Texas Property Line Fence Laws| Your Rights (2023)

Texas is known for many things, but the one thing everyone knows is that Texans never joke about their property rights.

With most of them owning large tracts of land and farms, chances of neighborly fence disputes arising are pretty high. That’s why every landowner should know and understand the laws and regulations on fences in Texas.

Here are the key property line fence laws you should know.

Texas Property Line Fence Laws| Your Rights (1)

What we cover

Do I need a permit to build a fence in Texas?

In most cities and counties, you won’t need a permit to build a fence shorter than 8 feet of any material. However, in some cities like Dallas, you’ll need a permit to build a fence of over 4 feet in the front yard setback and over 6 feet on the rear or side yard setback.

You will also need a permit if your fence is located on a flood plain area or other special zoning areas. When unsure if your property is in a watershed area, contact the watershed protection department.

How close to the property line can I build a fence?

(Video) How close to a property line should a fence be?

Every neighborhood has its own rules about property lines and fences, usually set by the Homeowners Association. In most communities, front yard fences should be set back at least 5 feet from the property line.

Other communities may allow you to build the fence up to a few inches to the property line.

If you’re not sure about your local fence restrictions, a good solution is hiring a local fencing company. They’ve probably worked in the area before, and they know the regulations.

How tall can a privacy fence be in Texas?

Most cities have their fence height restrictions set between 6 – 9 feet and demand at least a 50% open structure.

The front yard fences have a restriction of up to 4 feet and about 9 feet for the rear and side fences. This applies to residential properties for single families.

For properties in multi-tenant districts, the restrictions for rear fences stand at 6 feet. If you wish to construct a fence taller than your local authority’s limitations, seek a variance from your local city’s board of adjustment.

Who owns the fence on property lines in TX?

It depends on your agreement. Unlike most states, the Texas fence laws don’t recognize fences on property lines as an obligation for both neighbors. Where there’s no agreement, the fence is the responsibility of the builder.

Your neighbor will only be recognized as a joint owner of the fence if they agree to maintain a part of the fence. Both written and oral agreements can hold in a Texan law court.

If the fence falls on either side of the property line, the Texas Fence laws recognize it as the property of the neighbor on whose property it’s on.

Tip: Before purchasing any property, always confirm whether the fence is jointly owned.

Texas Property Line Fence Laws| Your Rights (2)

(Video) What To Know About Property Lines, Fences & Disputes

Who gets the good side of the fence?

It depends on the owner of the fence. If you wholly own the fence, then the decision is up to you – the same applies to your neighbor. If you both agreed to co-own the fence, then you’ll have to table that decision with your neighbor.

Nonetheless, having the good side of the fence swap each time is good practice.

You could also opt to install a fence that’s similar on both sides. This solves any dispute for owners who co-share the fence.

Yes! Texas doesn’t have an accurate law regarding fencing on the property line. So, your neighbor can build a fence on the property line, but they have to get your authorization first.

Depending on your local municipality or Homeowner’s Association laws, the neighbor might have to send you a 30-day notice of their intent.

Keep in mind, you’ll still be under no obligation to share the costs of the fence if you don’t want it.

Can I put up a fence on my property?

Yes! There’s no law in Texas prohibiting you from putting a fence on your side of the property line. You’ll only need to comply with all the structural, material, design, and height restrictions set by your local community laws.

(Video) How A Surveyor Locates Your Property Lines

You also won’t need the consent of your neighbor even if that fence blocks their views and access to light.

But Texas being a ‘fence-out’ state, you have no legal duty to put a fence to protect and manage your livestock.

What if my neighbor won’t pay half?

How you react when your neighbor refuses to pay half of the boundary fencing costs depends on your agreements. If you both agreed, whether orally or on a written contract, to share costs for the fence, here are some steps you can take:

  • Send them a written notice requesting them to pay half of the costs
  • Consider mediation
  • Contact your HOA or municipality to enforce your agreement
  • Take legal action in a small claims court to receive a reimbursement

Nonetheless, fence laws in TX are very lenient when it comes to paying for the boundary fence. So, unless you can prove that agreement (on a contract) with the neighbor, there’s very little you can do.

Texas Property encroachment laws

If your neighbor’s new fence extends over the property line into your property, the Texan fence laws allow you to take legal action against them. You have the right to ask the neighbor to remove the fence and also to cover any damages caused.

If you opt to take the neighbor to court, make sure you can prove these two key things: Proof of ownership for the land, and proof that the neighbor uses it illegally.

Adverse possession also works in Texas, where a neighbor can lose part of their property to the encroaching neighbor. Under Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 16.024, the neighbor can claim the portion after 25 years if you’re yet to contest their encroachment.

Texas boundary fence laws at a glance

This table provides an overview of some of the state laws governing Texas fence law and links to their original documents.

(Video) What Should I do if My Neighbor's Fence is on My Property?

Boundary CaselawSpite Fences case lawEncroachment laws
Nolan v. Mendere, 14 S.W. 167, 168
Griffin v. Sansom, 72 S.W. 864, 864
Harrison v. Langlinais, 312 S.W. 2d 286Texas Agriculture Code, Chapter 143

State laws on fences and range restrictions.

Keep in mind; These laws are bound to change with time depending on the new legislation, federal court decisions, and other initiatives. Use the information provided above as a guide and research the latest regulations in your municipality.

FAQ’s

No! According to the Texas Agricultural code, a neighbor can’t remove your fence or a jointly owned fence without giving you a 6-month written notice first. They’ll first have to consult with you to get your approval for the decision.

If your fence is attached to the neighbor’s fence, they still have to give you a six-month notice before removing their fence.

However, if the fence lies on their side of their property line, they can remove it without your consent.

Fences over the property line are recognized by law as the property of the neighbor on whose side it’s on. This gives that neighbor the sole responsibility of maintaining and repairing the fence.

If your neighbor is building the fence and it has encroached into your land, you have the option to take legal action against them.

In a case where you’re both sharing responsibility for the fence, you should simply renegotiate your building plans then move the fence.

Texas is a ‘fence out’ or a ‘range open’ state. This means that by law, landowners with livestock are not obligated to construct a fence on their property to keep the animals in.

However, there are some exceptions to this law which are being implemented in different parts of Texas.

This includes the stock law, which states that some animals may be restricted from running at large in the county. The restriction varies in different Texas counties.

The state and federal highway law is another exception that also restricts the ‘fence out’ rule when it comes to highways. It states that any livestock owner shouldn’t knowingly allow their livestock to roam at large on or near the right-of-way of a highway.

Yes! With the Texan fence laws covering very few aspects about fencing, you can build a fence wherever you want on your property. You can even consult with the neighbor to see if you can get an agreement to attach fences.

However, be extremely cautious when it comes to property lines. Hire a surveyor if you must to ensure you don’t encroach into their property.

(Video) Understanding Right-of-Way & Easements

FAQs

Can my neighbor build a fence on the property line Texas? ›

Texas does not have a specific state law that addresses boundary line fences.

Can my neighbor tear down my fence Texas? ›

You do not want to be caught by surprise. Under this statute, a person may not remove a fence that is a separating or dividing fence in which the person is a joint owner or that is attached to a fence owned or controlled by another person, absent mutual agreement between the parties.

What is the rule of thumb for fence ownership? ›

There is no general rule about whether you own the fence on the left-hand or right-hand side of your property. So forget any 'rules' you've heard previously that state otherwise – not everyone will own the left-hand side of their fence.

What is the 7 year boundary rule? ›

The Seven Year Rule

So this is different from the so called 'Seven year rule' which comes from Section 157(4) of the Planning and Development Act 2000. This means local authorities can't serve enforcement notices for an unauthorised development when seven years have passed since the commencement of the development.

What can you do if your neighbor encroaches on your property Texas? ›

Your three basic options are:
  1. Go to court. Show that the land is yours, that your neighbor had no right to use it, and that the court needs to order him or her to remove the encroaching structure.
  2. Sell the land to your neighbor. The deck isn't encroaching that far onto your property. ...
  3. Talk it out.
25 May 2018

Can I replace my fence without Neighbours permission? ›

It is important to know that your neighbours are not legally obliged to fix or replace a fence, unless it is causing a safety issue. If you find yourself in the unfortunate position where your neighbours are refusing to take any action on their damaged fence, a final option may be to erect a new fence on your own land.

Who pays for fence repair between neighbors in Texas? ›

Landowner in Texas has no legal obligation to share in costs or future maintenance of fence built by neighbor, unless there was prior agreement to do so. If a boundary fence is destroyed by natural causes, a neighbor has no legal obligation to contribute to reconstruction.

Can my Neighbour build right to my boundary? ›

The party wall act allows an absolute right to build up to the boundary between you and your neighbour. It also allows you to build astride the boundary line, but only with your neighbour's consent.

Can a Neighbour claim my land? ›

Registered land

For adverse possession after 13 October 2003, a neighbour does not automatically acquire land simply by occupying it. After 10 years, the trespassing neighbour may apply to the Land Registry, however, the current owner will be given a chance to object via a counter notice.

How do you deal with a boundary dispute? ›

If you know where the boundary is and you don't need to follow the process for party walls, the best approach is to talk to your neighbour. Talk to them face to face if you can - make a note of what you agreed. If you don't feel comfortable speaking to them, write to them or ask someone to contact them for you.

Are you allowed to attach things to a fence? ›

The short answer to this question is, of course, “no”. If you own the fence and you have not granted your neighbour permission to do so, they are not allowed to attach or nail things to your fence.

Who gets the good side of the fence? ›

The finished side should face toward your neighbor. Not only is this more polite, but it's the standard. Your property will look a lot nicer with the “good” side facing the outside world. Otherwise, your fence will look like it was installed backward.

How long do you have to dispute a boundary? ›

You also need to bear in mind that boundaries can change by one owner or the other adversely possessing land, by occupying to the exclusion of all others for a period of 10 years in the case of registered land.

How long before you can claim ownership of land? ›

Minimum time requirements – Before any adverse possession application can be considered you must have been using (or in possession of the land) for at least ten years.

Can you sell a property with a boundary dispute? ›

Can you sell a house with a boundary dispute? The simple answer is yes, you can sell a house with an ongoing boundary dispute. However, there's a massive BUT – you must disclose the dispute to your buyer on the Seller's Property Information Form. If you fail to do so, your buyer could sue you.

How do I get rid of illegal encroachment? ›

The penalty for encroachment is provided under Section 447 of the IPC and it includes imprisonment of up to three months and/or fine of up to Rs 550. If you want to deal with encroachment in a legal way, you should approach the court as per Order 39 (rules 1, 2 and 3) for an order of injunction and claim damages.

What is the difference between encroachment and trespass? ›

Encroachment happens when someone traverses boundaries outlined in a survey, violating the property rights of another property owner. Encroaching on someone else's property is akin to trespassing—that is, entering another person's grounds without their express permission.

Can you put a fence on the property line? ›

In many cases, you can build the fence directly on a property line that is shared with someone else as long as it is agreed upon. If you shared a property line with a public entity, you may not be able to build directly on the line. You may need to step back the fence.

Who should pay for a boundary fence? ›

The owner of the fence is usually responsible for maintaining the fence. However, this is not always the case. The owner may wish to have the side without the posts – the best side – facing their garden and erect the fence and the posts entirely within their own garden.

Can you build a fence next to another fence? ›

Yes. Yes, you can build next to your neighbour's fence. As long as you're inside your property line you're fine. One consideration: your posts might have to be staggered relative to the fence posts of the existing fence.

Who owns a fence on a property line in Texas? ›

If the fence falls to one side of the property line, it is wholly owned by the property owner whose side it's on, according to Texas fencing laws.

Is Texas a fence out state? ›

Most Texans are quick to note that Texas is an “open range” or a “fence out” state, meaning that a livestock owner does not have a legal duty to prevent animals from getting onto the roadway.

Who owns a fence between two houses? ›

When looking at the plans, the ownership is indicated by a “T” marked on the plans on one side of a boundary. If the “T” is written on your side of the boundary, you're responsible for maintaining it. If there's an H (although actually it's two joined Ts) the boundary is the joint responsibility of both parties.

What is the 45 degree rule? ›

THE 45 DEGREE-CODE (Non-Terraced Property) To comply with the 45 degree code, First Floor extensions shall be designed so as not to cross the 45 degree line from an adjoining neighbour's nearest window which lights a habitable room or kitchen. The reference FIRST FLOOR EXTENSIONS.

Do I have to let Neighbour access my property? ›

Entering your neighbour's property without their permission is trespassing, and so you must obtain their consent before trying to gain access. The most sensible first step in this situation is therefore to speak to your neighbour and try to obtain their consent.

How close to your property line can you build? ›

15.14. 020 Summary of regulations.
TypeStandard
Yard buildings on common lotsUnder 6 ft. high: may be placed up to any property line subject to building or fire code limitations; 6 ft. – 8 ft. high: at least 3 ft. from any property line.
33 more rows

What proof do you need for adverse possession? ›

Foremost among these is proving you have had factual possession of the land and that you had the intention to possess said land. There must be a sufficient degree of exclusive physical control over the land and it is generally considered to show such control you must exclude all others.

How do you prove right of way? ›

A right of way can be claimed on the basis of user evidence (i.e. that the public has established a right of way by using a defined route over a period of time), or documentary evidence (i.e. based on historical documents such as Enclosure Awards or other old maps), or a combination of the two.

Does land become yours after 12 years? ›

Generally speaking, if you have been occupying lands that you do not own, rent or otherwise have permission to use in excess of 12 years (or in the case of Crown lands 30 years), without any objection from the registered owner, you can claim what is known as “adverse possession”.

What are the four types of boundary disputes? ›

Boundary disputes are a type of property litigation, most boundary disputes fit into one of four categories:
  • Plot line & party wall disputes.
  • Fence, landscaping and outbuilding disputes.
  • Access disputes.
  • Adverse possession claims.
24 May 2021

Who settles land disputes? ›

Aside from maintaining the land records created by the Patwari, the Tehsildar also hears land disputes between two or more parties and makes a decision after referring to the official records in his possession. Q. Land disputes are settled by the tehsildars.

What can you do if your neighbor builds a fence on your property? ›

You can take your case to court if you need to

If you had a survey done and have proof that the new fence or deck is on your land, then the court may agree that the deck and fencing has to be removed at your neighbor's expense. The court may also help you find another resolution that you can be happy with.

Can I paint my Neighbours fence on my side? ›

When it comes to fence painting, you can do whatever you want to your side of the fence. So, if it is your fence on both the outside and the inside, then you are free to do whatever you like in regards to painting.

Can my Neighbour lean things against my house? ›

Any direct or indirect interference with the possession of land can amount to a legal trespass. However, you do not physically have to walk or drive on land to become a trespasser, it is enough for you do something that interferes with the owner's possession of his property.

Can you grow plants up a Neighbours fence? ›

For creeping plants that will grow up and over your side of a neighbour's fence, you must ask permission from the owner of the fence, which will likely be graciously given.

What is a hit and miss fence? ›

What is hit and miss fencing? Hit and Miss fencing usually refers to a fence where the vertical boards are alternately fixed on the front and the back of the horizontal rail. The choice of posts, rails and boards is dependent on what the customer is trying to achieve.

How do I know which side of the fence is mine? ›

Either fence may belong to a property, and the simplest way to ascertain which belongs to a specific property is to check the deeds. Deeds will often indicate which boundary the property owner is responsible for. The documents may state it explicitly, but if they don't then a T-mark may be used instead.

Is there a law on which way a fence should face? ›

The rules are that the fence posts must be on the owners side of the boundary, but there is no law that states the smooth side must face either way. It is entirely their choice which way the fence will face.

Can my Neighbour build right to my boundary? ›

The party wall act allows an absolute right to build up to the boundary between you and your neighbour. It also allows you to build astride the boundary line, but only with your neighbour's consent.

How close can I build to my Neighbours boundary? ›

As a rule of thumb, a build that reaches 7.2 feet is considered acceptable and anything over that we do recommend speaking to your neighbour.

Do you need a permit to build a fence in Texas? ›

If you want to build a solid fence that tops six feet, or an open fence taller than eight feet, you'll need to apply for a permit. Front yard fences can only be four feet tall, and of an open design with 50% density.

Can you build on an easement in Texas? ›

Yes, you can build on a property easement, even a utility easement.

What is the 45 degree rule? ›

THE 45 DEGREE-CODE (Non-Terraced Property) To comply with the 45 degree code, First Floor extensions shall be designed so as not to cross the 45 degree line from an adjoining neighbour's nearest window which lights a habitable room or kitchen. The reference FIRST FLOOR EXTENSIONS.

Do I have to let Neighbour access my property? ›

Entering your neighbour's property without their permission is trespassing, and so you must obtain their consent before trying to gain access. The most sensible first step in this situation is therefore to speak to your neighbour and try to obtain their consent.

How close to your property line can you build? ›

15.14. 020 Summary of regulations.
TypeStandard
Yard buildings on common lotsUnder 6 ft. high: may be placed up to any property line subject to building or fire code limitations; 6 ft. – 8 ft. high: at least 3 ft. from any property line.
33 more rows

Can my Neighbour knock down a boundary wall? ›

If it has been built on your neighbour's land, don't panic. If the wall has been in the same place for more than 20 years without legal challenge, you have probably taken ownership of the land on which the wall is built, the land up to the wall as well). In that case, your neighbour can't knock it down.

What is overshadowing in planning? ›

The overshadowing assessment calculates the impact the proposed development will have on neighbouring private and public amenity spaces, such as gardens, parks and play areas.

Who owns a wall between two properties? ›

In the absence of 'T' marks or words confirming the position in the deeds, a wall is presumed to be jointly owned and maintained. Unfortunately, property deeds are so frequently silent on the ownership or maintenance of boundaries.

Who pays for a fence between neighbors Texas? ›

Landowner in Texas has no legal obligation to share in costs or future maintenance of fence built by neighbor, unless there was prior agreement to do so. If a boundary fence is destroyed by natural causes, a neighbor has no legal obligation to contribute to reconstruction.

Is Texas a fence in or fence out state? ›

Most Texans are quick to note that Texas is an “open range” or a “fence out” state, meaning that a livestock owner does not have a legal duty to prevent animals from getting onto the roadway. Technically, this is a true statement of the common law in Texas.

How far does a shed have to be from the fence in Texas? ›

You may not build within these spaces. If you shed will be more than 15 feet tall, then you must keep 10 feet from your rear property line clear and 5 feet from your side property line clear. You may not build within these spaces. There is also a 25 foot setback from your front property line.

Can a property owner block an easement in Texas? ›

For the most part, a property owner can't block an easement if it was already mentioned in the property's deed. If the property owner tries to contest the easement's boundaries, then it's a good idea to have a property survey conducted by a reputable local company in Guadalupe County, TX.

How wide is an easement in Texas? ›

The easements are limited to 30 feet.

How long does an easement last in Texas? ›

The easement use must be uninterrupted and continuous for a period of at least 10 years.

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