A Guide to North Carolina Fence Laws

Fences aren’t legally required in North Carolina unless you own livestock or have a swimming pool.
Written by Megan Lebron
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
Updated on Apr 01, 2022
Fences aren’t required in
North Carolina
unless you have livestock on your land or a swimming pool or hot tub. If you decide to build a fence around your property, your neighbors aren’t under any obligation to help pay for or maintain it.
If you’re thinking about putting up a fence on your property, there are a lot of factors to consider. Not only do you have to consider your neighbors and property boundaries, but there might also be state laws and local ordinances to follow.
That’s why home and
car insurance
broker app
has put together this guide with everything you need to know about fence laws in North Carolina. 
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What is North Carolina’s Fence and Stock Law?

Chapter 68
of North Carolina’s General Statutes establishes North Carolina as a “fencing-in state,” meaning that anyone who owns livestock is required by law to build a fence around their property to keep their animals penned in
“Livestock” includes but isn’t limited to:
  • Equine animals
  • Bovine animals
  • Sheep and goats
  • Llamas
  • Swine 
Letting the animals roam outside your property or failing to maintain a proper fence can result in a misdemeanor charge, so it’s incredibly important to construct a fence and keep it up to standard if you own livestock in North Carolina. 

What if I don’t own livestock?

If you’re living in North Carolina and you don’t have any livestock animals, then you don’t have to build a fence around your property. However, if you do want to build a fence, there are a few key things to keep in mind.
Unlike in some other states where neighbors are obligated to pay for and maintain fences along property boundaries, no such obligation exists in North Carolina—meaning that if you want to put up a fence, you’ll have to pay for it all yourself.
You and your neighbors can agree to erect a fence on a property boundary and maintain it jointly. However, it’s best to get any agreement about a boundary fence in writing
Keep in mind that if your neighbor sells their house, the agreement is no longer enforceable with the new owners. To avoid any messy fence disputes, it’s wiser to just build a fence within your property boundaries from the start. 

Spite fences

Sometimes fences don’t make good neighbors—and North Carolina law agrees. If you or a neighbor builds a fence that serves no purpose to the owner other than to annoy their neighbor, North Carolina courts would consider it a “spite fence.” 
If the fence “blocks the air or light” of a neighbor, then a court will consider it a nuisance. If, however, the fence was erected to shield your property from “objectionable noises or unseemingly conduct” coming from your neighbors, a court is less likely to consider the fence a nuisance.
Key Takeaway You are required to build a fence around your property if you own livestock. Otherwise, fences are optional. Your neighbors are under no obligation to pay for or maintain a boundary fence.

Does North Carolina law require fences?

Only under specific circumstances.
If you own livestock, North Carolina law requires that you build a fence to keep your animals penned in.
North Carolina law also requires fences around any pool or hot tub capable of holding 24 or more inches of water. These regulations are to prevent accidental drownings, especially for young children.
If you have a hot tub or pool on your property, it must meet the following requirements:
  • Completely surrounded by a barrier at least 4 feet tall
  • Slats in said barrier can be no further apart than 4 inches
  • Links in a chain-link fence can be no wider than 2.25 inches
  • Barrier or fence must be able to support 150 pounds of weight without collapsing
  • All attached gates must be secure and have a self-closing latch
  • If the wall of a building or house serves as part of the barrier, any windows in that wall must have security features
There are a few exceptions to these codes. For instance, you don’t need a fence around an above-ground pool with sides taller than 4 feet as long as the ladder to access the pool is removable. If you have a hot tub with a cover that meets ASTM Safety Cover guidelines, you don’t need a fence around it.

How to legally build a fence in North Carolina

Before building a fence around your property in North Carolina, it’s a good idea to check your local city or county building codes to see if you need a permit to build a fence. 
If you’re planning to build a fence over 4 feet tall, you’ll likely need a permit.
Keep in mind that your fence needs to be within the bounds of your property unless you have an express written agreement with your neighbors. If you’re unsure where your property line is, you’ll need to have your property surveyed.

Does homeowners insurance cover fences?

Typically, insurance providers consider fences “other structures” in your homeowners policy. This means that most policies will cover damage to your fence due to any of the
named perils
listed in your policy, usually for up to 10% of your dwelling coverage amount
Read your policy carefully to see if your fence is covered for damage caused by natural disasters, as named perils lists are limited. If this is the case, you might want to purchase extra insurance coverage to make sure your property is fully covered.

How to save money on homeowners insurance in North Carolina

There are many unique factors about living in North Carolina that can affect the cost of homeowners insurance, but with the
app, you can make sure you’re getting the best deal on your home and auto insurance.
After downloading the Jerry app, all you have to do is enter your information and then sit back and let Jerry do the rest of the work. Not only will you have access to personalized quotes from the nation’s top providers, but Jerry will also provide end-to-end support and help you find bundling options.
“I was literally floored by the savings
found for me. I was paying close to $960 every 6 months and now I’m paying $380 every 6 months for IDENTICAL COVERAGE in North Carolina!” —Olivia Z.


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