The Official Blog of The Fence Authority

How Close Can I Put A Fence to My Property Line?

Lattice top privacy fence

Lattice Top Privacy Panel Fence

Request a Quote for Fence Installation

Installing a fence directly on top of your property line may appeal to you if you want the maximum area available to play, plant, and relax in your yard. Whether or not doing so is actually a good idea depends on a few factors, including where you live and your neighbor’s feelings on the new fence. In this post, we’ll help you figure out how close you can build your fence to your property line and discuss common concerns related to fence placement and property usage.

What to Do Before You Install Your Fence

Get a Survey

In order to know if your fence is on your property line, inside your property line, or even on your neighbor’s property (yikes!), you’ll need a survey. Your county deed and assessor’s office may already have a copy, or you may have paid for one when you purchased your house. If not, these usually cost $500 to $1000 from a qualified surveyor. While this may seem expensive, it will save numerous headaches in the long run if you accidentally put the fence where it doesn’t belong. No one wants to rebuild their fence or address the issue in court with their neighbors!

Check Rules and RegulationsIs that the neighbor's property or your property on the other side of that fence?

Your jurisdiction may have laws about how far back a fence needs to be set on your property, which is typically 2, 4, 6 or 8 inches from the property line. Other areas will allow you to go right up to the property line. These laws may depend on where you live; think of a subdivision with large yards where the setback won’t matter vs. an urban row home where those few inches really make a difference! You’re more likely to be permitted to build right on the property line in a densely populated area, but it varies. If you live in an area with a homeowner’s association, they may also have rules about fence placement (not to mention what type of fence you can have in your front and back yards). Check your HOA covenants to make sure you are following the regulations.

If you build a fence directly on the property line, it may mean that responsibility is shared by you and your neighbor according to the law. This is great if your wants the fence too and is happy to split the cost, but if they’re not thrilled about it, you could find yourself in a nasty legal dispute.

Since we’re a fence company located in West Chester, PA, we’re well-acquainted with Pennsylvania fence law, which states that neighbors must share the cost of installation, maintenance, and repair if the fence is built on the property line. A good rule is to practice fence etiquette and discuss any fence you plan to build with your neighbor, and this is all the more vital if you’re encroaching on a shared property line.

If you’ve been having issues with your neighbors over property lines and fence-related disputes, you may be interested in our Fence Wars series:

What to Consider If Your Fence Is Inside Your Property Line

When you install a fence inside your property line, there are a few things you should be aware of when it comes to property maintenance, ownership, and your neighbors.

Fence Maintenance

When you place a fence a few inches inside your property line, you can’t forget about the part of your property outside the fence! While your neighbors might mow the additional strip of yard on their side to be nice, it’s technically your job to make sure the grass is cut and the weeds are pulled.

If your neighbors install a fence inside their property line as well, leaving a narrow strip of grass between the two fences, you will need to decide who will maintain it and make sure there is a way to access the area. On the other hand, if your fence is right on the property line, you will have to determine if your neighbors will be responsible for fence maintenance on their side, or if you will be able to access their yard to stain or repair your fence when needed.

This is one way to maintain your property that's been fenced off.

Prescriptive Easement

If you set a fence inside your property line and your neighbor is able to use the property outside of the line, that portion of your property may fall under prescriptive easement. Legally, this is a type of property easement that is earned by regular use of the property. While your neighbor would not gain a legal title to the land or be able to sell it, they may be able to claim a legal right to use the property. Clearly, if the property is outside of your fenced yard, it’s likely you are not regularly using it, which is where they may be able to claim prescriptive easement. This can make it difficult if you ever want to move the fence outward. It also may be an issue if you sell the house and the new owners think the property outside the fence is an issue because they don’t want to pay for unusable land.
Lots of setback from the property line.

Adverse Possession

Adverse possession is even more legally binding than a prescriptive easement. If the property “trespasser” (such as your neighbor who uses the small strip of land outside the fence) has exclusive and continuous use of the property for a number of years, he or she may claim adverse possession and legally gain ownership rights of the property. If your neighbor happens to pay taxes on that property, the adverse possession can be claimed in as little as five years, although this is very uncommon in a fence scenario! Still, be aware if you install a fence inside your property line that in 10, 20, or 30 years when your home may be sold or transferred, you or the new owners may be surprised to learn that your property is not as big as it used to be.
A fence installed on the property line.
Aside from practical matters like being able to use your full yard or abiding by local ordinances, selling your home may be impacted by the choices you make when you place a fence inside the property line.

Consult With an Expert If You’re Unsure About Fence Placement

You might want to consult with multiple people – including a realtor, your local government representative, your HOA president, your neighbors, and a fence installation professional – before making a final decision on how close you place your fence to your property line.

If you live in or near West Chester, PA, Montgomeryville, PA, or Smyrna, DE, you have an excellent resource at your disposal! The Fence Authority provides professional fence installation services as well as materials for building your own fence, and our Outdoor Living Experts will go above and beyond to ensure all your property line questions get answered.

To order fence parts or schedule professional installation,
call 800-431-4303 or contact us online!


  • Zequek Estrada says:

    I appreciated that list of people to consult if you’re planning on installing a fence. My husband and I want to have an aluminum fence installed around our property. However, talking to each of these people sounds like a great way to avoid any possible problems in the future.

    • Fence Authority says:

      Hi, Zequek! We’re glad you found the blog article helpful. Check out our website for more info about aluminum fencing:


      We’re here if you have any fence questions or concerns!

      • Jaz says:

        I have a question I live in Florida Sarasota county and I would like to know wen u buiding a fence how far is it from the metal peg to put the fence . Heeellppp

    • Stan says:

      What if the neighbor is an a-hole? That’s my problem. I would pay for the fence to be replaced, but am afraid they would call the cops on me when I started ripping it out.

      • Jody L Ridgley says:

        If it’s your fence they can’t say our do anything I’d it’s there’s then it’s ask there responsibly. If they are an a hole like you said then chances are even if you want to pay to replace it most likely they will deny you any way. But I’m no expert but if the fence is an eye sore and tore up then you probably can force them to replace it

  • Jason Hampton says:

    I have a question. My sisters and I inherited a property in town. The property has been the same for over 40 years, the fence s and everything. I met a guy that was in front the property saying that our fence line is 3 feet from where it should be. Not only that but that will take quite a bit of property because the fence will have to pulled back from the front of the property all the way to the back of the property. It’s not a square property, it’s more elongated.
    My other neighbor said that the fence has been the same for over 40 years and that he has no rights to change it now after all these years.
    My sister said just move the fence but my other sister said have him take us to court.

    Any suggestions/thoughts?

    • tyra says:

      Just move your fince, the cout will make you. Why go through the expence . Unless you can talk to the person and he agreed to let it be. Let him take you to court. Just be nice to him.

    • Lyn says:

      Don’t take someone else’s word for it. Pay for a boundary survey to mark where your lot lines are. Only then should you make a decision about whether to move the fence.

    • Terri says:

      I just read the ordinances from the town where my brother bought property and came across this exact thing. It’s in PA. The ordinance said you can ask for a one time variance from the fence ordinance due to the fact that the fence has stood in the same spot for more than 30 years. I’d go to the local zoning board first before ripping down a fence.

  • debi says:

    Neighbors pu up a nice fence but store there junk on my side, like cement block, awning, gutters ect
    That what I see out my kitchen window !!!

    • Terri says:

      If the junk is still on their property there is nothing you can do but put up your own fence to hide the hideous clutter.

  • Janet Pope says:

    My neighbors are redoing a fence in their back yard that also runs right up to my driveway (they have front entry garage, we have side with a long driveway that curves into a garage at the very side of the house). They are extending this fence to go down our driveway about 3/4ths of the way (very narrow, one car driveway). which is going to block my view of the neighborhood from my kitchen window and also my bay windows in dining room. Virtually most of my scenic view as these are the only windows to the front. I am considering this a “spite” fence. It has no purpose as the old fence closed off the normal way (at the side/back of a property) It will enclose nothing as it is just a barrier past the gate at the back.

    • Terri says:

      A front yard fence should not be able to exceed the height of 3.5′ or 4′ max. Rear yard fences can be up to 6′ usually.

  • Marion Macpherson says:

    A few years ago my neighbor erected a iron fence directly on the line . Now they have cleared down to the dirt a 3 foot path outside this fence and it is on my property. ( fence is over 100 ft long). They never even asked permission to do this. Do they even have the right to be on my property clearing my land that meets their fence??! I have put native shrubs not touching their fence and they have removed them. We are into permaculture and organic gardening, our style is much different then theirs as they have a very monocultured manacured yard and our is more of the bird sanctuary type. We also wonder if herbicide was used and is that allowed??? We don’t talk to these neighbors as we had differences in the past and just try to avoid them. we like peace but feel we are being trespassed on.

    • Nellie says:

      Sounds like my neighbors. See mostly dirt and brown grass from roundup in their yard. How can they be stopped from spraying in my yard. I’ve spoken to them and put up a fence. They continue to spray poison in my yard and pasture

  • Ophelia Simmons says:

    neighbor puts up a tacky wire fence using any kind of fencing with all sorts of poles. Then proceeds to plant plum trees,tiger worm tree and garden. Its on her property but the fence is not straight,plum trees are growing on my side which I think is her property and I’m the one who is keeping this side up. What should I do?

  • Marta montemayor says:

    What if my neighbor build his fence 1ft from supposedly my property line for he had it surveyed and put stakes as my line.he build his fence outside his property line like 5 feet .his stakes are inside his yard!!

  • kathy says:

    That’s horrible. Please tell them to move their stuff away from your fence, you saw red carpenter ants galore in that area!!

  • juanita says:

    My husband and I just purchased a home in November 2016. The neighbor’s fence were leaning onto our home and being held up by a broad against our bedroom window. We has an estimated done to our home where his trees damage our roof. After knowing that the fence is not on our property line and two and half feet onto our property. We paid for another survivor to come out. Do we let him take the over property or go to court. We had no problems from our other neighbor on our other side. The y wantthe area to look good.

  • I had no idea that my property needed to be surveyed before installing a fence. My yard happens to be very open and it makes me feel a little vulnerable. I would like to have a fence installed that could add some security around our perimeter.

  • Marcie Davies says:

    I need some help with a neighbor who has not spoken to us in the first 5 or so years she has lived next door, until her boyfriend moved in a year and half ago. He treated me in a condescending misogynistic manner and yes I resorted to calling him out on it with a expletive in tow. Small man, big ego. She,the owner, began e-mails with us concerning a wall at the back of her property, which became hostile and offensive. The wall is adjacent to our vacant flag lot at which the corner wall was moving and threatening our hot tub because of a failed drain system on her land, which somehow they think we are responsible for. Unless they were to dig it up to fix it. They sit 4 and 1/2 feet above us at this back corner, that radiates out and tapers to meet our property at the front and the easement on the north side. Our home was built in 1976 theirs in 1968. We lived next door to the previous owners and then their son for 6 years before it was sold to this lady. To say these folks are not nice people is an understatement, I would and have called them bullys! We had a survey done before any dispute began to locate our lot lines, nothing to do with them, we wanted to know where they were for our .35 acre lot and our home plat. Our intentions were to continue to maintain the roughly 10 x 45 foot strip between our homes as I was given permission to plant, bark dust etc…. in the area by the previous owner and to offer us some privacy from their open windows that face us. Again they are above us and have a full view into our home. The boyfriend once he moved in made this area and harassing us a focus. He threatened to tear out small trees and bushes that had been planted, and generally has made our lives miserable. They are now using our paid for lot markers to their advantage and are building a fence, knowing full well we are going to build along the line. We will then have no access to dig post holes, or to erect fencing if they do so. We have asked them to please give us the chance to recoup $6700 we spent to tear down the back failing wall (again their failed system became our legal obligation), and erect a new retaining wall with drain system. He would not allow the drain that has to sit up on their land to catch their run off to sit “one inch” on their side. We just don’t know what to do. We hired a lawyer in the beginning last August to help us determine who the wall belonged to, before the actual survey, and hoped they would help, they would not. We are out of money and out of ideas, Can anyone offer help?

  • LLJ says:

    My neighbor and I live in attached town homes. She built a fence in our shared front yard several inches from her property line. I removed the survey stakes that were left on my side of the fence. She called the police and told them I stole her stakes. I’m returning them, but wonder if they need to stay on my side of the fence since I try to beautify my side with plants and such.

    • Matt says:

      Technically, property markers should not be removed, unless they were paid for by you. My recommendation is to ask if you can place permanent concrete markers (or similar) that can be put on grade but will mark the property without having to leave steaks or flags in the ground at all times. Let them know it will be less of an issue in the long run , as stakes or flags deteriorate over time, but concrete markers are a more permanent solution. Even if they get buried over time, they usually have a steel rod in them that can easily be located with a metal detector. However, since you already removed them, you will likely need to have it surveyed again by a professional. Having a good idea where they were is not good enough.

  • Gwen says:

    I have a cyclone fence inside my property line. My neighbor hot wired the side facing his land and never told me, I got shocked. Is this legal?

  • nagabadri says:

    You’ll need to come to an agreement with them about building the fence, as well as details such as how high the new fence should be, what building materials it will be made of, and how much to spend on it. The Fencing Act 1978 provides that in general the occupiers of neighbouring properties that are not divided by an adequate fence have to contribute equally to the cost of work on a fence.

  • Barreto says:

    My neighbor is a trouble maker. We have a driveway easement and he maneuver his car in my half of the. Back yard in front of my garage.if I pay for a surveyor,can I fence my half of my yard?

  • Fences says:

    Chain Link fence. My property survey as does my neighbors says the CLK IS ON THE PROPERTY LINE. 4 FEET IN HEIGHT. WHO OWNS IT? I DON’T HAVE A POOL BUT NEIGHBORHOOD DOES..

  • Rgug says:

    Hi, I have decided to put up a black wire garden 2 foot fence like between myself and my neighbor because my bushes and other garden items. It looks and has an ownership appearance that shows whose property is whose, which i like, do I need a permit using this 12 foot 2 foot high wire fencing ? Thank you

  • Walt says:

    So if my neighbor puts a fence up right on the property line do they have a right to trespass on my property to maintain it? I don’t want them on my property period!

  • Jesus H Estrella says:

    My friend who lives in Queens County is putting up a vinyl fence right up to the property line. The fence posts extend two inches in front of the panel. My question is do we measure up to the line from the post or the panel?

  • Stacey says:

    My neighbor put up a white plastic privacy fence 6inches onto my property. I had my BBQ grill next TNT old chain link fence for the past 10 years which he took down and while putting up his fence.
    I started up my grill today not even thinking about his fence and the heat from my BBQ discolored and slightly warped the fence facing my side of the property.
    Am I responsible now to replace the piece of fencing? …The fence facing his property is 100% fine

  • jim says:

    A neighbor built a fence like 6 inches off the property line like 8 years ago. He never took care of my side. I take care of it. for 3 years I’ve put my pile of wood (for the fireplace) up to/close to the 4×4 studs and he brings up that I can’t do that. Is there general a rule of how far things need to be away from a fence that is practically on the property line or even on the property line? I have no problem moving the pile, when I get time in the next week but but he didn’t want it there anyway….I then asked him to move his 1+ feet x 8 feet deep of debris from my fence on another part of our property (on the line I believe) in the other corner of the yard…which is actually contributing to rotting the bottom of my fence. He said No. it’s natural stuff despite it being dumped there for years. Funny, I could argue about the firewood being natural.

  • Monty Gold says:

    A neighbor wants to install a fence bordering my property. However it will prevent me from using a 10 ft right of way . This is in Boston ,mass and was wondering what my rights were I spoke to the neighbor and suggested a gate with a lock that we both had a key to. He didn’t see to like that idea.
    Please advise.
    Thank you

  • Stephen McDaniel says:

    Sorry, but I am in Orlando, FL. Orange County, un- incorporated, and I am wanting to put up an 8′ fence on the road side, as I am a corner lot, and have had an *’ would wood fence before, no problem, but the hurricane tore it up, so I now wanting to put up a 8′ White Vinyl fence and this fence is in my yard it would sit about 4 feet from the sidewalk, but I need it as kids have jumped over other folks 6 foot fence so I want it for security and for privacy, so the is my issue. my address is 1600 Providence Cr. Orlando FL. 32818-5710. Thank You, I hope You can give me some thoughts.

  • lizz says:

    I live in Fla. and I’m tired of my next door neighbor putting their trash in my garbage can when theirs gets full.The city provide us 2 bins one for trash and 1 for recycle items.There’s so many people live there but they started parking their cars in the side of the house between our property line.They park so close to my house I can’t even get around to my garbage can and air conditioner unit.Sometimes they park a trailer. I’ve had it. I’m going to put a fence in between out property line next month.And even install CCTV. They don’t talk to me and always avoid eye contact. I don’t care what they do, just get off my property. Already called the city and nothing they can do about it. I was advice I can put 6 ft. fence on the side and 4 ft. high in the front.

  • Ripgirl says:

    I am considering continuing a portion of fence I had installed in 2016. The small portion installed is on the side of my house well inside the property boundry so it separates my yard there from a portion of their driveway that extends along the side of their house. Long story short, my house was built 2014, theirs 1970 ish. Their patio landscaping is on my lot so for me to fence my entire yard would be difficult and I’m not trying to start a war by asking them to remove large shrubs etc. But I want to fence from the corner of my property in the backyard as far as I can down the side to meet up as close as it can, taking into account aforementioned landscaping, with the other fence. This is now to keep their pooping dogs out of my yard. Not sure about the front yard yet as no one else has fences. I plan on putting this new section of the fence slightly inside my propery line and edge the outside with large stones, so their landscapers do not damage my fence with their huge mowers, leaving enough space for me to maintain the outside my fence. I am in New Hanover Twp Pa and there is no setback. My boundary markers are still in place. Is this an issue even though its on my property?

  • Burt Silver says:

    I like what you pointed out about property lines and who is responsible for which side. My wife and I are wanting to put a fence around our property to keep the neighbors dogs out and to keep the kids safer. Thanks for the useful tips and information!

  • electrician Pinellas County says:

    Quality articles is the crucial to be a focus for the viewers to go to see the web
    site, that’s what this web site is providing.

  • Retaining Wall says:

    An impressive share! I have just forwarded this onto a friend who
    was doing a little research on this. And he actually ordered me lunch simply because I discovered it
    for him… lol. So let me reword this…. Thank YOU
    for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending some time to talk about this subject here on your web page.

  • Karin with sick bipolar neighbor says:

    Can a nasty neighbor purposely smoke us out to get back at us for putting up a vynol fence? They hear us outdoors mowing or enjoying our yard and their fire pit gets stokes up… just when the wind is going in our direction. Burning paper, garbage, who knows, sometimes I think it could be toxic on purpose…. and aybe also meaning to heat up and speed up the determination of our fence. Heat, cold, repeatedly, the fence eould have a halflife expectency. Also, what if huge branches hanging over need to be professionally cut, is that on us? That’s hundreds of dollars…

  • Brenda says:

    I have a 6 ft privacy fence on the property I bought 2 years ago . The neighbor on the other side had their property surveyed so it moved the property Lin’s about 3 ft past the fence . Neighbors on the side with the fence have been parking their ever on that 3 ft piece and have even had it black topped . Since you have to leave a 3 ft space to maintain the side next to the neighbor can they claim that piece of property?

  • Brenda says:

    My neighbor had their property surveyed and are being really petty. I have a 4 ft section for decoration with 1 end of the fence 3 inches back from the property line and the other pist is on the property line, because the property line is on an angle and I don’t want it to look crooked from the road. I can easily maintain the 2 posts on under it for maintence

  • Tom says:

    Thanks for this article!

  • Delta Fence & Construction says:

    Well worth a read. Got great insights and information from your blog. Thanks.

  • Eric Sibley says:

    My neighbor put up a fence without having a survey done. He claims that he owns a two foot strip on my side. He continues to mow that stip. What can I do?

  • Nancy Griffin says:

    Can a neighbor put a fence on the property line and put the ugly side facing me?

1 Trackback

⚠ Unsupported Browser ⚠

The Fence Authority probably won't work great in this browser.

We generally only support the recent versions of major browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. Use this one at your own risk.

⚠ Unsupported Browser ⚠ The Fence Authority may not work properly in this browser.