Last updated on November 28th, 2023 at 07:33 am

Quick Answer

  •  In Texas, the general rule is that each neighbor is responsible for the cost of the fence that divides their properties. 
  • In some cases, a court may order a neighbor to pay for the cost of a fence if the neighbor has caused damage to the other neighbor’s property. 
  • If a fence is built on one side of the property line, the cost of the fence is the responsibility of the landowner who built it.

Living in Texas it’s important to have a grasp of the fencing laws, rules, and obligations regarding fence ownership when it comes to neighbors and often result in 

Questions always arise regarding who’s responsible, for paying for a fence can sometimes create conflicts and strains, between neighboring individuals.

Let’s delve into the obligations associated with constructing fences in Texas, and disputes that may arise and ways to determine who should shoulder the financial burden of a fence.

The Responsibility of Fence Ownership

Texas state law requires that all landowners must maintain their fences in a “good and sufficient” condition.

In the state of Texas it is common for neighbors to share ownership and maintenance responsibilities when it comes too fences.

 According to the Texas Property Code both neighbors are considered ” landowners”.

Have an equal obligation to construct and keep up a “partition fence” that separates their property lines. 

The term “partition fence” refers specifically to a fence that acts as a boundary, between the neighboring properties than one that encloses an individuals property.

Understand that the responsibility, for a fence is not automatic. If both neighbors agree not to have a fence then neither party is required to build one.

However if one neighbor wishes for a fence they can ask the neighbor to contribute towards the cost of building and maintaining it

Should the other neighbor refuse legal action can be taken by the requesting neighbor in order to assert their right to have a fence.

Legal Requirements for Building a Fence in Texas

The law does not require a landowner to build a fence, but if one is built, it must be maintained.

Before building a  fence, it is important to be aware of the legal requirements in Texas

  • The Texas Legislature has passed laws that require a landowner to obtain permission from their neighbors before building a fence on their property. (Source: Texas A&M Agrilife Extension)
  • The Texas Legislature also requires that a landowner must construct a fence in a manner that does not obstruct the view of their neighbor’s property. (Source: Texas A&M Agrilife Extension)
  • The Texas Legislature has also passed laws that require a landowner to maintain a fence in a manner that does not cause a nuisance to their neighbors. (Source: Texas A&M Agrilife Extension)

Look, in most cases, you will not need a permit to build a fence on your property. 

However, there are certain restrictions and guidelines that must be followed. These include:

Fence Height: The fence should not exceed the height limits set by local zoning regulations. These limits vary depending on the location, so check with your local authorities.

Fence Materials: The Texas Property Code does not specify any particular materials for fences. 

However, some municipalities may have their own regulations on acceptable materials. It’s advisable to consult with local authorities or homeowners associations to ensure compliance.

By following these obligations you can prevent any conflicts and guarantee that your fence adheres, to the laws of Texas.

Common Disputes Between Neighbors

Did you know that the Texas Property Code also states that if a fence is built on the wrong side of the property line, the property owner of the fence is responsible for moving the fence to the correct side.
      • Fence disputes are not rare between neighbors in Texas. They can get started due to many reasons, including disagreement over fence type, maintenance responsibilities, or shared costs. Here are some common fence disputes and how they can be resolved:

        • Condition and Maintenance: One neighbor may argue that the fence is in disrepair and needs to be fixed or replaced. In such cases, it is advisable to have a professional inspection to assess the condition of the fence. If repairs are necessary, both neighbors should discuss and agree upon the extent of repairs and the sharing of costs.

          • Fence Type and Design: Disagreements over the type and design of the fence can also lead to disputes. It’s important for neighbors to communicate and reach a mutual agreement on the fence’s appearance, materials, and height. For example, some neighbors may not want a barbed wire fence separating the land.  Compromise and finding a design that satisfies both parties can help avoid conflicts.

            • Encroachments: If one neighbor’s fence encroaches onto the adjoining property, it can lead to disputes over ownership and maintenance responsibilities. In such cases, consult a professional surveyor to determine the accurate property boundaries. Once the boundaries are established, both neighbors can discuss and agree upon the necessary actions.  

          By maintaining open lines of communication, being respectful of each other’s concerns, and seeking legal advice when necessary, many fence disputes can be resolved amicably.

          Determining Who Pays 

          The question of who pays the money for a fence between neighbors in Texas can be a source of contention.

          If a landowner damages or destroys a fence, the adjoining landowner may sue for damages.

          While the Texas Property Code states that both neighbors share the responsibility, it does not specify a fixed percentage or formula for dividing the costs. In most cases, the cost is shared equally between the neighbors.

          However, there are several factors that can influence the division of costs:

          Agreement: If both neighbors agree to build a fence, they can also agree on the division of costs. This agreement can be made in writing to avoid any future disputes.

          Necessity: If one neighbor requests the fence for specific reasons, such as privacy or security concerns, they may bear a higher percentage of the cost. The other neighbor may contribute a smaller amount or not at all if they do not have the same need for the fence.

          Shared Benefits: If the fence serves a purpose for both neighbors, such as containing pets or defining a shared boundary, it is fair for both parties to share the costs equally.

          It is important to talk about any costs with your  neighbor in a respectful manner. 

          Open dialogue, compromise, and considering each other’s circumstances can help reach a fair and mutually agreeable resolution.

          Factors That Can Influence Ownership Costs

          In addition to the division of costs, there are several factors that can impact the overall expenses associated with fence ownership in Texas. These factors include:

              • Fence Type and Materials: The type of fence and the materials used can greatly influence the cost. For example, a chain-link fence is generally less expensive than a wooden or vinyl fence.

                • Fence Length: The length of the fence will directly impact the total cost. Longer fences will require more materials, labor, and potentially additional permits, increasing the overall expenses.

                  • Installation: If you decide to hire a professional to install the fence, the installation costs will be an additional expense. It’s important to obtain quotes from multiple contractors to ensure you are getting a fair price.

                    • Maintenance and Repairs: Over time, fences may require maintenance or repairs. Regular maintenance, such as staining or painting, can help prolong the lifespan of the fence. It’s important to factor in these ongoing costs when considering the overall ownership expenses.

                  By considering these factors and discussing them with your neighbor, you can make informed decisions about the type of fence and associated costs. 

                  Resolving Fence Issues With Your Neighbor

                  In the event of a fence dispute with your neighbor, it is necessary to approach the situation calmly and diplomatically. Here are some steps you can take to resolve the dispute:

                      • Open Communication: Initiate a conversation with your neighbor to discuss the issue. Be respectful, listen to their concerns, and express your own in a non-confrontational manner.

                        • Seek Mediation: If direct communication fails to resolve the dispute, consider involving a neutral third party, such as a professional mediator or a community mediation program. They can help facilitate a conversation and find a mutually agreeable solution.

                          • Consult an Attorney: If all attempts at resolution fail, it may be necessary to consult an attorney who specializes in property law. They can provide legal advice and guide you through the process of enforcing your rights or resolving the dispute through legal means.

                        Remember, maintaining a good relationship with your neighbor, even during a dispute. 

                        By approaching the situation with empathy, patience, and a willingness to find a fair solution, you can minimize the stress and strain on both parties involved.

                        Options for Sharing the bill  

                        When it comes to sharing the cost of a fence with your neighbor, there are several options to consider:

                            • Splitting the Cost Equally: The most common approach is for both neighbors to split the cost of the fence equally. This ensures a fair division of expenses and avoids any potential conflicts.

                              • Alternative Cost-Sharing Arrangements: If one neighbor has a greater need or desire for the fence, they may offer to cover a larger portion of the bill. This can be negotiated through open communication and mutual agreement.

                                • Sharing the Cost of Common Boundaries: In cases where the fence serves as a boundary between multiple properties, all the adjoining property owners can agree to share the costs equally. This approach ensures that the cost burden is distributed among all the parties benefiting from the fence.

                              It is important to document any cost-sharing agreements in writing to avoid future disputes. This can be done through a written agreement or a legal document, signed by all parties involved.

                              Resources for Understanding Laws

                              Navigating the intricacies of Texas fence laws can be challenging. However, there are several resources available to help you understand your rights and obligations:

                                  • Texas Property Code: The Texas Property Code contains the laws and regulations pertaining to fence ownership and maintenance. It is advisable to consult the relevant sections of the code to familiarize yourself with the requirements.

                                    • Local Authorities: Your local city or county offices can provide information specific to your location, including any additional regulations or ordinances that may apply.

                                      • Legal Professionals: Consulting with an attorney who specializes in property law can provide valuable guidance and ensure that your rights are protected.

                                    By utilizing these resources and seeking professional advice when necessary, you can navigate the complexities of Texas fence laws with confidence.

                                    Are there any special requirements for pool fences in Texas

                                    In the state of Texas, there are no specific statewide requirements for residential pool fences.

                                    However, individual cities and municipalities may have their own guidelines and requirements.

                                    These can differ widely, but generally, they aim to prevent unsupervised access to the pool, especially by children.

                                    Common requirements include:

                                    • Fences should be at least 48 inches high with no gaps or openings where a 4-inch sphere could pass through.
                                    • Fence gates should be self-closing and self-latching.
                                    • The latch should be located on the inside of the gate, beyond the reach of a small child.

                                    Some cities also require a specific type of fence or additional safety measures, such as alarms on doors leading to the pool and safety covers.

                                    It’s best to check with local building departments or homeowner association rules before installing a pool fence.

                                    For public swimming pools, the Texas Department of State Health Services has set statewide standards. 

                                    For instance, public pools must have a fence or other barrier that is at least 48 inches high, with self-latching gates that open outward, among other requirements.

                                    Final Thoughts

                                    Neighbor fence laws in Texas are designed to ensure a fair and equitable division of responsibilities when it comes to fence ownership.

                                    If you live in an HOA, the bylaws should have rules about any fencing issues that may arise. 

                                    Understanding these laws, communicating openly with your neighbor, and considering various factors can help resolve disputes and determine who pays for a fence.

                                    By approaching these situations with respect and an aim for compromise, you can maintain a healthy relationship with your neighbor while protecting your property and interests. Remember, seeking legal advice when needed can provide clarity and guidance throughout the process.