California Fence Building Law Basics under the Good Neighbor Fence Act

California’s Boundaries and Neighbor Fence Laws

It is common for people in California to build houses closely. It may be difficult to erect or maintain fences under such circumstances. Every year, many disputes arise in California because homeowners have no understanding of the laws surrounding installation and maintenance.

The California Good Neighbor Fence Act says that adjoining landowners must share an equal benefit from a fence that divides their properties unless otherwise agreed to in a written document by the parties. The landowners are also presumed equally responsible for the costs of construction, maintenance, or the necessary fence replacement. However, a California court can overrule such presumptions in some scenarios. For instance, if the California fence law proves that the cost may overwhelm one of the owners.

California law states that if a neighbor intends to cover the costs for a boundary fence, they have to give a 30-day prior written notice to every affected adjoining landowner.

As per the California Building Code, Chapter 1, Section 105.2., a person does not need a permit if erecting a fence less than seven feet in height. However, not requiring the permit does not mean that one is free to do whatever design or placement of the fence that they need.

A neighbor may ask another to contribute the construction, maintenance, or replacement of a fence, but they refuse. California fence law does not have any penalties for any person who refuses to contribute. For a neighbor asking another to contribute, it is highly probable that it would make sense to pay for the fence if the other refuses.

According to the California fence law, one can sue their neighbor if they believe that they built a fence or wall to spite, annoy, or irritate them intentionally. For instance, whereby a neighbor has intentionally blocked the view of the other from their home to specific scenery or landscape, they can sue them under the private nuisance law. To win such a case, the fence, wall or hedges should be more than ten feet in height.

In California, trees are a beloved part of the landscape and are highly protected. California law requires a person to be careful about cutting branches and roots, even if they extend onto their property.


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