Property Line and Fence Laws in Connecticut

Sometimes people take their good relationships with neighbors for granted. They live side by side for years without incident until one day it all goes downhill because of a disagreement. The argument escalates and suddenly you find yourself in the middle of an intense neighbor dispute. Most likely, the cause of the dispute involves a boundary line, fence, or tree issue since these are some of the most common causes for neighbor-to-neighbor conflict. The best bet is to try to work out your differences through mutual communication with freedom from the formalities of the law. But if that approach isn't working, Connecticut state laws exist to provide answers to your questions regarding property line and fence law issues.

Fence Laws in Connecticut

Establishing the property line can be the first step in addressing neighbor conflicts since the exact location itself might be in dispute. In order to determine where your property ends, you may have to conduct a survey. When fences are situated on the boundary line between adjoining properties, a lot of issues arise. For instance, owners of a division fence might have a disagreement about maintaining the repairs for the fence.

In Connecticut, owners can appeal to "selectmen" who act as fence viewers with the authority to administer and enforce fence laws. If the selectmen agree that the repairs should be completed, they will give written notice to the non-complying party to make the repairs. If the repairs are not completed within 15 days of the notice, then the aggrieved owner can make the repairs and recover costs from the other owner.

Another fence issue that comes up between neighbors involves the building of "spite fences." This is the type of fence that has no valuable purpose and is constructed solely to annoy or injure the neighbor. In Connecticut, you can get an injunction or money damages if your neighbor builds one.

Tree Trimming Laws in Connecticut

Trees and the issues associated with them are another area that can cause neighbor disputes. Tree trimming is usually acceptable, but a person who damages a neighboring tree can be liable to the owner. That's why you should check with your neighbor and the local ordinances before taking any action.

Connecticut Property Line and Fence Laws at a Glance

The chart below provides a summary of state laws related to property line and fence laws in Connecticut, including links to important code sections.

Statutes

Division Fence: Repairs

  • If a person neglects to keep the division fence in good repair, the aggrieved party may call on the fence viewers to assess the fence.
  • If the fence viewers find the fence insufficient, they will immediately give written notice to the person who is required to make the repairs.
  • If the repairs are not within fifteen days from the time of the notice, the aggrieved party may make the repairs and recover double the repair costs estimated by the fence viewers and the fence viewers' fees.
  • The sums are a lien on the property and are recorded in the town clerk's office within sixty days from the time of completing such repairs; the liens may be foreclosed in the same manner as for the foreclosure of mortgages.

Spite Fences

  • An injunction may be granted against the malicious erection of a structure intended to annoy and injure an adjacent owner.
  • An action may be maintained by the owner against an adjacent owner who maliciously erects any structure on the property with the intent to annoy or injure the plaintiff/ landowner's use of their property.

Tree Damage

  • You can recover up to five times the damages if someone damages your Christmas tree.
  • You can recover up to three times the damages if someone damages any other tree.

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 Connecticut: Related Resources

Get Help With Your Property Dispute From a Connecticut Attorney

If you're experiencing a neighbor dispute, don't let it get to the point of causing irreparable harm to your neighborhood relationships. The best thing to do is to talk to an experienced real estate attorney right away. Consider getting professional help from a Connecticut real estate attorney, who can help you assess your case and your options.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.