Fence Laws & Regulations in New Jersey

If you are a homeowner in the garden state and want to install a new fence, be sure to check out the state and local regulations first!
Renee Lewis
Renee Lewis
Last Update:
June 14, 2024

There are many reasons to put up a new fence! Maybe your old one is getting old and you need to replace it, or maybe you are putting up a new fence for the first time. Fences are a great way to provide privacy and security for property owners in their front yards or back yards. No matter what type of fence you like, a new fence can really increase the aesthetic appeal of your own property.

Installing a new fence is a big project for most property owners - so it is important to get it right the first time and make sure the fence you build meets your state’s fence regulations. Most states have regulations that say what fences can be made of - especially in residential areas, fence heights, how to coordinate with neighbors on shared property lines, and safety rules.

Let’s go over the fence regulations for the garden state - New Jersey! One thing to keep in mind generally is that New Jersey state law requires homeowners to adhere to their local municipality’s rules about fences. So even if the state law may not say anything about the type of fence you want to build, the town may have an ordinance against it. So make sure you check both state and local regulations before installing your new fence!

Fence Materials Regulations

Fence materials regulations new jersey

There are many New Jersey state regulations regarding fences that are in agricultural areas. Such fences must be able to keep the animals inside and from straying of course. As for residential areas, the rules are fewer!

On fence materials, New Jersey administrative code 1966-7.7 says that: “No fence or wall shall be constructed with metal spikes, or topped with concertina or razor wire, broken bottles, or similar materials, or constructed in such manner as to be dangerous to animals or humans.”

There may also be local municipal rules regarding what fence materials are allowed. And you should definitely do some research on that ahead of making too many plans for your new fence.

For example, the New Brunswick township does not allow any fences to be made from sharp materials like barbed wire. The township also requires that the finished side of the fence face the outside of the property with the unfinished or structural side on the inside. Finally, New Brunswick’s municipal regulations require fences to be painted one color only.

Some of those rules overlap with state law, but you do want to be sure you have met municipal codes from your local government as well as state law before you invest too much time in planning your fence!

Fence Height Regulations

Fence height regulations

As with most states, the garden state also requires that fences be no higher than four feet in the front yard. The maximum height is six feet in the side and rear yards. If you live on a corner lot, sometimes homeowners have had problems defining which is the front yard versus the side or rear yards.

Be sure to check with your local municipality, or local fencing companies, to be sure that your town’s rules align with your fence plans! Even if you do plan a DIY fence project in mind, there is no harm in talking to the fencing professionals to gather information!

These rules also apply to fences made of landscaping like bushes or hedges.

Property Line and Fences Regulations

Fence property line

If you are putting up a fence between your own property and a neighbor’s property, then you need to be sure you have communicated with the owner of the adjacent property about your plans. Both of you must be in agreement about where the property line is in order to make sure there are no problems down the road with the new boundary fence.

To make sure you do not have problems with your current neighboring property owner or a new person that buys the property - you know how real estate is these days - you may even want to get a surveyor to come in and survey the property line to be sure.

The partition fence should be built at least 6 inches from your property line, and up to one foot away from the property line.

Sometimes, when neighbors do not have a good relationship, one of them puts up what is called a “spite fence”. A spite fence is a fence meant to annoy or upset your neighbor. This could mean it is put up too high to block the view or is made to be ugly and aesthetically unappealing to the other neighbor. Such fences are not outlawed in New Jersey state law. However, all fences require a zoning permit - or fence permit - for construction, and this barrier is enough to prevent most people from constructing fences purely out of spite.

If you do end up in a situation where you believe your neighbor has constructed a spite fence, be sure to bring it to the attention of your township committee or other local government representatives.

Fence Safety Regulations

Finally, there are some fence laws aimed at safety concerns. As we stated in the first section, there are a lot of state regulations regarding agricultural fences meant to keep animals inside. For example, any fence keeping animals in must be at least 4 feet and 2 inches high.

As for residential zones, fence safety regulations are related to swimming pools. Any homeowners in residential areas must install a fence around rear yard swimming pools. State law says that fences around swimming pools must be at least 54 inches tall.

While many homeowners are technically capable of putting up most basic types of fences as a DIY project, it can be much easier to hire a professional. They will be familiar with the state regulations and local municipal codes as well. That means you will not have to mine the internet and learn how to read through legislative code to find out, which is always a good thing!

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