A Guide to New Mexico Fence Laws

New Mexico does not have any formal laws on boundary fences between neighbors but it does practice the fence-out common law.
Written by Nicole Salvia
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
New Mexico
does not have any formal fence laws governing boundary fences, but common law dictates that any fence located on actual boundary lines belongs to both owners—thus both will be equally responsible for paying for its construction and upkeep.
You can’t always choose your neighbors, but you can choose the amount of privacy you wish to have in between your properties. But building a fence isn’t always easy, especially when there are so many local and state regulations in play.
Home and car insurance
broker app
has collected all the facts on New Mexico’s common fence laws. If you’ve got questions about fence laws in the Cactus State, you’ve landed on the right page.
Let Jerry find you the best homeowners insurance policy for your needs
* checking your rate won’t affect your credit score
Shop Now
* checking your rate won’t affect your credit score

What is New Mexico fence law?

New Mexico’s regulations on fences are a bit tricky to understand since the state abides by fence-out and common law principles.
Fence-out law is utilized by states where livestock is prominent and there are large swathes of empty land. In New Mexico, it is property owners’ responsibility to keep neighbors’ livestock out
New Mexico’s Fence Statutes
outline the fence-out regulations for property and livestock owners. Ranchers are not permitted to allow their livestock to graze or wander along any pastures that border an unfenced highway or heavily trafficked roadway, but they will not be held liable for damage the animals cause if they unknowingly cross boundary lines. 
For residential property owners, the fence statutes
all fences built to keep livestock out to be from one of the following materials: 
  • Barbed wire
  • Wooden board
  • Pole and post 
  • Stone, adobe, or woven wire 
Key Takeaway As a homeowner in New Mexico, it’s your responsibility to protect your property by fencing out any livestock that could destroy or damage your property.
MORE:What’s the difference between a builder and general contractor?

Does New Mexico law require fences?

You are only required to build a fence if your property has a pool, and the requirements will vary from city to city. 
Many cities follow these state guidelines (as listed in current
New Mexico building code Appendix G
) regarding pool, hot tub, and spa fencing:
  • The fence must be at least four feet high and no more than two inches off the ground
  • The fence should not have any openings that allow the passage of an object over four inches in diameter 
  • Solid fences without openings (like stone or adobe) must not have any added obtrusions or indentations
  • Chain link fencing must have 2.25-inch squares 
  • Any diagonal lattice fencing may not form openings greater than 1.75 inches
If you’re planning on adding a pool or already have one, make sure you are aware of your fence’s construction and maintenance requirements.
MORE: Does home insurance cover earthquake damage

Specifications for residential fencing

Most cities have height restrictions for residential fences, so depending on the type of fence you’re adding, you’ll want to make sure you fall within these specifications:
  • Front yard fences: typically maximum of three feet
  • Backyard fences: maximum of six feet
  • Pool fences: minimum of four feet
  • Deer fencing: maximum eight feet 
  • Retaining walls: maximum of four feet
Per New Mexico common law, if you don’t like fences or you want to change the aesthetic of your property but you share a fence line with a neighbor, you’ll need to work this issue out privately. 
If you find equally sharing the costs of your neighbor’s boundary fence to be a financial (or other) burden, you can try to prove your responsibility for the fence is unjust. Reasons include: 
  • The cost outweighs the benefit of the fence
  • Paying for the fence would cause financial hardship
  • The costs of the fence appear excessive, unnecessary, or exclusively related to your neighbor’s personal taste
If you can prove that your neighbor is acting a bit excessive, a court may decide in your favor and require a different split of financial responsibility.

How to legally build a fence in New Mexico

If you’re thinking of adding a fence to your property in New Mexico, start by informing any neighbors, especially if your properties adjoin and you already share a fence line. Make sure you have your property surveyed so you can see exactly where your property lines fall.
You can create an informal contract with any neighbors who share your fence. Make surethey’re aware of their equal financial responsibility for the fence and give them time to respond or provide additional input. 
New Mexico requires you to obtain a permit if you are building a fence over six feet high. 

Does homeowners insurance cover fences?

Fences are considered “other structures” within your homeowners insurance policy, and they’ll typically be covered for up to 10% of your dwelling coverage limit. 
Your fence is covered for the same perils as your main residence, often including fire, hail, lightning, vandalism, and more (but not floods or earthquakes). 
Your insurance will not cover damage to your fence that occurs from aging, normal wear and tear, or negligence (i.e., failure to keep up with maintenance). 

How to save money on homeowners insurance in New Mexico

Despite its outsize share in the nation’s national disasters, New Mexico is one of the most affordable states for homeowners insurance, with an average annual premium cost of $1,224
Even so, you could be overpaying for your policy. Why not shave a little extra off your insurance bill by downloading the
Enter your information, and in 45 seconds Jerry will search for customized home and auto insurance quotes from top name-brand providers and help you make an easy in-app switch. 
For car insurance alone, Jerry users save an average of $887 a year. 
“I just found
and I’m sooo happy right now! I’ll be saving $195 a month on my homeowners and car insurance! No phone calls going back and forth—my service providers were excellent at communicating via text. Now I’m spreading the word!” —Karen A. 


Yes. You need a permit to build a fence that is over six feet high.
Yes—but not always. If you can prove that the fence would cause a financial burden or the cost outweighs the benefit, you may be able to get a court to excuse you from some or all of the financial burden.
You can, but only if it is deer fencing. You’ll need a permit to do so.
Save an average of 18% by bundling your home and auto insurance
Bundle your home and auto insurance with Jerry and save!
Try Jerry

Easiest way to compare and buy car insurance

No long forms
No spam or unwanted phone calls
Quotes from top insurance companies
Find insurance savings