Property Line and Fence Laws in South Carolina
Created by FindLaw's team of legal writers and editors | Last reviewed November 28, 2017
When it comes to boundaries, mental health professionals suggest that you should know what they are and that you should also be cautious when someone crosses them. This isn't just true for boundaries in relationships, but can also apply to boundary lines regarding property. When these lines are crossed by neighbors, it can create neighbor disputes concerning fences, trees, and other areas. Since dealing with these types of disputes isn't always obvious, state laws in South Carolina exist to help neighbors resolve their property line and fence issues.
Property Line and Fence Laws in South Carolina: Surveys and Estrays
People often don't know where their exact property boundaries are located, but in neighbor disputes this information can be pivotal. If the location of the property line is in dispute, you can conduct a survey to establish where your property ends.
A common neighbor dispute centers around fences that are built on the property line. South Carolina doesn't have any specific state law that defines boundary line fences, although local ordinances may provide such a definition. Instead, much of the state's fencing laws reflect the agricultural history of the state and deal with issues such as animals wandering onto property. For example, animals that are abandoned and roam onto another's property are referred to as "estrays" and you cannot exploit them for your own use.
South Carolina Tree Trimming Laws
Disagreements involving trees represent another area of property disputes between neighbors. Often, homeowners want to trim the branches of trees that extend onto their property. Although South Carolina doesn't actually have a tree trimming law, it is illegal to damage a tree. Doing so can even constiute a criminal offense and may be charged as a felony or misdemeanor, depending on the cost of the damage done. Additionally, cutting down or destroying a boundary tree is a misdemeanor.
South Carolina Property Line and Fence Laws at a Glance
The chart below provides a summary of state laws related to property lines and fence laws in South Carolina, including links to important code sections.
Any domestic or domesticated animal that has been abandoned or found wandering onto some person's property.
If a person attempts to hide or use an estray for their own use, they are guilty of a misdemeanor.
Tree Damage Criminal Penalties
A person who willfully and maliciously injures a tree is guilty of a felony if the injury to the property or the property loss is worth ten thousand dollars or more.
A person who willfully and maliciously injures a tree is guilty of a misdemeanor if the injury to the tree or the property loss is worth more than two thousand dollars but less than ten thousand dollars.
A person knowingly, willfully, maliciously or fraudulently cuts down or removes a boundary tree is guilty of a misdemeanor.
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.
Property Line and Fence Laws in South Carolina: Related Resources
- South Carolina Property and Real Estate Laws
- Fencing Laws and Your Neighbors: FAQs
- Property Boundaries, Lines, and Neighbors FAQ
- Neighbors and Trees
A South Carolina Attorney Can Help Resolve Your Property Dispute
If you have concerns regarding fences, trees, or other property-related issues, then you need to take prompt action. Property line and fence law neighbor disputes can start out small, but can quickly spiral out of control. Consider reaching out to a local South Carolina real estate attorney to learn more about your rights and remedies under the law.
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