surveyor. They’ll locate your property borders precisely using GPS coordinates. Remember to keep the survey report they send you after.
When you have a clear idea of your property line, you can go ahead and contact the fencing company to come and give you a free estimate.
While the property owner has the right to build a fence on their land, Texas fencing laws prohibit doing so if the fence will obstruct your neighbor’s ability to use and enjoy their land. So, you cannot erect a fence that obstructs another person’s view or access to their land.
Dispute resolution options
In Texas, as with most states, neighbors are responsible for maintaining their property. This includes fences that they share with other neighbors. However, some disputes can arise over shared fences, such as who is responsible for repairs or which neighbor should fund a new fence.
The majority of fence conflicts involve mutual fences. To make sure you’re on the same page during the repair procedure, be sure to keep your neighbor informed. Sadly, clear communication beforehand doesn’t always resolve fence-related disputes.
If you have a dispute with your neighbor over a fence, the first step is to try to resolve it between yourselves. If you cannot agree, you may need to consult with a lawyer or mediator. In some cases, the court may need to get involved to resolve the dispute.
Repairs and maintenance of a shared fence
Assuming you and your neighbor are on good terms, you can agree to share the cost of repairs and maintenance for a fence owned by both neighbors. If you can’t agree, you can each hire your contractor for fence repair, but you will be responsible for reimbursing your neighbor for half of the fence.
The property owner where the fence is located is liable for fence maintenance.
If you are the property owner, the fence is your responsibility.
If the fence is on your neighbor’s land, it’s their responsibility.
The fence is regarded as communal property if it sits exactly on the boundary line, making fence maintenance a shared responsibility.
It is important to keep in mind that a shared fence may require more frequent repairs than an individual fence. This means that you and your neighbor should agree on a schedule of maintenance and review it periodically to ensure the structure remains in good condition.
Texas law provides a clear guide for boundary fencing. While the state does not have any specific law that dictates who pays for fence construction and maintenance, it is important to remember that all property owners are responsible for maintaining the fences on their properties. It is also always wise to discuss any proposed boundaries or fencing plans with your neighbor before work begins so both parties can agree on who will pay when payment will be made, and other details of the project. Keeping these regulations in mind can help ensure peaceful co-existence between you and your neighbor!
So, when you get all the details squared away with your neighbor, call True Built Fencing to schedule a free consultation!