A Guide to Maine Fence Laws

Maine’s fence laws are minimal, giving landowners autonomy in fence construction, but specific regulations vary across the state.
Written by Kathryn Mae Kurlychek
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
Most of the time, people don’t really have to think about fences or their laws. But maybe you’re moving into a new home and want to build a fence, or one of your neighbors is looking to put a fence up along their property line. 
In these cases, understanding your local fence laws can help you avoid unintentional conflict with your neighbors.
That’s why
comparison and broker app
has done the digging on
’s fence laws to help keep you up-to-date and your fences up to code. In this article, we’ll cover the basics of the property line and fence laws in Maine, including whether or not fences are protected by home insurance and how to save on your insurance. 
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What are the property line and fence laws in Maine?

While people might think of wide-open spaces in states like
, Maine remains one of the most rural states in the nation. Most of the fence laws in Maine were originally written to address agricultural lines. However, they’ve been adjusted, expanded, and currently apply to residential use as well.  
Because the laws have been adapted from old-timey origins, they may actually be a bit hard to understand. So let’s break it down.

Common fence laws

A common fence divides two properties—whether that’s agricultural or residential. In Maine, a fence is legal if it’s four feet high and kept in good condition. But who’s responsible? 
Like many states, an individual can be held responsible for the building and maintenance of a fence. But Maine’s laws are not as clear about the financial responsibility when a fence is first constructed. 
For example, if two homeowners living side-by-side disagree on whether a fence is necessary, the fence is not always considered joint property. Thus, the homeowner that doesn’t want the fence is not responsible for paying for its construction or maintenance. 
However, the homeowner building the fence is responsible for ensuring it meets state, county, and local ordinances. Additionally, the homeowner who did not build the fence—but whose property it adjoins—has the right to demand it be kept in good condition. 
If the fence is not maintained, the neighbor can file a complaint with the town, resulting in an inspection. If the fence owner does not complete any required repairs, the neighbor has the right to repair the fence and
sue the fence owner
for the expenses.
Key Takeaway Fences that share property lines in Maine are not always considered joint property. 

Agricultural fences

In Maine, plant life can be considered a fence if it is large enough. For example, a row of shrubs along a pond or creek can be considered a natural “fence” that, if shared between landowners, requires both sides to maintain.
Indeed, trees and shrubs often grow across property owner lines. In these cases, the tree or shrub is designated as owned by the individual whose property the trunk is mainly situated. If the roots or branches of these plants extend onto another person’s property, they can perform maintenance like trimming or cutting branches or roots—but not at the expense of damaging the tree or other plant life.  

Pool fences

Maine requires a fence to be constructed around an inground pool or above-ground pool that’s less than 24 inches tall.  
Pool fences cannot be agricultural borders or plant life. However, a wall along the side of a house or garage can count as part of a pool fence, as it encloses the pool. State statutes do not specify fence heights or building materials. 

Spite fences

While the state of Maine allows for fences to be kept in good condition between properties, it does not tolerate spite fences.
Spite fences generally refer to any fence (or fence-like structure, including trees and shrubs) constructed to agitate landowners of the adjoining property. When it comes to spite fences, it’s all about the intent. Even if a fence is legally constructed, it may still be deemed illegal if the motive behind building it is malicious.
More simply, Maine won’t allow you to build a fence just to annoy your neighbor or to keep an old, decrepit fence up just because you know your neighbor hates it. 

Does Maine law require fences?

In short, fences are not required by Maine law unless you have an inground or above-ground pool that’s less than24 inches tall
Fences may be built at the discretion of landowners if they do not violate state or local ordinances. Of course, homeowners should be aware that local jurisdictions often have other restrictions on fencing. 
In general, restrictions often include the height and materials used to construct the fence. There may be additional restrictions, like obtaining a building permit, as well. 

How to legally build a fence in Maine

If you’re looking to construct a new fence in Maine, you’ll want to visit your city’s website for detailed information on the process.
Many cities, like
and Bar Harbor, require you to obtain a building permit before constructing your fence. Others don’t, so it’s important to know the regulations in your area. Rural counties tend to have more relaxed fence laws. 
When it comes to locating your property boundary lines for constructing a new fence, get in touch with your
local assessor’s office

Does homeowners insurance cover fences?

Most homeowner’s policies will insure your fence for up to 10% of your home’s coverage limit
If your fence is vandalized, damaged in a weather event, or damaged by any other covered peril in your policy,  your homeowner’s insurance may cover some or all of the repair costs. However, if your fence is simply old or is suffering from normal wear and tear, the costs to maintain it usually won’t be covered. 
Key Takeaway Your home insurance policy may cover the costs of repairing a fence if it’s damaged by a covered peril. 

How to save money on homeowners insurance in Maine

Whether you’re a first-time homeowner or long-time resident,
can help you find savings on
home and auto insurance
in Maine. 
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Depending on where you live, some cities may require you to obtain a fence permit before starting construction on a new fence.
Sometimes. While fences can be considered shared property between neighbors, if you’re a homeowner that doesn’t want a fence on your property, your neighbor can’t always force you to pay for its construction or maintenance.
No. For most residential properties, the maximum fence height is 6 to 7 feet. In special cases, you may seek a variance to obtain a permit for a taller fence.
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