Boundary disputes involving fencing and California law

On Behalf of | Feb 9, 2021 | Boundary And Title Disputes | 0 comments

A good neighbor tries to avoid disputes. Sometimes, though, boundary lines become a matter of friction between property owners in California. 

A fence desired by one neighbor but not by the other often results in an argument. A better understanding of California law on this topic is helpful. 

The responsibility of property owners

The California Legislative Information page, under the section of the obligation of owners, states that neighbors should share in the cost and benefit of a fence. A presumption exists that neighbors share the responsibility of construction, maintenance and replacement of the fencing. In certain cases, adjoining property owners might wish to enter into a written agreement or contract regarding a fence project. 

In disputes that go to court, the adjudicating body will look at issues such as whether the fence benefits each neighbor equally. The court could also consider whether a fence project is reasonable or necessary. If evidence shows that a fence project benefits one person more than another, the court has the discretion to alter the share of the cost for a particular property owner. 

The issue of fence heights

The County of San Diego provides more clarity on fencing projects and acceptable height. The 2016 California Building Code regulates the construction and location of fences, though local jurisdictions may amend certain matters. San Diego County requires a building permit for fencing except where the fence will not exceed 6 feet in height or if the fence is an open fence of 8 feet in height with the top 2 feet consisting of barbed or razor wire. Based on this information, property owners should consult with their neighbors and local authorities before building a fence.