Local rules in your residential area may restrict how high you may construct a fence. Backyard fences are commonly restricted to a height of six feet while front yard fences may be limited to four feet. Natural fences, such as bushes or trees, may also be restricted if they meet the definition of fences.
Trees that are planted in a row and that form a barrier are usually considered to be a fence. They may be restricted anywhere from five to eight feet. However, you may possibly be able to get a variance from the city, making an exception for you if you have good reason to erect a taller fence.
Enforcement of city ordinances may be lax, and nonconforming fences may go unnoticed by the city. If you suspect that your neighbor’s fence is too high, you may want to tell him or her as soon as possible. If he simply doesn’t know the law, he may be able to alter his fence if it is still being built. If he does not heed your suggestion, you may want to alert the city. The city will order your neighbor to conform or fine him.
If your neighbor’s fence is simply unattractive or ugly, it probably does not violate any laws. From time to time, a town may allow only certain types of new fences to create a desired look, and may also restrict the materials used in the creation of such fences. If a fence is an eyesore or a danger, it may be prohibited by a local property ordinance. Spite fences (fences erected just to agitate neighbors) are also against the law.
Fences that create a boundary between two properties usually belong to both owners when both are using them. Both owners are responsible for keeping the fence in good repair and may not remove the fence without the other owner’s permission. Some states will penalize you if you refuse to contribute for maintenance after a reasonable request from your neighbor.
If you are having a conflict over a fence you may want to consult a property lawyer. An experienced real estate lawyer can help you determine what rights and duties you and your neighbor have. A property lawyer can also help you file a complaint if you feel that your neighbor is acting inappropriately.