Wyoming, the owner of any partition fence separating their land from another person’s may charge the other person half of the fence’s construction and maintenance costs. These shared maintenance costs can be divided according to each property owner’s interests.
Although it may not seem like a big deal to construct a new fence, it does affect more than just your property. History tells us that fences often lead to neighborly disputes, so it is important to understand your state’s law before beginning to construct one.
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What is Wyoming fence law?
WY Stat 11-28-106spells out Wyoming’s law dealing with the construction and maintenance of a partition fence. To sum it up, the owner of a legal fence that separates two parties’ properties can require the other to pay for half of the construction and/or maintenance costs.
If the neighbor refuses to cooperate and contribute to payments, the owner may initiate a civil suit. The owner may recover half the costs for fence construction and legal fees.
Exceptions to Title 11
There may come a time when your neighbor doesn’t want to share your fence—or worse, you don’t want to share theirs. What happens then? Can a neighbor really be forced to pay for half of a fence they don’t want?
Fences on a boundary line belong to both property owners unless agreed otherwise. So, yes, you can be legally compelled to pay for half of the upkeep of a fence you don’t want.
So long as the fence is in legal standing, it cannot be taken down just because it doesn’t match your house or you don’t like the way it looks.
Disputes like this are best resolved by having an honest conversation with your neighbor. You share the space and both property owners deserve to be happy—or at least be satisfied with a middle ground.
If your neighbor’s fence violates any state or local ordinance, however, you can report it. If the owner refuses to fix it, they can be fined and sued for noncompliance.
The only real exception is in subdivisions. If one property owner is keeping (legal) livestock, they must pay for all the construction and maintenance of a subdividing fence around their perimeter. The adjoining neighbor(s) will have zero liability for any damages to this fence.
Simply put, a spite fence is a fence that is built to irritate your neighbor. Spite fences are usually tall and/or unsightly. Although spite fences aren’t directly addressed by Wyoming law, individuals have successfully brought cases to court to get a spite fence taken down.
If you suspect your neighbor may have built a spite fence, you must be able to prove it was (1) built with malicious intent and (2) has a tangible negative effect on you if you want to try to have it removed.
Key Takeaway In most cases, neighbors must equally share the costs of constructing and maintaining fences built directly on the property line in Wyoming.
Does Wyoming law require fences?
The only fences required for Wyoming homeowners are ones that keep out cattle since Wyoming is a “fence out” state. If you do not wish to have roaming livestock enter your property, you are responsible for constructing a fence. Other than that, no fencing is legally required for private residences.
In the public sector, there are fencing rules in place—especially around public pools. There are specific parameters for enclosures around public pools:
- The enclosure must be in the form of a fence, wall, or building with no private entrances to the pool area
- Enclosures with gates must deter children and animals from accessing the pool
- Gates must be self-closing
- Enclosures must be at least four feet tall
How to build a fence legally in Wyoming
We recommend discussing your plans and desires with your neighbor before starting construction. It is easier to iron out any disagreements before you’ve broken ground.
Wyoming law lays out exactly what building a legal fence entails. For starters, it must be constructed of steel, concrete, or sound wooden posts with three spans of barbed wire. Any other materials must be as strong and protective as the above.
A fence enclosing a hay corral must be between six and eight feet tall and made of boards, poles, or wires.
Does homeowners insurance cover fences?
Fences are typically covered for up to 10% of your dwelling’s coverage limit, as they fall under the category of “other structures.” Your fence is covered for the same
perilsas your main house—usually including vandalism and forces of nature.
It is always best to check the details of your specific policy to see exactly what is covered, and to take photos to submit with your claim and for your records.
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Do I need a permit to build a fence in Wyoming?
A permit is not required, you need to follow local zoning codes. These codes require a height of less than six feet and approval from a building inspector.
Sharp objects such as spikes and nails are prohibited on the top of fences unless you’re using barbed wire in an industrial zone.
What if my neighbor’s livestock wanders on to my property?
You are responsible for keeping livestock off of your property with your own fence in Wyoming. If your neighbor’s livestock makes its way onto your property and you don’t have a fence, the livestock owner will not be liable for any damages or face any punishment.
If you do have a fence and livestock make their way in, contact the rancher or the Wyoming Livestock Board.