What Is the Good Neighbor Fence Policy for California Law?

Section 841 of the California Civil Code makes owners of most neighboring properties responsible for shared fencing. Neighbors subject to the law must equally share maintenance and repair expenses.


California law requires owners of fenced-in neighboring properties to split the costs of keeping up the section of fence separating the properties. The law does not apply if one of the two owners does not have fences on the other sides of his land.


A neighbor who later fences in her yard becomes liable for the upkeep of the shared portion as soon as she installs the other fencing. She also owes the neighbor a proportion of the estimated cost of installing the dividing fence section; the amount is based on the current value of the fence.


Talking to the neighbor and mentioning the law if he won't maintain his side of the fence is the first step to solving the problem. A person who cannot get her neighbor to maintain his side of the fence after asking him can either repair the fence herself and sue the neighbor in a California small claims court or contact an attorney for help.

About the Author

Anna Assad began writing professionally in 1999 and has published several legal articles for various websites. She has an extensive real estate and criminal legal background. She also tutored in English for nearly eight years, attended Buffalo State College for paralegal studies and accounting, and minored in English literature, receiving a Bachelor of Arts.