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What is a spite fence?

On Behalf of | Jun 1, 2022 | Real Estate Law |

Neighbors often run into disagreements regarding fences and property lines. You may have heard people talk about spite fences and how problematic these can be.

But what is a spite fence, exactly? It is illegal to build these fences, but what should you be looking for if you’re worried that your neighbor is going to break that law?

A private nuisance

Essentially, a spite fence is just an overly built fence that was designed specifically to be a nuisance to someone else on their own property. Spite fences are those that are unnecessarily more than ten feet high, as defined by California law. When people erect these fences, they are said to do so maliciously and with the strict purpose of being spiteful to their neighbors.

For instance, maybe you’ve had disagreements with your neighbor and the two of you aren’t on good terms. They know that you like to grow plants in your backyard and that your family spends a lot of time back there. If they construct a 20-foot fence strictly to block the sunlight so that you can’t grow anything or enjoy your own property, they have violated your rights. This is true even if they have properly constructed the fence on the right side of the property line and followed all the other guidelines.

What can you do?

You could find yourself in a complicated situation if you believe your neighbor is doing something purposely to annoy or frustrate you, but they claim that they are not. They may say that the new fence is completely legal and refuse to take it down. At a time like this, it’s important to know what legal steps to take