If you’re ever in a dispute with your neighbor concerning your fence or property line, how you handle the matter will be critical. Most property line fence disputes can be easily resolved if you remain civil when handling the matter.
However, some cases can escalate quickly, and so, you might need to involve the Kentucky fence laws to resolve the matter.
Here are some of the most important laws you should know.
Yes! As with most states in the country, you can erect a fence at your pleasure inside your property line. But you’ll still need to observe the fence height restrictions imposed by the Kentucky State laws.
If you construct the fence just a few inches from the property line, some laws still consider the fence subject to the state’s fence laws.
If you’re building the wall out of spite for the neighbor, the neighbor might sue you in court to have the erected fence removed.
Therefore, even if the fence will be on your property, getting your neighbor’s opinion about it should be your first step.
Does a fence determine property lines?
Not really. While most fences are constructed on property lines, most of them are wildly inaccurate. Some fences encroach into a neighbor’s property, while others were constructed a few inches from the property line.
If you don’t know the location of your property lines, hiring a surveyor may be the best way to determine it.
You can also read the legal description on your title deed to find the defined property lines, or check the local county clerk’s office or website which also has details showing the property lines.
Do I need a permit to build a fence in Kentucky?
It depends on the height of the fence you want to put up. Different districts in Kentucky have different zoning requirements that warrant a permit. In most districts, you’ll need a permit if you want to build a fence taller than 7 feet.
You’ll also need a permit to build a fence around your swimming pool, or close to other major public easement properties. Some zones also require a site work permit if your land requires grading or soil removal.
Permits provide the state’s fence height restrictions, designs, and the materials allowed. Each permit in Kentucky may last between 60 – 90 days.
Can I replace an existing fence without a permit?
No! Most local government county laws require you to seek a permit to replace your fence, even if you’re replacing the same materials. You need to check your municipality laws and ensure that you know which permits you should get.
Neglecting permits when replacing your fence may attract fines and penalties from the local government based on the city codes.
Who owns the fence on property lines in Kentucky?
According to the Kentucky boundary fence statutes Ky. Rev. Stat. § § 256.020 – 256.030 (by agreement), ‘Persons owning adjoining lands may agree to erect division fences between them and keep them in repair.’
It goes further and states that if you choose to have the agreement in writing, signed and recorded at the office of the county clerk, it will have the same impact as a title deed.
This means that you’ll both be legally bound to cost-share and maintain the fence.
Do I need a survey to determine the boundary?
If you don’t know the location of the property lines on your land, yes. Although there are several DIY hacks you can try to determine your property’s boundary, a survey is the most reliable and accurate way. ‘
A surveyor will start from the corners and verify that they’re indeed part of your land. He/she then marks out each corner of the land and may even spray paint to ensure the boundaries are visible.
Doing this survey exposes any encroachments on your property. If you’re planning to sell the home, this is a huge boost in the right direction.
Kentucky boundary fence laws at a glance
This table provides an overview of some of the state laws governing Kentucky’s fence law and links to their original documents.
|Boundary fences: 256.020|
Spite fences: Kentucky Law journal vol 25
|A lawful fence means; A strong and sound fence, four (4) feet high, to ensure that cattle can’t creep into your neighbor’s property.|
A fence can be made of a hedge two (2) feet high or a rail, plank, stone, smooth or barbed wire, or brick fence two and one-half (2 1/2) feet high on the margin of the ditch.
Owners of the adjoining properties may agree to share costs of maintenance and repairs for the fence on your property line.
|Front yard and street side fences are limited to 4 feet|
Backyard and side fences are restricted to 8 feet and 6-feet if you use chain link materials.
|If one neighbor doesn’t keep a lawful fence, he/she is liable for the damages to your property caused by any trespassing livestock.|
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.
Who owns and maintains trees on the property lines in Kentucky?
Both you and your neighbor. Kentucky tree and fence line laws recognize a tree on your property lines as possession of both owners. Therefore, each neighbor has to consent for anything to happen to the trees.
Any repairs and maintenance costs will have to be shared between the two of you, and neither of you is also allowed to cut down the tree without the permission of the other.
If you don’t seem to agree on how to manage that tree, try mediating or involve the small claims court to have the matter settled.
During the stormy and windy season, if the tree happens to fall on your neighbor’s property, you won’t be liable to cover the losses of the neighbor. Each neighbor will be responsible for the damage to their property.
It depends on your municipality and Home Owner’s Association zoning rules and regulations regarding fencing. In most states, the proximity limit for fences to property lines ranges between 3 inches to 8 inches.
In some areas, you can have the fence right around the property lines, and in other areas, the limits could be a few feet.
By getting a professional surveyor to make clear distinctions of your property lines. If the fence lies on your side of the property lines, then it’s yours. If it lies on the neighbor’s side, it’s their property.
A fence lying on the property line is regarded as property for both of you by the Kentucky laws. Depending on your agreements, you’re both required to take care of the repairs and maintenance of the fence.
In other cases, you can determine the owner of the fence if the fence encloses their property – (Ownership by occupancy).
It depends on the fence ownership. If you’re the sole owner of the fence, the neighbor can’t attach anything to the fence without your permission. If they do without your consent, you can press charges against them for criminal damage.
For boundary fences, you’ll, however, have to sit and agree on how you’ll both use the fence. In such a case, the neighbor may have the right to attach anything on their side of the fence.
Mostly, your neighbor gets the good side of the fence. This is the proper neighborly etiquette that will help foster a good relationship with them.
Another reason for letting the good side face the neighbors is that it gives your home an appealing outward appearance. Doing this goes a long way in bringing more potential home buyers if you’re thinking of placing your house on the market.
Take them to court! If you agreed to share the costs for the repair and maintenance of the fence, you’ll easily win the case in a small claims court and receive your reimbursement. Kentucky fence laws are very strict if you had your fence agreement in writing.
Prior to the lawsuit, a good habit is to ensure that you follow proper common steps. Be sure first to send the neighbor a notice, and seek mediation if you can’t agree.
If you finally choose to sue them, ensure that you have adequate evidence to show that the neighbor ought to pay for the fence.