Understanding California's Property Line & Fence Laws

Boundary and fence issues are among the most common reasons for real estate disputes between neighbors. Where your property line begins and ends can lead to disagreement between homeowners and their neighbors. Likewise, conflicts may arise between neighbors over the responsibility of costs, construction, and maintenance of the fences. If you're involved in a dispute with your neighbor over a property line or fence, consulting with an experienced California real estate law attorney is crucial for detailed guidance.

At The Heritage Law Group, we're committed to providing comprehensive legal guidance and reliable advocacy to clients in real estate matters, including boundary and easements. Our attorney is available to discuss your unique situation and enlighten you about state laws addressing fences and property lines. As your legal counsel, we will fight diligently to protect your legal rights and help resolve boundary and fence issues peacefully and quickly. With offices in San Jose and Aliso Viejo, we proudly serve clients in Northern and Southern California.

California's Property Line and Fence Laws

Several disputes often arise between property owners and their adjacent neighbors regarding the boundary, property line, and the construction and maintenance of fences. In California, there are different laws designed to address property lines, fences, and tree trimming-related issues between neighbors. Here are some notable property line and fence laws in The Golden State.

Fence Construction/Maintenance

According to California Civil Code Section 841, adjoining landowners shall share the responsibility for maintaining the boundaries, fences, and monuments between them equally.

Property Lines

Under California Civil Code Section 829, the owner of land in fee has the right to the surface to everything permanently situated beneath or above it.

Spite Fence Law

A "spite fence" can be described as an extremely tall fence or structure (including hedges or trees) in the nature of a fence, which is constructed or planted between adjacent lands by a property owner to annoy their neighbor. According to California Civil Code 841.4;

"Any fence or other structure in the nature of a fence unnecessarily exceeding 10 feet in height maliciously erected or maintained for the purpose of annoying the owner or occupant of adjoining property is a private nuisance. Any owner or occupant of adjoining property injured either in his comfort or the enjoyment of his estate by such nuisance may enforce the remedies against its continuance."

Tree Trimming

Under California laws, an owner of the land is presumed to own a tree whose trunks stand wholly upon the land, even if the roots extend into the adjacent land. A person who cuts or trims down a tree, wood, underwood, or timber on another person's land without legal authority may be held liable for damages to the landowner (California Civil Code Section 733).

Common Easement Disputes

Easement issues between property owners and their adjacent neighbors are quite common. Some common reasons for boundary and easement disputes include:

Interference: Interference occurs when a person's actions hinder or affect the purpose for which the easement was granted. If you interfere with the use of an easement, you may be held responsible for such interference. 

Trespassing: As a property owner, you are within your rights to keep strangers and unwanted intruders away from their property. Any individual who drives through their neighbor's land every day without the property owner's permission may be held liable for trespassing.

Zoning: Also, an easement dispute may occur between the landowner and the city if there are land-use and zoning regulations preventing the landowner's rights from making use of their property.

If you're involved in an easement issue with your neighbor, you need to reach out to a knowledgeable real estate law attorney right away. Your lawyer can evaluate the surrounding facts of your case and enlighten you about the possible dispute resolution options.

Dispute Resolution

Here are some possible ways to resolve easement disputes:

  • Engage in a one-on-one discussion with your neighbor to settle the dispute mutually.
  • Purchase the adjacent land or property.
  • Enter into a contract or agreement with the easement holder to terminate the easement.
  • Send a demand letter to your neighbor or the easement holder.
  • Explore other available legal remedies to terminate or limit the easement.
  • Negotiate with your neighbor or the easement holder. You can use the threat of legal action as leverage.
  • Seek monetary damages by filing a lawsuit against the easement holder for inappropriate use of the easement, which destroys your land or property.

An experienced real estate attorney can work to understand your unique situation and help resolve the easement issues peacefully.

How The Heritage Law Group Can Help

Boundary disputes – property line and fence maintenance issues – with adjacent neighbors are a common issue for many property owners. Unfortunately, litigation involving property lines and boundary disputes usually involve several legal complexities. Hence, if you are in a dispute with your neighbor over a boundary or easement issue, you need to speak with a knowledgeable California real estate litigation attorney for detailed guidance and to determine the best course of action.

At The Heritage Law Group, our attorney has the experience, diligence, and resources to help property owners navigate complexities involved in real estate disputes. Using their extensive understanding of the state laws addressing property lines and fences, our trusted team can help guide you through the often complex legal process. Also, our trusted team can enlighten you about your available dispute resolution options and work diligently with all parties involved to settle pending boundary and fence issues amicably.

Contact The Heritage Law Group today to schedule a simple case evaluation with a skilled real estate law attorney. Our trusted team can help you understand California's property line and fence laws and enlighten you about your legal rights. Also, we will attempt to resolve current boundary and easement disputes or represent you vigorously in your real estate litigation. With offices in San Jose and Aliso Viejo, we proudly serve clients throughout Northern and Southern California.


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