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Property Line and Fence Laws in Alaska

Created by FindLaw's team of legal writers and editors.

Unfortunately, it's all too common for neighbors to come into conflict about issues that affect their daily lives, like shared boundary fences and overhanging tree branches. For this reason, there are various laws at the state and local level that dictate these sorts of issues. Read on to learn more about fence laws in Alaska.

Alaska Property Line and Fence Laws

While some states have passed laws governing fences that run along property lines, Alaska law doesn't choose to regulate these types of fences. This is likely because Alaska has fewer highly-populated metropolitan areas than other states, so it's not necessary for the legislature to pass laws that would resolve fence-related disputes between neighbors. In Alaska, barbed wire fences are the only type regulated; landowners with barbed wire fences have a duty to keep their fences in good repair.

Some states have also passed "spite fence" laws making it illegal to maliciously build a fence or other structure simply to annoy your neighbor. Probably for many of the same reasons it doesn't have boundary fence laws, Alaska also doesn't have laws specifically addressing spite fences.

However, Alaska citizens are not totally free to build any fence they like; many cities in Alaska have local ordinances that govern the construction and dimension of fences. For example, Anchorage has municipal codes that define how high fences various types of fences can be built. Other cities, like Palmer, Alaska, require homeowners to obtain a permit before building a fence.

Tree Trimming Laws

Typically, landowners have a right to "self help" when it comes to encroaching and overhanging tree branches. This means that a property owner can trim encroaching tree branches only up to the property line. In Alaska, however, if you cut down and remove parts of your neighbor's tree located on their land, you may be held civilly liable for damages.

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

Statutes

Boundary Fences

  • There aren't Alaska state laws specifically about boundary fences.
  • Landowners who have barbed wire fences have a duty to keep it in good repair, and a wire fence "so dilapidated as to be of no practical use" may be considered a nuisance and ordered removed by a court.

Spite Fences

  • Alaska doesn't have laws outlawing spite fences built out of malice.
  • Many Alaska towns and cities do have building and permitting ordinances that control how tall fences can be and under what circumstances they can be erected.

Tree Trimming

  • Landowners typically have the right to "self help" by trimming encroaching tree branches up to the property line.
  • You may be liable for damages if you cut down and remove parts of a tree on your neighbor's land.

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

Have an Attorney Review Your Property Dispute for Free

Disagreements with neighbors are never fun. If you and your neighbor aren't seeing eye to eye about a fence or tree trimming issue, you would be well served to understand your legal rights. In addition to understanding your state's laws on these issues, a legal professional may be able to help you. Start today with a free legal evaluation by an Alaska real estate attorney.

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