Get one – that is all you need to know. While good fences make good neighbors, fences in the wrong location can cause any number of problems. If you are installing a fence on your property you need the property line staked so you can be sure that the fence is located just inside your property line. There are no good options for mistakes:

  • If you accidentally locate the fence on your neighbor’s land, it becomes your neighbor’s property.

 

  • If you accidentally place the fence exactly on the property line it becomes a boundary line fence and you and your neighbor will jointly own the fence and have to make joint decisions about the maintenance of the fence.

 

  • If you accidentally place the fence too far inside your property line you risk giving up property on the other side of the fence that your neighbor can eventually claim via adverse possession.

 

This advice holds true even if you are replacing a fence on your property. Unless you have a survey in your possession that shows the fence, you have no way of knowing if that fence is in the correct location or if, in fact, you own it and have the right to replace it.

Finally, do not assume that the fence along the front of your property adjacent to the road is immune. If your home is located on a public road, the roadway owned by your local municipality is generally significantly wider than the paved road. Even if you maintain the property all the way to the edge of the asphalt, you may not own (and cannot obtain via adverse possession) the land adjacent to the road. If you install a fence on property owned by the Town, the Town has every right to demand that you remove and relocate your fence. The fact that a fence may have been in that location for years is irrelevant, the Town still has the right to ask you to remove the fence and, is likely to do so if, for example, the road needs to be widened or a tree on town property needs to be trimmed or removed.

If you are thinking about building a fence, get a survey done first to be certain the fence is built just inside your property line. This will save you from potential boundary issues in the future and make your real estate attorney happy.