Similar to all the other states in the country, the state of Louisiana has specific property line fence laws. These laws touch on issues to do with fence permits, ownership of fences in residential and commercial areas, property boundaries, etc. Understanding property line fence laws as a property owner can save you from disputes, fines, and frustration especially if you have several neighbors sharing a property line.

Can I Replace An Existing Fence Without A Permit?

Replacing a fence is a significant alteration that requires a permit. While different cities and localities in Louisiana. The fresh permit application requirement is to ensure compliance with building standards and ordinances in your city or locality.

Fence replacement can mean erecting a fence of different heights, materials, or designs that must comply with the fence code of ordinance in your area. Responsible authorities must be able to scrutinize and approve or deny the new fence specifications according to existing laws. As an example, Scott Municipality, LA prohibits the use of razor wire on fences.

What Is The Height Limit For A Fence In Louisiana?

The average fence height in Louisiana ranges between 7 to 9 feet as specified in various ordinances and building regulations across the state. The height of any fence as commonly defined in ordinances is measured from the highest grade of property along the property line on the non-owners side.

However, height limits are contained in specific building regulations, ordinances, or fence laws in cities and localities in Louisiana and may differ from one area to another.

City/ Town in LouisianaFence height limit (Residential)
New Orleans7 Feet
Baton Rouge8 Feet
Scott7 Feet
Shreveport6 Feet
Lafayette6 Feet except for those placed on corner lots
Houma6 to 8 Feet depending on the location of the fence
Hammond6 to 8 Feet
Bossier City8 Feet

The table above shows fence height limits for some of the major cities and towns within the state of Louisiana according to current codes and building regulations.

Who Owns The Fence On Property Lines In LA?

Fences on property lines are presumed to be common unless one provides proof to the contrary according to the state’s boundary fence law. Louisiana fence laws also allow you to ask the neighbor with whom you share a property line to contribute towards erecting a new fence if necessary.

If you build a fence on the boundary and share it with a neighbor, the same boundary law allows you to compel the neighbor to contribute its maintenance and repair bills when needed. In most scenarios, you will be expected to take care of maintenance and repair bills for your side of the fence while the neighboring lot owner takes care of their side unless there is major damage. Most disputes arise from the ownership of fences on property lines but this law can be used to guide disputing parties.

Note: While the state-level boundary laws can be useful in most places, it’s also important to refer to local ordinances and building laws on property lines and shared fences. Most cities and towns have adopted the state’s laws and ordinances but with slight variations.

How Do You Know Where The Property Boundary Is?

Property lines, also known as boundaries can be found on maps accessible at your local clerk of court’s office, city clerk, or relevant lands department where you can find detailed maps of properties within your area. Some local governments also provide online portals where citizens can access maps and see how their lots are divided and where the property lines or boundaries are located.

That said, most people would find it difficult to read plat maps or other documents needed to determine property lines especially in large cities or populated areas. In such cases, it is advisable to seek the services of a land surveyor who will obtain copies of relevant documents and maps, survey the lot and determine the property lines, especially in a dispute.

Note: To avoid disputes regarding boundaries, most local governments encourage landowners to enter into boundary line agreements. Boundary line agreements are legal contracts between neighbors regarding property lines and usage. For instance, the property line agreement can have a clause regarding fence usage and specifications. This way, you wouldn’t have to compel your neighbors to contribute towards building or repairing shared fences as provided for in the law.

Can My Neighbor Build A Fence On The Property Line?

Your neighbor is permitted by Louisiana boundary fence law to build a fence on the property provided they obtain the required permits. The same law that allows you to build a fence on the boundary also applies in the same manner to your neighbors. This means that your neighbor can also ask you to pay for maintenance of the fence if necessary. However, disputes regarding property line usage can be avoided or resolved with a boundary line agreement.

Can I Put Up A Fence On My Side Of The Property Line?

You are allowed by law to put a fence on the boundary line provided the fence is in compliance with local building ordinances regarding fences and you have obtained a permit. However, according to Louisiana boundary fence law, fences erected on property lines are presumed common unless there is proof otherwise. You can draft a property line agreement to avoid disputes arising from fences on boundaries.

What Is A Spite Fence?

As the name might suggest, a spite fence is a fence built to annoy a neighbor. The fence could be tall, ugly, or undesirable in a way to a neighbor. Spite fences are mostly illegal according to Louisiana fence law and landowners who build spite fences can also be sued on private nuisance claims.

Louisiana Boundary Fence Laws At A Glance

StatuesBoundary fence
Boundary fence law: La. Civ. Code art. 685A fence on the boundary line is presumed to be a common fence unless there is proof otherwise.

An owner may compel his neighbor to contribute to the expenses of maintaining and repairing common fences.

FAQ's

According to Louisiana fence laws, fences built on the boundary are common unless there is proof to the contrary. This means fence ownership is shared between neighbors

If you cannot solve disputes regarding fences with your neighbors, Louisiana laws do provide avenues through which property owners can lodge complaints and have their issues resolved. Chances are that the new fence violates local fence laws and a court order could be issued to have it removed. Private nuisance lawsuits can also be used in cases where the fence is legal but built as a spite fence.

No, your neighbor cannot hang things on your fence without your permission. The same can also apply to shared fences. You can lay a private nuisance claim in cases where private mediation does not work if you find yourself in such situations.

Yes, you can paint your side of the fence if the fence is shared or built on the property line. Louisiana fence law allows co-ownership of boundary fences. However, you should seek permission from your neighbor if the said fence is built on their lot even if it is a few inches from the boundary.

You are free to build a fence next to your neighbor’s fence so long as you have obtained the required permits and established the property line through a survey. Building your fence is a great way to avoid disputes especially if you don’t have a property line agreement with your neighbor.

Both neighbors are responsible for fence maintenance according to Louisiana boundary fence law. However, this only applies if the said fence is built on the boundary and not entirely on one of the neighbor’s lots in which case they will be sorely responsible for its maintenance.

While there are no specific laws about fence appearance or aesthetics, various local governments may have building standards and laws regarding the materials used and other specifications. For instance, some cities prohibit the use of barbed wire on fences. At the same time, you should be mindful of your neighbors when choosing a design for your fence especially if it’s being built on the property line.

It is advisable to do a survey of your land and determine the proper property lines before you put a fence on your property. This will help you avoid disputes with your neighbours later.

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