A Guide to Kansas Fence Laws

According to Kansas fence laws, homeowners are expected to equally share the maintenance of fences along property lines unless they agree to other terms.
Written by Matt Terzi
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
According to
fence laws, the general care of fences built on property lines falls on both property owners equally, unless those property owners agree to other terms.
It’s remarkable just how quickly a relationship between two neighbors can devolve over something as seemingly trivial as a fence between their properties. But make no mistake: fence debates can get heated, mean, and downright ugly.
There are several reasons why fences get to be so hotly contested. Building a fence involves clearly defining, and with permanence, where the exact property line is. It can affect one neighbor’s plans for their presumed yard space. And it’s easy to understand how one neighbor might feel a bit insulted when the other says they want a divider between them.
It’s important for homeowners in the Sunflower State to understand Kansas’ fence laws before they start planning the project itself. So the
home and car insurance
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created this useful guide to walk you through the fence laws in Kansas and help you get better prepared. Let’s get started!

What is Kansas’ partition fence maintenance statute?

Chapter 29 of Kansas statutes
, a fence separating two properties is to be maintained by both of the adjoining property owners equally, unless those two neighbors have mutually agreed to some other arrangement. Most states in the midwest have similar fence statutes, often referred to as “open range” laws.
Each county in Kansas has county officials designated as “fence viewers,” who help mediate and settle disputes between property owners over partition fences along property lines. They can also settle disputes regarding the erection of fences, too; if one neighbor wants one and the other doesn’t, the fence viewers can make the final determination.
If one neighbor feels the other isn’t doing their part to keep their portions of a fence in good order, they can complain to the county’s fence viewers, who will inspect the fence and then order the negligent party to get it fixed.
If that person still doesn’t do their part to upkeep the fence, the other neighbor can pay for the repairs themselves, and then sue their neighbor for the full cost of those repairs after thirty days, charging an additional one percent interest per month
If one neighbor fails to keep their portions of the fence in good order, they’re liable if their livestock invades the neighboring property and does damage. Again, fence viewers can be called in to help settle arising disputes.
It’s important to note that Kansas’ fence laws mostly relate to agricultural land. You’ll want to look into local laws and ordinances if you live in a town or city.
Key Takeaway If you and your neighbor disagree on building or maintaining a fence, it’s a good idea to get your county’s fence viewers involved to help settle the dispute amicably.

Exceptions to the Kansas fence statute

Kansas law doesn’t force anyone who doesn’t own livestock to have a fence. Unless you’re using that partition fence to enclose the rest of your property, you’re not legally obligated to pay for its construction or upkeep.
If you have livestock, or if you plan on connecting a partition fence with other fences on your property, you’ll then be expected to pay for the construction and upkeep of half of that fence between your property and your neighbor’s property, since you and your neighbor are both equally using and benefiting from it.

Spite fences

Unfortunately, we live in a society where some people take pleasure in trolling others, and “spite fences” —annoying, ugly, or even dangerous fences built maliciously to frustrate or irritate neighbors—can be a serious problem.
Kansas’ statewide fence statutes do nothing to regulate spite fences, but some local and county laws do. You’ll want to check your local laws to see what can be done to protect you against neighbors who take things a little too far by building these meanspirited structures.

Does Kansas law require fences?

You aren’t obligated to build or maintain a fence in Kansas unless you’re making use of a fence built along a property line. If that fence is used to enclose your property or if it connects with fences fully on your property, you can be compelled to pay for half of its upkeep.
While many states have laws requiring fencing around pools, Kansas doesn’t have any statewide legislation on the matter. However, this is another instance where you’ll need to look into local and county laws to see if pool fences are required, and what those requirements are specifically.
MORE: How to make a counteroffer after a home inspection

How to legally build a fence in Kansas

If you’re looking to build a fence on the property line, it’s important you follow a few basic guidelines to minimize your legal risks and maintain good relationships with your neighbors.
  • Research local and county laws first to make sure your fence meets height, space, design, and placement requirements
  • Speak with your neighbors second. You’ll want to tell them about your plans to build the fence, take in their input, hear their concerns, and discuss their involvement in the project (if it’s needed)
  • Get your property surveyed by professionals, and share the results of that survey with your neighbors
  • If you’re building the fence on your own property and not directly on the property line, be sure to face the “good side” of the fence toward your neighbors. The “good side” is defined as the flat side, not the side with bars or rails
  • Get a final agreement with your neighbor on paper regarding a partition fence. It’s good to wait and do this after the property has been surveyed, you’ve spoken about the fence with contractors, and you have a good sense of building and upkeep costs, so both you and your neighbors fully know what this fence will mean and where it will go.

Does homeowners insurance cover fences?

Fences are considered “other structures” by insurance providers, and they’re typically covered for the same “perils”—things like fires, wind damage, vandalism, etc.—as your home. 
Other structures are covered for up to 10 percent of the coverage limit of the home itself. In other words, if your home is worth $400,000, the insurance provider will pay up to $40,000 for those other structures.
Your homeowner’s insurance won’t pay for damages resulting from neglect or routine maintenance. But if your fence is damaged by one of those perils, you need to take photos of the damage and contact your insurance provider immediately to make sure you’re covered.

How to save money on homeowners insurance in Kansas

fence laws can preserve good relationships with neighbors, cut off nasty disputes at the pass, and save everyone bundles of undue headaches and hardship. It’s just one of those things you need to know about as a homeowner.
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Technically, both property owners share ownership of a fence built on the property line in Kansas. If one property owner is using the fence but the other isn’t, the one using it is responsible for its upkeep. If both property owners are using the fence—if it’s helping enclose their property or if they have livestock—both property owners share the responsibility equally.
You can only be obligated to pay for half of a fence built on the property line if you’re making use of that fence in the eyes of the county’s “fence viewer” officials. 
If you and your neighbor are both mutually responsible for the fence, but you’re not keeping up with maintenance, that neighbor can then repair the fence at their expense, then charge you the costs of that maintenance plus one percent interest per month.
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