The adage, ‘Good fences make good neighbors,’ has, for years, been the key to maintaining peaceful relations between neighbors. But once in a while, disputes always find a way to arise, particularly where fences and boundaries are involved.

To ensure that these conflicts don’t erupt into severe court battles, neighbors can rely on the Wisconsin fence laws to find common ground.

Property line fence laws Wisconsin

Do I need a permit to build a fence in Wisconsin?

It depends on your local county and Homeowners Association ordinances. Generally, you won’t need a building permit in most municipalities, although you’ll still have to observe their height and placement restrictions.

Nonetheless, city ordinances in Marinette, Green Bay, Kenosha, and several others still demand that you obtain a fence permit before commencing construction.

If your property is in a floodplain, you’ll also need a floodplain permit, even where building permits are not needed.

Overall, different townships have different requirements when it comes to fence permits. To be safe, consult your building planning department.

Can I replace an existing fence without a permit?

The regulations on this vary. Some city limits and county laws allow you to replace an existing fence without a permit

if you don’t change its height, location, and material.
Other regulations require that you obtain a permit for every fence replacement, even if it’s with a similar fence.

You, therefore, should contact the local building inspectors to verify their permitting requirements in your area.

How tall can a privacy fence be in Wisconsin?

All fences in the residential neighborhoods are not expected to exceed 6 feet in height. The front yard has a maximum height restriction of 3 feet while the rear and side lots, are 6 feet.

Front yard and corner lot fences can be increased to 4 feet in height if it’s an open design (less than 50% opaque).

In non-residential districts, the fence heights are capped at 8 feet in height, but this might slightly differ depending on the area’s zoning restrictions.

Who owns the fence on property lines in WI?

Although the Wisconsin fence laws mainly focus on neighbors involved in agriculture and grazing, Wis. Stat. § 90.03. states that each adjoining neighbor is responsible for an equal share of the fence for as long as they occupy that land.

This means that even if only one neighbor uses their land for grazing and agricultural purposes, both neighbors have to share the repair and maintenance costs.

Furthermore, the adjoining property owners must maintain that fence in good repair throughout the year.

The neighbors can use the Right-Hand rule, as stated in Wis. Stat. § 90.07(3) to determine which portion of the fence is theirs.

How do you know where the property boundary is?

The best way to locate your property lines is through a survey. A surveyor will measure the property, map it appropriately, and mark the boundary with survey pins or stakes.

If you have your past survey records (usually a plat), you don’t need to hire a surveyor. Just check the map for the exact boundaries of your home. If you don’t have this map, you may find one at the local recorder’s office or website.

Some deeds may also have data on the boundaries, even though that data isn’t always foolproof. As a last resort, you can check details of your neighbors’ property lines to deduce your boundaries.

Can my neighbor build a fence on the property line?

Yes. Under Wis. Stat. § 90.03. an adjoining property owner can construct a fence on the property line, but its responsibility will be up to your agreement.

If you agree that the constructing neighbor will be the sole owner, that agreement should be signed and recorded at the local clerk’s office. There should also be two witnesses (Wis. Stat. § 90.05. (1)).

Under this law, you can also agree to use markers instead of constructing a fence.

However, if neither property owner uses their land for grazing or agriculture, you won’t be obligated to erect or contribute towards this fence.

Can I put up a fence on my side of the property line?

Yes. If you don’t want a partition fence, you’re allowed to build a privacy fence on your side of the property line. The fence, however, has to maintain the setback regulations set in your area and adhere to the HOA ordinances.

Most city codes state that a fence should be at least 18 inches from the property line – but this differs in every city. You should therefore confirm these rules at the local clerk’s office.

The height regulations in the area will also apply to such a fence.

Can I put up a fence on my side of the property line Wisconsin