A Guide to South Carolina Fence Laws

South Carolina does not have as many specific fence laws as other states in the U.S. except in regard to pools. Fence laws are determined on a local level.
Written by Nick Kunze
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
South Carolina has fewer specific fence laws than most states in the United States. However, it has certain protections involving livestock crossing property lines and trees extending into another property. Pools are required to have fences in South Carolina.
Many homeowners want a fence for the sake of privacy and cleanliness. However, since fences often go on the property line, they can cause controversy and legal disputes. Understanding the fence laws in your home state can save you from some serious headaches. 
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What are the South Carolina fence laws?

South Carolina has less defined fence laws than most states in the United States. 
For example, many states have fence laws surrounding boundary fences between residential neighbors. These fences are usually on both properties and must be specifically placed on the property border. Many states have height and arbitration rules, but South Carolina does not.
Refer to your local or county government to see if they have any fence laws that can help you if you’re caught in a fence-related dispute with your neighbor. 

Tree trimming laws

Many states also specify tree trimming laws. These laws are for disputes when part of a tree on one property extends to another property (often over a fence). While there are no specific laws for property disputes regarding trees, it is illegal to damage a tree in South Carolina.

Livestock laws

South Carolina does have more specific property laws in regards to livestock.
Specifically, they have laws for estray animals, which is a domesticated animal that has been abandoned or found wandering on someone else’s property. If an estray ends up on your property, you cannot take it as your own or exploit it in any way.
Key Takeaway South Carolina does not have many fence laws to clarify property disputes.

Does South Carolina law require fences?

The only type of residential fence required in South Carolina is around swimming pools.
Swimming pools in South Carolina must have a fence around them for safety. The fence’s gate must be self-latching and securely closed at all times. 
To be considered a swimming pool the body of water must be more than 24 inches in depth.
The fence must be no less than 48 inches in height.

How to legally build a fence in South Carolina

There is no law requiring a permit to build a fence in South Carolina. However, that doesn’t mean you won’t need one—many fence and property laws are determined on the local level, so check with your town or county government to find out if you need a permit.
There are size restrictions, however. Typically, in residential areas, front yard fences cannot be over four feet while backyard fences cannot beover six feet.

Does homeowners insurance cover fences?

Your fence will be covered by homeowners insurance. 
Fences fall under the “other structures” section of your homeowners policy, which also covers sheds, pools, and any other structure on your property that is not your main domicile. However, you’ll only be covered for up to 10% of your main dwelling’s coverage limit.
To be covered, the damage must also be caused by a named peril. Named perils are sudden, unexpected damages that are listed on your policy. Wear and tear or age will never be covered.
Common named perils include:
  • Fires
  • Storms
  • Falling objects
  • Theft
If you plan to make an insurance claim for your damaged fence, check your policy or call an agent to see how to proceed. Be sure to take lots of pictures of the damage for documentation purposes! 

How to save money on homeowners insurance in South Carolina

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Whether or not you need a permit in South Carolina comes down to local building regulations, not state laws. Check with your town or county government to see if you need a permit.
Typically, residential fences must be under four feet in the front yard and under six feet in the backyard.
For more information, check with your local government.
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