A Guide to Utah Fence Laws

Utah has detailed fence and property line laws made up of a blend of court-made common law, state statutes, and local ordinances.
Written by Payton Ternus
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
The state of Utah has detailed laws when it comes to fences and property lines, made up of a mix of local ordinances, state statutes, and court-made common law. If you decide to build a fence, you can have the adjoining landowner pay for half of the cost if it separates your lands, is a reasonable price, and the type of fencing is common in the area.
When it comes to residential fencing, Utah has a surprisingly dynamic history that originates from settlers organizing their small towns into lots and building fences with whatever materials they had. Fences are different from other parts of your property since they can potentially affect other property owners—so it’s vital to know your state’s fence laws if you have or want one.
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What are Utah’s property line and fence laws?

Utah’s state statutes regarding fence laws are
Utah Code § 4-26-102
Utah Code § 6-4031
. These two statutes lay out the foundation for fence regulations throughout the state. The principle of the law is that neighbors sharing a boundary fence must each contribute a reasonable amount towards the cost of fence construction and maintenance.
In other words, a qualified landowner can have their neighbor pay half of the costs surrounding the fence. However, Utah landowners have the right to enforce their property rights, through private agreements or the court process, if a neighbor begins to use their land in any way. This is considered to be encroachment, a form of trespassing.

Exceptions to Utah’s property line and fence laws

Utah has fairly detailed fence laws, but there’s a catch—many of the state laws only apply to agricultural land. For example, the law that says both neighbors with a boundary fence must each contribute to the fencing costs is referring to agricultural land used for livestock. However, common law recognizes this rule of joint ownership to also apply to residential lands.
But what happens if the neighboring landowner wants a cheaper fence than what has been proposed—or no fence at all? Can you be required to pay for a fence you don’t want in Utah?
The answer is yes—for the most part. Qualified landowners can require the adjoining landowner to pay half of the costs if:
  • The cost for the type of fence is reasonable
  • The type of fence is commonly found in the area
  • The fence is or will act as a partition fence separating the lands
  • The costs of construction do not outweigh the expenses of connectors, posts, and wires
If the adjoining landowner refuses the fence proposal, the landowner can maintain a civil action against them for half of the cost of that fencing portion.

Boundary by Acquiescence

Boundary by Acquiescence is not a true law found in Utah’s state or civil code. It is a doctrine that has been developed by appellate courts over the years to help property owners avoid court. It states that even if a land survey marks a boundary somewhere else, a boundary is recognized by any long-standing markers showing where property owners understand the boundary to be.
Key Takeaway For the majority of cases, costs of fence construction and maintenance must be split between neighbors under Utah law.

Does Utah law require fences?

There is only one type of fence that homeowners in Utah may be required to have: a pool fence. The state of Utah has regulations concerning fences for public pools—but not private pools. Regulations for private pool fences are left in the hands of city and county governments.
If you’re a homeowner in Utah and you have a private pool, you should brush up on your municipal and county laws regarding private pool fences. You’ll need to make sure your fence meets all the requirements.

How to legally build a fence in Utah

You’ve decided to build a fence at your home in Utah—how do you start? Begin with informing your neighbors that have property adjoining yours. You will also need to have the property surveyed if you aren’t sure where the property line is, and you don’t have enough evidence to claim Boundary by Acquiescence.
Next, send them a “good neighbor fence letter” to make sure they know about the fence and are comfortable with their upcoming financial responsibility. Sending the letter at least 30 days beforehand gives them enough time to respond. You might be able to solve any disagreements privately, but you should prepare for court if anything serious comes up.
In most cases, you will not need a state permit to build a fence in Utah—unless it is over 7 feet tall. While you may not need a permit from the state, there might be other rules you need to follow from the city, county, or your homeowners association (HOA).

Does homeowners insurance cover fences?

Under standard homeowners insurance policies, fences fall under the “other structures” category. Other structures are usually covered up to 10% of the dwelling coverage limit in your policy. Your residential fence will be covered for the same perils as the dwelling too—typically including lightning, fire, vandalism, and hail.
If a wildfire, a neighbor’s fallen tree, or a storm damages your fence, make sure you go over the details of your homeowners insurance policy to see if it will be covered. If the damage will be covered, document the damage with photographs and submit them when you file your claim.

How to save money on homeowners insurance in Utah

Utah is a very affordable state when it comes to
homeowners insurance
—the average annual premium cost is only $711! This is low compared to other states, and if you’re hoping to save more on your monthly bill you can download the
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You don't need a state permit to build a fence in Utah unless it is over 7 feet tall. However, permits may be required by local regulations, so make sure you check with your municipal and county codes and HOA to make sure you are following all requirements.
The short answer is yes. Your neighbor can make you pay for a fence if the cost is reasonable, the type of fence is commonly found in the area, and the fence acts as a partition fence separating the landowner’s property from the adjoining landowner’s property.
Yes, you can build an 8-foot fence in Utah—but the fence may not exceed 8 feet in most circumstances. Check your local laws for further specifications.
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