Can I Remove the Neighbor’s Fence on my Property?

Property rights offer a sense of security and control over a homeowner’s living space. However, what happens when the boundaries become blurred? If you’ve found yourself facing a situation where your neighbor has constructed a fence on your property, it raises a critical question: Can I remove my neighbor’s fence on my property? This blog post will address this issue and provide alternatives to resolve it.

Can I Remove the Neighbor’s Fence on my Property?

The quick answer to this question is yes, you can remove your neighbor’s fence on your property. A fence built on your property can be removed anytime without permission or involving local authorities. In adverse possession cases, where someone has built on your property without permission for an extended period (usually at least one year), you may have the right to claim legal ownership of that portion of land.

However, there are other alternatives for this conflict. If you find yourself in a similar situation, consider these options.

  • Negotiation: Giving your neighbor the opportunity to relocate the fence rather than taking it down without notice has advantages. This way, you’ll foster communication and cooperation, potentially preserving a positive neighborly relationship.
  • Direct Request: You can ask your neighbor to remove the fence from your property or pay you for its use. This way, you’ll save the expenses of removing the fence or gaining compensation for using your property.
  • Self-Action: If your neighbor refuses to comply after a reasonable notice period, you are likely entitled to take it down yourself. While this ensures a direct resolution, it may strain neighborly relations and potentially lead to legal repercussions. For instance, if the removal involves damaging your neighbor’s property or causing harm.

A Neighbor Built a Fence on My Property: What To Do

Fence to divide yard from neighbor

This situation, known as encroachment, is considered one of the most common garden disputes. It can occur accidentally or intentionally, leading to conflicts between you and your neighbors. We recommend following a step-by-step approach to minimize conflict and strive for a resolution that satisfies both parties. Taking proactive measures can address the immediate issue and maintain a positive and cooperative neighborly relationship in the long run.

Hire a licensed surveyor

If you suspect a violation of property boundaries, a good idea would be to hire a licensed surveyor. He will meticulously examine the deed and conduct precise measurements to determine proper property lines. This professional analysis will ensure an objective and legally sound assessment.

This information is a factual basis for discussions with your neighbor, providing clear evidence to support your position. To learn more about the benefits of getting a land survey, check out our blog post, ‘Do You Need a Survey to Build a Fence?: Key Concerns.’

Check building permits

Following the land survey, it’s important to figure out if your neighbor got a building permit for the fence. Many states mandate a building permit to construct a fence, outlining specific regulations and guidelines. If there is a building permit, it means compliance with local regulations. It states where your neighbor can and cannot build a fence, clarifying the permitted boundaries.

Talk to your neighbor

After having the land surveyed by a professional, the next crucial step is to engage in an open and constructive conversation with your neighbor. Begin by sharing the survey results and providing clear evidence of the property boundaries. Your neighbor may need to be made aware of the encroachment or may have perceived it as not a big deal during the fence installation.

Approach the discussion collaboratively. Aim for a diplomatic resolution that benefits both parties, considering alternative solutions that align with the accurate property lines. This step establishes a foundation for cooperation and minimizes potential conflicts. Learn more about shared fences with neighbors.

Contact a lawyer

Despite your efforts, if your neighbor remains uncooperative in resolving the fence encroachment issue, it may be necessary to seek legal advice. Contacting a lawyer specializing in property issues becomes essential to face the complexities of property boundaries and potential disputes.

Remove the fence

Now, you are well-equipped to address the encroachment. Armed with a professional land survey, legal advice, and insights into permit regulations, you hold a strong position. If your neighbor has built a fence on your property without consent, you can have it removed.

You can use the results from the land survey to establish property boundaries. Contact your local government or hire private contractors for immediate and compliant removal, ensuring adherence to legal property lines.

Can my Neighbor Build a Fence on the Property Line?

When building fences along property lines, the rules can vary depending on where you live. In many cities, putting up a fence right on the property line for a clean look is fine. However, there might be rules about maintaining a specific distance from the property line in subdivisions or rural areas.

The critical factor in putting a fence on a property line is that both property owners must agree. If your neighbor insists on building right on the line without your consent or if it causes damage to your property, it could become a legal matter. To avoid these issues, it’s usually better for your neighbor to build the fence on their property a safe distance from the property line.

How Close to the Property Line Can a Fence Be?

Determining how close a fence can be to the property line involves consideration of local regulations specific to your area. Your jurisdiction may have laws dictating the minimum distance a fence should be installed from the property line. These laws often specify distances 2, 4, 6, or 8 inches from the boundary.

In some areas, local regulations permit you to build a fence up to the property line, while specific guidelines are in place in others. The allowance often depends on the density of the population in the region. Densely populated areas are more likely to allow fences to be built directly on the property line.

If you reside in an area with a homeowner’s association (HOA), they may have their own fence placement rules. Checking your HOA covenants is essential to ensure your fence meets their regulations. Understanding these local laws and HOA guidelines will help you make informed decisions about fence placement and avoid potential conflicts or violations.


Dealing with property lines and fence installations requires a careful balance of communication, legal understanding, and neighborly cooperation. Whether you are facing an encroachment issue or wondering where to install a fence, the steps outlined in this article aim to guide you toward a fair and amicable resolution.

Remember, open communication with your neighbor is often the first step, and seeking professional guidance through a licensed surveyor and legal counsel can provide valuable insights. Understanding the permissibility of building on the property line and adhering to local regulations, including those set by homeowner’s associations, is crucial for a seamless process.

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