How Close to Property Line Can I Build a Fence

How Close to Property Line Can I Build a Fence? (Answered)

In the olden days, yards and compounds are interconnected. But over the years, to prevent disputes between neighbors and for the safety of livestock, fences were built.

Fences laws defer from city to city so you have to be familiar with the laws in your region regarding it. Property lines refer to the points where your property begins and ends.

Your property line determines where you will build your fence. If you know your property lines, you won’t build your fence on your neighbor’s property. So, how close to the Property line can I build a fence?

Generally, you can build a fence between 2 to 8 inches from the property line. However, some areas can allow you to build your fence directly on the property line but you will have to share maintenance costs with your neighbor.

If your property is in an area where HOA participation is compulsory, then you have to check their rules also. It is worth noting that building a fence on the property line might not be cool with your neighbor, so you have to ask them.

What Does Property Line Mean?

The property line is the exact points your property begins and ends. Homeowners should know their property lines because it will determine what they can build close to them.

Knowing your property line will help you know the home additions you can do: like a fence, swimming pool, tennis court, and so on. It will also help to avoid disputes with neighbors.

How Close to Property Line Can I Build a Fence?

Your fence can be 2 – 8 inches farther from your property line if you don’t want to build directly on the property line. You can get the advice of your surveyor when embarking on the project so that you won’t do anything wrong.

Dangers of Building a Fence Close to Property Line

You might be wondering why there are dangers to building a fence in the generally accepted way. If you build a fence close to the property line, you will encounter certain problems.

Land Reduction

When you build a fence close to your property line, you will have a few inches outside your fence. Many times, you don’t pay attention to that space. If you are now ignorant or nonchalant, you can see your neighbor make use of the land and you won’t complain.

After many years of use, your neighbor can have that space added to his/her land. They will be able to claim the space and you won’t be able to use the space again or even move your fence back to your initial property line.

And if your neighbor acquires the space through adverse possession, then the size of your land has been reduced.

It Can Affect Future Home Sales

If your space has been acquired through adverse possession, it would affect the sale of the home. You would think your land is still its initial size until you find out it has been acquired by your neighbor that used the space for years.

It will affect the price you want to sell it at, and you might not get buyers because they may have the size they want in mind.

Fence Encroachment

If you build a fence close to your property line, your neighbor can build his/her fence on your land leaving a strip of land that is very narrow. If you don’t call your neighbor’s attention to it, then you’ve lost part of your land.

If also want to bury a gas line, you can enquire how deep you can bury a gas line for all states here.

How Do I Find My Property Boundaries?

Your Property line can also be known as boundary lines and there are many ways to identify your property line. Below are a few:

  • Property Markers: You would always find stakes that are 6-10 inches below the ground. They are always found at the corners of your land. They are not hard to find. These markers are there to show you your boundary lines.
  • Online: Technology has made things easier. Rather than going around with your real estate agent or surveyor, you can get your property line online. Your region can have all the property lines in it on its website. Going through the site will help you identify your property line faster. Also, search engines that have GIPS can help you find your property line.
  • Property Line Map: This map contains drawings of your property lines and different property lines in that area. It always comes with your paperwork. You can also get it online rather than going to your assessor’s office.
  • Property Line Survey: You can hire a surveyor to help you identify the property lines. They are experts so they would point it out for you. You can only do this if your property line survey is not given to you with the property line map.

Can You Erect a Fence on the Property Line?

You can erect a fence on the property line that is shared with your neighbor in many areas. But you have to inform your neighbor before embarking on the project. You cannot build directly on the property line you are sharing with a public entity.

In California, before building a fence on a property line, you have to give your neighbor a 30-day advance written notice. In the details, you’ll include details about the design, timeline, maintenance cost, and the proposed building.

In North Carolina, you can only build a fence within your property line. But if there’s an agreement between you and your neighbor, then you can build a fence on the property line.

In the majority of the states that allow erecting a fence on the property line, there are fences called “spite fences”. These fences are only built on the property line to create a nuisance.

They are of no use to the builder; it is just to annoy the neighbor. Fences that prevent air and light from entering the other property are classified as a spite fence.

Can You Build a Fence Close to the Property Line?

It’s your choice to build a fence close to your property line or on it (if it’s allowed in your area). The general inch to build a fence from your property line is between 2-8 inches.

You can decide to build it closer but there are things to consider when doing so. One of the things to note is that the inches left outside the fence can be acquired by your neighbor after many years of use.


Fencing and boundary laws differ from region to region. You have to be familiar with the laws in your area before you build on your land.

Also, it is better to build your fence on the property line to avoid your neighbor acquiring part of your land. When building, you need to ask questions from your estate agent, a surveyor, and your local assessor so as not to miss anything out.