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Senior Advisor

Fence Laws

Anyone know what the fencing laws are? If I want to build a new fence between my pasture and a neighbors pasture and the neighbor doesn't want to pay half, can I move 5' inside my property line construct and pay for the entire fence myself and force him to build his own? Just curious, I see a small dilemma approaching in the future.
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Contributor

Re: Fence Laws

It would be different for different states and possibly countys.   I am fairly sure that in Nebraska, you could build the fence and make him pay for half.  Our county zonning laws also state the landowners have to fence their share of their proprty unless there is a agreement with the ajoining landowner to not fence the property.  May be worth talking to a localy attorney.

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Honored Advisor

Re: Fence Laws

In Iowa there are township "fence viewers" that settler disputs and the county attorney will defend their decision. It`s customary for each farmer to maintain the "right half"....but like everything these days there`s "legislating from the bench" if a bigshot grain farmer doesn`t want to put up a fence and takes it to court, a judge may rule that "a grain farmer shouldn`t have to maintain a fence for livestock".  Things are so different around here now that fences and treelines are coming out (GPS farming) and the neighbor farmer is expected to pay half in REMOVING the old fence.

 

Here`s a case with a former Iowa state senator http://globegazette.com/news/local/fence-viewers-enforce-law-in-worth-county-case/article_e145dbd2-f...

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Senior Contributor

Re: Fence Laws

In Nebraska, he would have to pay half, if it was pasture on both sides.   I am not sure exactly what the law says, if you had a pasture, and he had a non-grazed field, as you are required to keep your animals inside your property.  Also, I think it is different if there is no fence, or just a poor fence on his half.   He may be responsible to maintain it to a certain minimum level, but not to replace it.   There are so many little details that can affect exactly who has to pay for it.   One thing I would not do, would be just build a new fence a ways into your property, because then the neighbor can pull out his fence, and claim the fence you put up is the new property line, and gain some land.

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Senior Advisor

Re: Fence Laws

Even if I get it surveyed first and declared a no-mans-land? I've discussed this with the land owner (about a 26 or 27 year old kid) several times and he says he isn't breaking the law. He inherited this pasture and has never kept up with noxious weeds or the fences and has never had it rented. Can you say spoiled? It has become principle now, I don't care if I need to spend two fold as long as I can force him to pay half. Maybe I'm a little hard headed myself, but it is an eyesore and needs to be kept up. If he would just sell it to me I'd drop the whole thing.
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Honored Advisor

Re: Fence Laws

I had a somewhat similar situation when the old fence was over-grown and not cow tight, the neighbor was a 90 yr old widow and I wasn`t about to ask her for a dime.  So I put up a "hot wire"  and got by fine.

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Senior Advisor

Re: Fence Laws

Laws keep changing, but I think here in IN if the only fence your neighbor has is between you and him, no other boundary fences, his is considered open range and you can not force him to build a fence. You can build a new one in the right location but you have to pay for it all. And if you only rebuild your end, and your cattle get through his fence, you are still responsible for any damage. Worse case senario is your cattle get in the road when dark and someone gets killed. Some time it is just better to bite the bullet.

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Senior Advisor

Re: Fence Laws

Summary of Nebraska laws: http://www.agrisk.umn.edu/cache/ARL03962.pdf Read it yourself, but I'd get an attorney.

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Senior Contributor

Re: Fence Laws

Our law (Ohio) is that both owners share responsibility for maintaining or rebuilding even if only one has livestock. I have 37 neighbors and only one ever offers to help. He's 82, helps hold wire when I'm fixing it and keep track of cattle when they get out. He never offers financial help but the help he does give is always appreciated. Our law just changed a few years ago so that if only one owner wants a new fence they have to pay 100%. Here the township trustees are responsible for settling disputes. I think they can even add the cost to someone's property taxes if needed.
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Advisor

Re: Fence Laws

This came up here in Ontario even. The old tenant of a farm I rent explained to me that him and his neighbour( when the tenant owned the farm) had a fight about the fence. Anyways, the township put a tax lien in place. Many, many years later the tenant got a check. Anyways, this cow pasture, and the ones that were around it mostly grow soybeans!!
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