A guide to New Hampshire fence laws

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New Hampshire residents are required to maintain a division fence between properties, and the property owners on each side are equally responsible for paying for the fence’s construction and upkeep. When there are disputes, government officials called fence-viewers can intervene.
Division fences are the most obvious and easy way for landowners to identify the boundaries of their property, separate land and vegetation, and keep their animals and livestock safely on their property. 
Historically, fences are the source of many neighborly disputes about property lines, encroachment, and maintenance responsibilities. This is why most states have developed some rules and guidelines about appropriate fencing. 
Home and auto insurance broker Jerry is here to help you keep your home protected physically and financially—so read on for everything you need to know about fence laws in New Hampshire. 

What is New Hampshire fence law?

In New Hampshire, owners of adjoining lands are required to build and maintain a partition fence together. Construction and maintenance costs are to be divided according to the wishes of both parties. The arrangement must be documented in writing and filed in the town records. 
The agreement is binding for current and future occupants of the properties. 
If occupants can not agree on a fence division and one has not already been established by former occupants, a fence-viewer can intervene to help create an agreement. This agreement will be bound by the same rules as one created by the occupants themselves. 
New Hampshire has few restrictions when it comes to building a fence. A legal fence in New Hampshire must:
  • Be of a height adequate for its purpose
  • Be constructed of 
    • Rails, timber, or stone
    • Wire, barbed wire, or woven wire (like a chain link) that can be electrified
    • Rivers, streams, ditches, hedges, or other natural barriers

Exceptions 

If a landowner decides to stop improving or maintaining any portion of their land in New Hampshire, this is referred to as laying land in common. If the land is laid in common, the owner must say so in writing, file a notice with the county, and notify the adjoining landowners if they are known. 
The landowner is no longer responsible for maintaining a fence in the common area—but they also may not remove an existing fence in that area.

Spite fences

New Hampshire law states that a fence may not be constructed in a way that interferes with other residents' enjoyment of their home or property. 
Any fence (or fence-like structure) over five feet in height constructed purely to annoy neighbors can be deemed a private nuisance. If this happens, the builder has 30 days to remove the fence or must pay neighbors a fine of ten dollars per day until the structure is gone. 
Key Takeaway New Hampshire residents share responsibility for maintaining a fence along their property line.

Does New Hampshire law require fences?

Yes. New Hampshire law requires partition fences between properties. The responsibility for the building and maintenance of a fence is shared between the owners of adjoining land and is established in writing as part of the town record. 

Public pools

New Hampshire law also requires fencing around public pools. These fences must have boards or bars no more than four inches apart (no more than 1/2” apart within 18 inches of the gate lock). 
Pool gates must swing open to the outside and remain closed at all times with working locks engaged when the pool is not open or available for use. 
New Hampshire does not regulate the fencing of private pools, but your specific city or county might. Even if there are no specific regulations, fencing in your pool is the safest idea. 

How to legally build a fence in New Hampshire

Some requirements may vary by your specific location, but in general, here’s what to keep in mind:
  • You do not need a permit. 
  • Fences are not to exceed a height of 6’ in the back or sides of the property, or 4 feet in the front. 
  • Partition fences can include natural barriers like hedges, rivers, streams, and ditches.
  • If any questions arise, fence-viewers are available to inspect, advise, and settle disputes regarding fence construction and repair. 

Does homeowners insurance cover fences?

As long as your homeowners policy includes other structures coverage, your fence is covered for the same perils as your house
Virtually all home insurance policies allow for other structures coverage that includes things like barns, fences, and sheds. The trick is to make sure you know which perils are covered in your insurance (and which are not). 

How to save money on homeowners insurance in New Hampshire

As a homeowner, you should do everything you can to maintain and protect your property—including keeping insurance policies to cover damage that is out of your control. The smart homeowner also looks for ways to save money on insurance without sacrificing coverage. 
That’s where Jerry comes in! Jerry contacts your insurance company to get the details of your current coverage so you don’t have to scale a mountain of questions. You get all the best prices and coverage with none of the legwork.
The savings keep coming even after Jerry finds you great insurance at the lowest price. Before every policy renewal period, you’ll be presented with new competitive quotes, which means you’ll always have the best coverage at the best price.
Jerry was wonderful! I used it for my auto and renters policies. I trusted it so much that I signed up my homeowners insurance under Jerry as well. All of the agents are amazingly nice and knowledgeable.” —Mary Y.
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FAQs

In most counties, you will not need a permit as long as your fence is built within the state’s height requirements—no more than 6’ tall in back and side yards and no more than four feet in the front (three if you have a corner lot).
New Hampshire law requires that a fence be constructed and maintained by both neighboring landowners. So, yes. 
If your neighbor believes your portion of the fence to be insufficient, they can ask fence-viewers to come and inspect the property. If you are found negligent, you will be given a time limit to make repairs before facing fines.
The limit for fence height in New Hampshire is 6 feet. If you have a special need for something taller, you can petition local authorities for a special building permit, providing you meet setback requirements.

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