Who Owns the Fence Between 2 Houses, According to Arizona Law?
Good Fences Make Good Neighbors
In his famous poem Mending Wall, Robert Frost coined the popular expression, “Good fences make good neighbors.” Whether you live in a city like Phoenix or Tucson, out in a more rural part of the county or on one of Arizona's many ranches, this sentiment is as true today as it was when Frost penned it.
This question comes up often: if you're home has a fence line that splits your property line with a neighbor, who is responsible for maintaining the fence?
It may seem like there should be a simple answer, but the truth is, it may depend on where in Arizona you live.
According to GetJerry.com, "Arizona doesn’t have many statewide fence laws. Boundary fences are considered mutually owned by neighbors. In open-range areas, fence damage is the responsibility of the livestock owners. Some cities have guidelines about height, zoning, and permitting."
Here's the short answer: In Arizona, boundary fences are considered to be mutually owned. This means that both parties are responsible for maintaining the quality of the fencing.
That seems pretty straightforward, and most of us don't give it a second thought. That is, until the fence is suddenly damaged.
Who Pays for Damage?
The question of who has to pony up for the cost of materials and labor can cause contention. If one of the neighbors creates the damage to the fence, it seems like the answer should be obvious when it comes to who pays for the repairs.
But the answer isn't always clear, and according to ProvidentLawyers.com, "When it falls on both parties, but one set of neighbors has become stubborn about the issue, there may be no recourse other than to go to court to settle the situation.
Rural Fence Laws
In Arizona's rural areas, fencing is governed by something called the No-Fence District guidelines. These are covered in Chapter 11, Article 8, Title 3 of the Arizona Revised Statutes. This states, "In a designated open-range district, the liability for property damage by stray livestock rests with the livestock owner."
City Fence Permits
For the most part, Arizona doesn't have any overarching state law regarding fences. However, certain cities have regulations surrounding fences. There are zoning and permitting requirements in Phoenix, Tucson, and Flagstaff.
Wherever you live in Arizona, it seems like mending fences is a more complex issue than we thought.