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Property Line and Fence Laws in New Jersey

If you own property in the Garden State, you may have wondered about your legal rights when it comes to property lines, fences, and overhanging tree branches. New Jersey, like other states, has put laws in place to govern these issues, which are frequent sources of conflict between neighbors. Read on to learn more about fence and property line laws in New Jersey.

New Jersey Property Line and Fence Laws at a Glance

Some states have passed laws governing property lines and boundary fences for people living in residential neighborhoods. New Jersey, on the other hand, has put these sorts of laws in place regarding fences that contain animals like cattle, sheep, and horses. Like some other states, New Jersey law authorizes local governments to form township committees to resolve disputes about fences.

New Jersey also differs from other states in that it doesn't have laws addressing "spite fences" put up by a property owner for no legitimate purpose other than to harass a neighbor. However, a New Jersey court might find a fence to be unlawful if it doesn't comply with local zoning and building ordinances.

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

Statutes and Case Law

Boundary Fence Rules

  • Fences in agricultural areas must be four feet and two inches high, and strong enough to keep cattle or horses from going through it.
  • Property owners can't use barbed wire in a boundary fences unless neighboring property owner agrees.
  • When property owners share a boundary and are using their lands for pasturage or keeping of animals, they must jointly maintain a "partition fence" between the lands unless they decide to allow their lands to lie vacant and open.
  • Disputes related to fences or boundary lines are resolved by two members of the township committee where the property is located.

Spite Fence Rules

  • While no specific laws against "spite fences" exist in New Jersey, installing any sort of fence requires a zoning permit.
  • Any fence built must satisfy local building ordinances and codes.

Tree Trimming Rules

  • A New Jersey resident can trim a neighbor's encroaching tree branches, but only up to the property line.
  • A property owner trimming a neighbor's encroaching tree branches can't cause injury to the tree.
  • Branches, roots, or limbs that cross over a boundary line can be considered a nuisance.

Note: State laws 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

Get Legal Help with Your New Jersey Property Dispute

Disagreements with neighbors can be difficult. If you live in New Jersey and are encountering a problem related to property lines, boundary fences, or tree branches, consider exploring your legal options. Consider meeting with an experienced New Jersey real estate attorney who can help you understand the legal remedies available to you.

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