Everybody wants to protect whatever is their legal property. Even if you are best friends with your neighbor, you’ll still expect them to observe the property boundary lines.

When one party or neighbor takes your relationship for granted, a fence and boundary line dispute may arise. And while mediation can help resolve the matter, knowing what the Connecticut fence laws say about the issue might come in handy.

Can I replace an existing fence without a permit?

In most neighborhoods, you won’t need a permit to repair or replace an existing fence that’s shorter than 6 feet. Some local ordinances may, however, require you to obtain a building permit for the replacement of any existing fence.

How tall can a privacy fence be in Connecticut?

In residential districts, most zoning regulations have set a maximum fence height of 6 feet. The front yard fence is restricted to 4 feet for visible fences (e.g., pickets, chain links), while the rear and side fences are limited to 6 feet.

Solid fences are capped at 3 feet for the front yard.

In commercial and industrial districts, fences may go over the maximum height of 7 feet by obtaining a permit from the local zoning officer.

Who owns the fence on property lines in CT?

Connecticut fence laws recognize the fence on the property line to be under the ownership of both adjoining neighbors.

Under Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 47-49, even if one neighbor built the entire fence, if the adjoining neighbor uses it such that it encloses his/her land, the neighbor has to purchase and maintain half the costs of the division fence.

If you both can’t agree regarding the fence maintenance or repairs, you can involve a team of fence viewers who assess and determine the required repairs. In many cases, the repairs will have to be completed within 15 days by the ignorant neighbor.

If the repairs aren’t made within this 15-day notice, the other party can go ahead and handle the repairs or maintenance, then by law, request double the repair costs as estimated by the fence viewers.

How do you know where the property boundary is?

Many homeowners recognize their property boundaries from the position of an old fence, natural features such as a ditch, and small stream, or other structures that act as boundary markers.

However, these structures aren’t always accurate ways of determining your property’s boundary.

The best way to determine your property lines is through conducting surveys or checking the property’s survey records.

Most surveyors will leave survey pins or monuments to make it easier for you to find the property boundaries.
You can also check if the boundary details are located on your title deed. If not, consult the local assessor’s office for a plat map of your neighborhood.

Can my neighbor build a fence on the property line?

Yes! If your neighbor wishes to build a fence on the property line, they can do so, as long as it won’t enclose your property. Otherwise, they’ll first have to consult you so you can agree on its construction and maintenance responsibilities.

If you don’t agree with the fence division or its appraisal, the Connecticut fence laws allow the neighbor to call on certified selectmen (fence viewers) to make the division and have you cover the costs. This process is all documented in writing and recorded in the local town clerk’s office.

What is a spite fence?

A spite fence refers to any unusually tall fencing structures, including hedges and bushes, constructed for no useful purpose to the owner. They’re usually meant to annoy, injure or disrupt the enjoyment of a neighbor’s property in some way.

Does Connecticut have a “spite fence” law?

Connecticut is one of the few states that have a statute regarding spite fences. According to the CGS § 52-570, the law allows individual property owners to file a lawsuit against an adjacent neighbor that erects such a structure.

If you win the claim, the court can issue an injunction against the structure and even award you money damages. You’ll, however, have to prove that the neighbor built that fence with the intention to annoy or harm you.

Connecticut boundary fence laws at a glance

This table provides an overview of some of the state laws governing Connecticut’s fence laws and links to their original documents.

StatuesDivision Fence: RepairsSpite Fences
Repair of Division Fence: Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. 47-51

Spite Fence Statutes: Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. 52-480, Section 52-570

Boundary Fence: Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 47-49
If a person neglects to keep the division fence in good repair, the aggrieved party may call on the fence viewers to assess the fence.

If the fence viewers find the fence insufficient, they will immediately give written notice to the person who is required to make the repairs.

If the repairs are not made within fifteen days from the time of the notice, the aggrieved party may make the repairs and recover double the repair costs estimated by the fence viewers and the fence viewers' fees.

The sums are a lien on the property and are recorded in the town clerk's office within sixty days from the time of completing such repairs; the liens may be foreclosed in the same manner as the foreclosure of mortgages.
An injunction may be granted against the malicious erection of a structure intended to annoy or injure an adjacent owner.

An action may be maintained by the owner against an adjacent owner who maliciously erects any structure on the property with the intent to annoy or injure the plaintiff/ landowner's use of their property.

Keep in mind; These laws are bound to change with time depending on the new legislation, federal court decisions, and other initiatives. Use the information provided above as a guide and research the latest regulations in your municipality.

FAQ's

Boundary fences are usually recognized as the property of adjoining neighbors. In Connecticut, the law also demands that an adjacent neighbor has to purchase and cover half the costs for a partition fence if it encloses their land.

The Connecticut fence laws allow individuals to file a suit against a neighbor who has erected that fence. If the court finds that the neighbor built that fence with ill-intention, it can issue a ruling to have it removed.

However, these laws don’t cover other fence dispute claims on other grounds e.g., a private nuisance.

It depends on the fence ownership agreement you have in place. For a shared fence, the neighbor may hang things on their side of that fence. But if the fence is 100% on your side of the property line, then the neighbor doesn’t have a right to do so. If they do, you can sue them for trespassing.

Yes! As the owner of the fence, you have the right to paint your fence however you see fit, per the regulation of your local Homeowners Association.

However, your neighbor must always ask for your permission to paint their side, even if the fence is inside their property.

Some local district regulations also require that the good side of the fence should face your neighbor. So, you might have to fence both sides of the fence to avoid any legal disputes.

Yes! If you can’t seem to agree with your neighbor regarding a common fence, building a fence on your property next to theirs is always a better option.

A quick tip when doing this is to ensure your fence is setback at least a foot or two from the property line to ensure you don’t encroach into their property.

Yes, you can. If the boundary lines between your properties are ambiguous, you can have a legally binding written agreement on where the boundary should be. This agreement will stand even for the latter buyers of the property.

Your first step if you notice your neighbor has started encroaching into your property is talking to them. If possible, ask them to cost-share in hiring a surveyor who’ll define your boundary lines, then ask them to move their structures.

If you can’t agree, seek third-party intervention through mediation to avoid the hefty legal courts. But if that also fails, you can involve a good real estate lawyer to represent you in a legal suit.

Yes, you can if you know the location of your property lines. Putting up a fence without a survey increases the chances of you encroaching into your neighbor’s property. This could result in several lawsuits and damages your relationship with the neighbor.

Additionally, you could lose part of your land through adverse possession by doing so if you end up constructing the fence too far inside your property line.

Timothy Munene
Author: Timothy Munene - Timothy is a freelance writer and an online entrepreneur.