What is a Good Neighbor Fence?

Do you have a fence that shares a boundary line with a neighbor? If so, then you may know that it can be difficult to get your fence replaced.
Jimmy Soldatos
Jimmy Soldatos
Last Update:
January 8, 2023

Do you have a fence that shares a boundary line with a neighbor? If so, then you may know that it can be difficult to get your fence replaced. No one wants to be stuck with the backside of a fence facing their yard, especially if they're paying for a portion.

However, a "good neighbor fence" can help homeowners on both sides be satisfied with what they see from their yard.

There's no need to have an eyesore on one side of the fence. Here are a few things you need to know about good neighbor fences.

What is a good neighbor fence?

Typically, normal fences will have the presentable side with boards facing outwards, with the posts and stringers facing in towards the yard. But, a good neighbor fence is built differently and looks identical on both sides. This is especially important when it comes to a shared fence on a boundary line with a neighbor. No one needs to compromise and accept that they have the "bad side" if you use this kind of fence. Good neighbor fences can be built to different fence heights, depending on their location and use case.


What's the law for a good neighbor fence?

While there technically aren't state laws regulating the aesthetics of a fence, you do need to keep in mind local ordinances and covenants, conditions & restrictions (CC&R's) may regulate that.

You also need to know the laws surrounding installing a new fence on a boundary line as well, typically referred to as "good neighbor fence" laws.

California fence law 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."

If you'd like, you can read more about the law here.

Because of these regulations, you'll typically be sharing the cost of a new fence if you have an adjoining neighbor.

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What do I need to do if I want a fence on a boundary line?

You must make sure you send your neighbor a notice of your intention to build a new fence, at least 30 days before you start. Of course, they also must agree with your intentions to build a new fence as well.

Here's a list of what the notice must include:

How can I bring this topic up with my neighbor?

If the fence runs along a property line you share with a neighbor, the installation could benefit both of you. First, broach the subject of the fence as a shared resource with your neighbor. If they agree that the fence them benefits too, that's a good time to propose the idea of sharing costs.

We understand that entering financial agreements with friends and neighbors can be awkward,

So here are some tips to help you:

Is it possible for my neighbor to refuse sharing costs?

In some cases this could be possible. The previously mentioned law has these guidelines in reference to whether or not there isn't a "shared benefit" for the fence:

These guidelines are important to keep in mind when deciding on the kind of fence you want installed, costs, design, etc. It'd be best to discuss such things with your neighbor beforehand. Some communication in the beginning could save you from potential problems later on.

Now that you know what a good neighbor fence is, the laws surrounding them, and what you need to do to get one, you'll be all set with starting the process of getting a new fence that both you and your neighbor can enjoy.

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