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What You Need to Know About California Fence Laws

January 21, 2019

If you’re looking to get a new fence in California, it’s important to know about the laws surrounding fences and home improvement projects. Our post will go over some important things to keep in mind.


Good Neighbor Fence Act

If you have a fence that’s on a boundary line with a neighbor, then you should know about the “Good Neighbor Fence Act.”


The “Good Neighbor Fence Act” of 2013 states: “Adjoining landowners are presumed to share an equal benefit from any fence dividing their properties and, unless otherwise agreed to by the parties in a written agreement, shall be presumed to be equally responsible for the reasonable costs of construction, maintenance, or necessary replacement of the fence.”


This means if you (or your neighbor) plan on getting a new fence that’s on the boundary line, you’ll most likely be sharing the costs. There are a few scenarios where a court can overrule the presumption. For example, if it’s proved that the cost would be too much for one owner and a few other reasons that are listed in the law. You can read more about the details here.


To comply with the law, be sure to send your neighbor a notice of your intent to install a fence on a boundary line at least 30 days before you start.


Fence Height and Permits

According to the California Building Code, Chapter 1, Section 105.2., a permit isn’t required if the fence is less than 7 feet in height. However, keep in mind that you still must follow any other applicable laws and ordinances. Not requiring a permit to build a fence doesn’t mean that you’re free to do whatever you please with the design or placement of the fence.


Check any local laws, or if there are restrictions made by your homeowner’s association before getting your fence installed. Typically, fences can’t be taller than 4 ft. for your front yard, and can’t be taller than 6 ft. for your back yard. Please note that this could vary based on your area, check your local ordinances beforehand to make sure you know what the restrictions are.


Call Before You Dig

Before you can begin digging on your property, it’s important for the land to be surveyed and have the utilities marked. This is done by contacting an Underground Service Alert organization (811). This service is free to use. Failure to call before digging can result in fines of up to $50,000.


By surveying the property before digging, you can avoid a major accident, such as hitting a utility line, which could result in injury or death. You can read more about the process here.



We hope you have a better idea of the laws and regulations that relate to getting a fence in California.


Our customers have mentioned how our itemized quotes make splitting costs with their neighbors an easier process. We also take care of calling 811 to inspect the property so you don’t have to.


If you live in the Bay Area or Sacramento and are looking for fence installation, click here to get a free quote. We're licensed, insured, and always make sure to follow the local regulations, so you don't have to worry about a thing.


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