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Do I have the right to unilaterally erect a fence or wall on my property boundary?

Santa Barbara, CA |

The existing division between our home and our neighbor's property is light chain link and spare vegetation. We lack privacy and our neighbors are very disagreeable people. We have just completed a survey with a licensed surveyor, and we wish to erect a fence or wall on the boundary line, but we do not expect our neighbors will agree to it or agree to share the cost. Can we imply erect the boundary fence or wall without the neighbor' permission?

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Attorney answers 1


Generally, yes. However, if you live in a common interest development there may be special rules and regulations which you need to consult first. In addition, you will have to consult your local ordinances regarding height, etc., and you should not, without your neighbor's agreement, remove the chain link fence. Your fence should be entirely on your property. A reputable fencing contractor in your area should be familiar with your local regulations.

Words of caution: Do not erect a “spite fence.” Civil Code Section 841.4: “Any fence or other structure in the nature of a fence unnecessarily exceeding 10 feet in height maliciously erected or maintained for the purpose of annoying the owner or occupant of adjoining property is a private nuisance.”

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