Property Line and Fence Laws in Oklahoma
Everyone has their own idea about the ideal living situation. Whether it's country living, urban dwelling, or a house in the suburbs, a dream home can quickly turn into a nightmare when neighbors become involved in disputes. The subject matter of the arguments may vary, but disputes that are among the most contentious often involve boundaries, fences, trees, or some combination of these issues. Since they can cause both a decline in property value and in mental well-being, neighbors should try to resolve these disputes amicably and quickly. However, when that's not possible, Oklahoma state laws provide a means to settle such property line and fence law disputes.
Property Lines and Fence Laws in Oklahoma: Initial Determinations
When fences are built on the line where the properties meet, disputes can arise over the exact location of the property line and its impact on the placement of fences. When it's not clear, it makes sense to conduct a survey to determine the exact location of the boundaries.
In Oklahoma, adjoining property owners are mutually responsible for the costs of maintaining a boundary fence unless one owner elects to hold his or her property out as open and not enclosed. If that owner later decides to enclose the property, he or she must refund the adjoining owner a just proportion of the value of the fence.
Oklahoma Tree Laws
Tree trimming and boundary trees are another source of neighbor disputes. Generally, neighbors can trim the trees up to the property line, but local ordinances vary. You don't have to destroy or remove a tree to be on the wrong side of the law in Oklahoma. Intentionally damaging a person's tree is not only a civil offense, it can also constitute a crime.
Oklahoma Property Line and Fence Laws: An Overview
The chart below provides a summary of state laws related to property line and fence laws in Oklahoma, including links to important code sections.
Boundary Fences: Maintenance
Owners of a boundary fence are equally bound to maintain the fences between them unless one of the owners chooses to let his/her land open as a public commons.
If an owner later encloses their property, then they must refund the other owner a just proportion of the value (at the time) of any division fence that the owner erects.
Boundary Fence: Removal or Replacement
An owner may erect a fence on the line between their property and the adjacent owners so that the fence may be partly on one side and partly on the other.
The owner of the fence has the same right to remove it as if it were entirely on the owner's property, as long as the fence is not more than five (5) feet from the line.
An owner cannot remove the fence for malicious purposes or in a way that causes unnecessary harm to the other owner.
Tree Damage: Penalties
Civil: You can sue a person who damages your tree and can recover up to ten times the actual loss.
Criminal: If a person willfully cuts down, destroys, or injuries an owner's tree, the person is guilty of a misdemeanor.
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 Oklahoma: Related Resources
- Oklahoma Property and Real Estate Laws
- Fencing Laws and Your Neighbors: FAQs
- Property Boundaries, Lines, and Neighbors
- Neighbors and Trees
Get Property Help from an Oklahoma Attorney
Neighbor disputes can be costly, both financially and emotionally. If you're quarreling with your neighbors about boundaries, fences, or trees, then you should consider meeting with an experienced Oklahoma real estate attorney to discuss your legal options.
Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney
Contact a qualified attorney.