Property Line and Fence Laws in New Mexico

They say you can choose your friends, but you can't choose your family. The same is true regarding neighbors; you cannot control who lives near you. The randomness and unpredictability of the "neighbor lottery" can help contribute to the occurrence of neighbor disputes. Sometimes you can eliminate disputes before they even get started. For example, you can conduct a survey of your property so that you know the exact location of where your property ends. However, it is not always possible to avoid neighbor disputes, especially those that involve issues concerning property line and fence laws.

Property Line and Fence Laws in New Mexico

Some of the most common neighbor disputes involve fences; fences that are located on the property line between adjoining properties are especially at issue. Because New Mexico does not have a specific law governing boundary fences, neighbors with this dispute can refer to local ordinances for guidance. Additionally, the state follows the common law practice that fences located on the actual boundary line belong to, and are the responsibility of, both owners (unless the property owners contract otherwise). This means that both owners must maintain the fence and share the costs of maintenance.

Property Line and Tree Laws in New Mexico

There are many subject areas that form the basis for neighbor disputes such as animal issues and water damage, but one of the most contentious concerns the placement of trees and the damage done to them. The state takes its preservation of trees and landscape seriously. If you cut or remove an individual's tree without written consent, then you have committed a misdemeanor and may face imprisonment, fines, or both.

New Mexico Property Line and Fence Laws at a Glance

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

Statutes

Tree Damage: Removal

  • You cannot cut or remove "woody material" (trees) from an individual's property without their written consent.

Tree Damage: Definitions

  • "Woody material" is any live or dead evergreen, coniferous tree branch, bough, bush, sapling, or shrub in its natural condition, trimmed or untrimmed; with or without roots.

Tree Damage: Violations and Penalties

An unlawful violation of the Forest Conservation Act is a misdemeanor.

Penalties:

  • Fine of not more than one thousand dollars ($1000); or
  • Imprisonment in the county jail not to exceed one year; or
  • Both.

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.

New Mexico Property Line and Fence Laws: Related Resources

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