Spite Fence Statutes Impact Real Estate and Neighbor Disputes

Home ownership is something that most American families look forward to at some point in their lives. Finding the perfect home involves more than shopping for the right floor plan and right school district – it also includes finding the right neighbors. For many homebuyers, surveying a neighborhood to obtain an idea about the type of neighbors you will have seems tedious and burdensome but, in the long term, it may help to ensure you find the right neighbors for your lifestyle. When neighborly disputes arise, there are many legal ramifications that may arise, including the risk for becoming involved in spite fence laws.

A spite fence is not something that most families are foreign to. While you may not know what the name for the spite fence is, there is no doubt you have probably seen one in your neighborhood or in an adjoining neighborhood. Spite fences are those fences that are erected by someone in the neighborhood simply to annoy or disgust the people, or person, around them. In many neighborhoods, spite fences are erected between the properties of two neighbors who are in dispute and often it is difficult to proof up an annoyance for the purpose of having the fence removed. This is especially true if the spite fence is made of natural materials, including shrubs, trees or natural wood fencing.


To pursue removal of a neighborhood spite fence, it will be necessary that you obtain court order that the fencing be removed. For some courts it is a difficult challenge to ascertain what is annoying and built out of spite – especially if the fence is a natural solution. Even still, when this type of fence is erected in your neighborhood, be sure to consult with a real estate attorney.


In some states, there are specific Spite Fence Statutes that will guide a judge in determining what a spite fence is and what is not. In the Statute, the general fail-safe guidelines involve the dimensions of the fence and the material the fence is made of. Therefore, if you find that you are facing spite fence litigation, be sure to consult with an attorney regarding the use of the statute in your favor.


Real estate, home ownership, and neighbor commadarie are important to your lifestyle and health outside of the workplace. When faced with potential neighbor disputes, especially regarding the exterior of your homes, be sure to know what your rights are, with regard to a spite fence, and if your state offers any statutory guidelines as a result.