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Property Line and Fence Laws in Arkansas

Owning property comes with significant legal rights and responsibilities. As a landowner, it's important for you to understand the location of the boundaries of your property. It's also likely that you'll be called upon to address issues that may arise with your neighbor about fences and trees along the property line. Read on to learn more about fence and property line laws in Arkansas.

Arkansas Laws About Property Lines and Fences

Neighbors who share a boundary line frequently have disagreements about fences bordering the properties. For this reason, Arkansas, like many other states, has chosen to enact laws that govern boundary fences. Arkansas law even addresses what tribunal responds to fence disputes, and appoints a panel of fence "viewers," who are actually homeowners in the particular area, assigned to resolve disputes and complaints related to fences.

Some states have also passed laws regarding "spite fences," which are fences built with the malicious intent to annoy or harass a neighbor. In Arkansas, the law governing spite fences arose out of case law, rather than through the legislature. An older line of Arkansas cases held that a landowner has the right to build any sort of structure on their land, even if it causes annoyance to a neighbor and even if the purpose for building the structure is malicious. The more modern view in Arkansas is that a neighbor can enjoin the building of a structure erected for the purpose of annoying them or decreasing the value of property.

The following chart provides more information about Arkansas laws governing property lines, fences, and tree trimming.

Statutes and Caselaw

Boundary Fences: Arkansas Code Sections 2-39-105 and 2-39-107

Spite Fences: Jenkins v. Dale Betty Fogerty Joint Revocable Trust, No. CA 11-276, decided November 30, 2011

Tree Trimming: Gathings v. Johns, 216 Ark. 668 (1950)

Boundary Fences

  • A "division fence" that partitions adjoining parcels of land is to be equally borne and maintained by both landowners.
  • If a person complains to a justice of the peace regarding a fence, the justice must order three "disinterested householders" in the neighborhood to view the fence, prepare a memorandum, and testify to the court on the issue.

Spite Fences

  • An adjoining landowner can adjoin the erection of a structure built for the purpose of annoying him/her and making the use of his/her property less enjoyable.

Tree Trimming

  • There are no tree trimming statutes in Arkansas, nor is there extensive case law on the topic.
  • The closest legal decision holds that a landowner has no right to maintain a plant that extends into adjoining land.

Note: State regulations are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Related Property Line, Fence, and Tree Resources

Speak with a Lawyer About Your Property Dispute

When facing a conflict with your neighbor, it can be difficult to know what step to take first. Understanding how your state's laws apply to you as a property owner is a great first step. Depending on your circumstances, you may also want to consider speaking with an experienced real estate attorney for advice about your particular situation.

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