Texas Fencing Laws - Ownership Between Neighbors?

meloout831

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Hi, anyone in Texas know about laws regarding disputes between neighbors and fencing? I have not been able to find anything online.

I'd like to rebuild my fence on my property line after getting a survey done. Would the fence (after being built by me, and using my own funds) be considered mine? Do I need to ask my neighbor for permission to build even if it's on my property line? Also, when I bought the property, the previous owner built the fence, but my neighbor claims "it's both of ours," yet he has not contributed with money to helping maintain it. All these years, I have been the one to do the maintenance in order to keep my animals fenced-in. Any information is greatly appreciated. Thanks.
 

Grant

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If the fence is fully on your property, it is yours. Beyond that it gets muddy. That fully on your property can be 1/2 inch inside the line. Fences on property lines are typically co-owned, unless there is an agreement between the neighbors. As with all real estate agreements, it needs to be in writing. If you put up a fence with the posts 1/2 on your property and 1/2 on the neighbor, you are technically trespassing.
 

meloout831

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If the fence is fully on your property, it is yours. Beyond that it gets muddy. That fully on your property can be 1/2 inch inside the line. Fences on property lines are typically co-owned, unless there is an agreement between the neighbors. As with all real estate agreements, it needs to be in writing. If you put up a fence with the posts 1/2 on your property and 1/2 on the neighbor, you are technically trespassing.
Thanks for the info. I figured if it's within the property line the fence would be mine. I definitely want to survey the property before building. I'll keep doing my homework as well. So stressful.. 🙂
 

farmerjan

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There are several members here that live in Texas and would be a better source of knowledge. However, there are also quite a few websites that deal with Texas fence laws so I am not sure why you cannot find anything on line about it. You need to go to your county and specifically look up fence laws for your county. Because Texas is basically a free range state, the laws are different than for areas that are not. Here in our county in Va we are "free range" but the county adjacent is not... so it is a "fence out" county as opposed to a fence in county. It specifically states the different rules for fences that are between neighbors, how high a fence must be to be considered "legal" , who is responsible for what etc and so forth. Most all of that can be found online with a search for your particular county.
Here if a fence is on the property line, and say we have animals and you do not, then we are responsible for the upkeep of it. If both landowners have livestock, then both are responsible. There are rules about one wanting to rebuild the fence, the steps one must take to notify the other property owner in order for both to be equally financially responsible. It requires a notarized letter of intent by the property owner wanting to rebuild the fence; and the time they are allowed to answer back and all that. Very specific and technical. If we build the fence, and we have the animals and you do not, then there are ways that you can get out of paying for it. But if you do get animals down the road, then we could come back on you to pay for half of the fence.

There are alot of different rules and laws. If the fence is built entirely on your own side of the property line, and here it is a minimum of 6"( in some places) to be considered totally your own fence, then the neighbor is neither responsible for it, nor can they use it as a "boundary fence " for their property. I know one guy who built a new fence approx 2 ft on his side of the property line, then mows the grass on the outside of his fence, but still on his property. The adjoining neighbor cannot use the fence, nor can he stop the property owner from maintaining the grass on the outside of the fence as long as he stays on his own side of the property line. It was over some spraying of weeds and such and the one owner not wanting his animals to get in contact with the weed killer.

Again, you need to research your particular county/city laws.
 

farmerjan

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Most all farmers in this area work together with each other on fences and such. But there are alot of outsiders moving into areas that are "farms", and so the laws have gotten more specific and exact so that there are no lawsuits down the road. We have has some problems with people moving in and then wanting to take out old but still existing fences and have had to go to court a couple of times to stop the new landowners from forcing us to pay for new fences that they want because they are "nicer", or newer, and the existing fences do what they need to do as far as containing our animals. Used to be the adjoining farmers would get together and just build it together, or one would buy materials and the other would do the work, or one would just pay for half the cost when it was done. Especially for farmers that might be older or physically unable to do the work, or sometimes it is in the best interest of all to just pay an experienced fence builder to come in and get it done.... a couple of days, and it is done and finished and no one dragging it out or broken equipment problems or whatever to deal with.
 

Baymule

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Hi @meloout831 we are in Texas. We bought our place 5 years ago. We put up the fence. The back of our property backs up to a 1,000 acre high wire fenced ranch. His fence is offset 3' inside his property and no one can tie onto it. He also laid wire on the ground, hog ringed to the bottom of his fence to keep predators from digging in. We built our fence on the property line.

On the north side of our property, there are 6 places of 2 acres each that back up to our property line. 2 of them were fenced. So we put up fence on the property line, and tied onto the corner posts of the existing 2 fences. It was ok with both neighbors. One neighbor wanted to put up pipe corners, he put them 2" inside his line and we ran the wire. He also put up pipe stretchers framing a walk through gate so we can visit. Another neighbor put a 12' gate in his fence so he can let our horses in to eat the grass. He has a key to our tractor, so he can take it through the back when he needs it. We visit back and forth.

On the front of our property, there is county road easement, so we put the fence on the property line.

On the south side is an 8 acre strip like ours. He was not interested in contributing towards the fence, didn't care if we put it on the line, inset it or anything, except for 1 huge pine tree that straddles the line. They didn't want it cut, neither did we, so we set posts over the line on their side, giving the tree "grow room" and they were happy about that. We put the fence on the line.

We paid for all the fencing. We consider it to be ours. Nobody cares. Nobody maintains it but us.

In your case, if you want to inset your fence, you have to record it at the county so that it doesn't become the "new" property line and you lose footage somewhere down the line. Or at least, that is what I have always been told. You might want to check on that. If you inset the fence, leave up the old fence and let the neighbor maintain it, since it is "both of yours". LOL He cannot legally tie onto your fence. Since he claims the old fence, let him have it.
 

YourRabbitGirl

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Hi, anyone in Texas know about laws regarding disputes between neighbors and fencing? I have not been able to find anything online.

I'd like to rebuild my fence on my property line after getting a survey done. Would the fence (after being built by me, and using my own funds) be considered mine? Do I need to ask my neighbor for permission to build even if it's on my property line? Also, when I bought the property, the previous owner built the fence, but my neighbor claims "it's both of ours," yet he has not contributed with money to helping maintain it. All these years, I have been the one to do the maintenance in order to keep my animals fenced-in. Any information is greatly appreciated. Thanks.
Many Texans are quick to remember that Texas is an "open range" or a "fenced out" state, meaning that the owner of the livestock does not have a legal responsibility to prohibit the animals from reaching the lane. Technically, this is a valid declaration of common law in Texas.
 

meloout831

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Thanks, everyone! I appreciate every comment, and has helped me understand more in what needs to be done. I'll keep researching before getting my fence. 👍
 

Ridgetop

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I suggest that you also talk to your neighbors about fencing. Is the fence you are replacing just ugly or is it actually falling down and not repairable. Discussing fencing with neighbors is always a good thing before doing the fencing. Remember that some types of fencing are not good for certain species too. Talking to your neighbors first may save you money in the long run. Glad you are planning to survey since that is a must before fencing.
 
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