A fence can be a very useful accessory. It can seclude you from your neighbors, keep your pets inside and your kids safe. A fence can also add to the exterior design of the house.

Before you start on your fence, you might need to acquire a building permit. A permit makes sure the design, materials used, size, and construction are up to the standards of the city.

Additionally, it ensures the construction is safe for you and everyone around. For example, it can eliminate such issues as the fence falling or breaking.

Luckily, you don’t always need a permit. It depends on a variety of factors. You might be wondering, do I need a permit to put up a fence? Let’s find out!

So, Do I Need a Permit to Put Up a Fence?

Wood-Fences-by-Dakota-Unlimited Do I Need a Permit to Put Up a Fence? (Answered)
Image source: Dakota Unlimited

To answer this in a few words, most fences do need a permit. Of course, laws differ from state to state and city to city, so you should check the laws of your area.

If your fence is under or equal to 6 feet in height, then you don’t need a Building Permit. However, a fence of any height still needs a Zoning Permit.

A fence in your front yard should not exceed 5 feet in height and needs to be installed behind property lines (on your property). There are additional requirements if your home is on a corner lot. The same applies for when you’re looking to install a fence on the corner.

You will most likely need a permit if your fence is a pool safety barrier. The same applies if it exceeds the height of 6 feet, if the property you’re building on is heritage listed, and if the fence obstructs the view of traffic. Removing a significant tree to build a fence will require a tree works permit.

Vinyl-Fencing-by-National-Fence-Systems-Inc. Do I Need a Permit to Put Up a Fence? (Answered)Image source: National Fence Systems, Inc.

In short, some rules stay consistent throughout the country. However, the rules may vary depending on your particular situation. It’s always best to consult with your local council.

The last thing you want to do is build an unpermitted fence. That can potentially land you in a lot of trouble and cost you extra money. Your local government can put a stop-order on the construction, in which case you’d have to remove the fence, apply for a permit, and start all over again.

Where Do You Live?

Rosewood-Orange-Brown-Wood-Grain-PVC-Vinyl-Privacy-Fence-by-Illusions-Vinyl-Fenc Do I Need a Permit to Put Up a Fence? (Answered)Image source: Illusions Vinyl Fence

Building a fence in an urban area, like Los Angeles or New York City, will be harder than in the more rural areas, such as Texas and Alabama. The more densely populated your neighborhood is, the more laws you have to comply with. In big cities, you also have to consider the design of your neighborhood and public safety.

On the other hand, if you live on your own farm in a rural area, the odds are in your favor. You can probably do whatever you want with your land and construct almost anything. It’s still best to check with the local authorities to make sure your structure is durable and safe.

PVC-Vinyl-White-Privacy-Fence-from-Illusions-Vinyl-Fence Do I Need a Permit to Put Up a Fence? (Answered)Image source: Illusions Vinyl Fence

To sum up:

  • If you live in a highly-populated district, you will need a permit.
  • If you live on your own farm with no buildings around, you don’t need a permit.
  • If your fence is in your backyard, it doesn’t require a permit, as long as it’s under 6 feet high.

At the end of the day, regardless of where you live, you should always consult with your local building inspector’s office. Building a fence without a permit can be costly in the long-term, and cause difficulties.

Steps to Take to File for a Fence Permit

Wood-Fences-by-VIKING-FENCE-CO Do I Need a Permit to Put Up a Fence? (Answered)Image source: VIKING FENCE CO

If you figured out that you need a permit, how do you go about applying for one? The process is quite simple. You can apply online, or in writing at your local council.

Most applications come with a fee and have a processing time. It pays off to get organised before beginning the construction process.

Check with your local government agency to see which documents you need to provide for the application. You can find everything online, or call the office directly. That will save you a lot of time.

Wood-Fences-by-VIKING-FENCE-CO-1 Do I Need a Permit to Put Up a Fence? (Answered)Image source: VIKING FENCE CO

Once everything is ready, you should fill out a form with the permitting office, and submit it. You can usually find the form online.

Your site plan should show the following:

  • Property lines
  • Fence location
  • Fence height
  • Fence material
  • Fence builder/contractor

If you have a neighbor that you’ll be sharing the fence with, you should also get their consent. They might need to pay for a part of the fence.

Do I Need a Permit for Repairs and Replacements?

Vinyl-Fence-by-Unique-Fence-Gate Do I Need a Permit to Put Up a Fence? (Answered)Image source: Unique Fence & Gate

Basic repairs don’t require a permit, but you need to know what a basic repair is in your state. For example, if you’re going to take out one part of the fence, you need to replace it with an identical part. In short, you cannot replace the fence completely and build a new, taller fence with different materials.

Do I need a permit to replace a fence? The short answer is yes. That applies even if the new fence will be similar to the old one. Luckily, these permits are quite easy to obtain.

How Much Does a Fence Permit Cost?

Wood-Privacy-Fences-by-Atlanta-Decking-Fence-Co.-Inc. Do I Need a Permit to Put Up a Fence? (Answered)Image source: Atlanta Decking & Fence Co., Inc.

The cost of the permit depends on different factors and varies from city to city. Generally speaking, be prepared to pay around $60 for a permit.

Whether you need a permit depends on where you live. Thus, if you live in a highly-populated area, you will most likely need a permit. Fences under 6 feet don’t usually require a permit at all.

If you have neighbours, you should always consult with them and make sure your fence won’t disrupt their everyday life.

Once you’ve taken care of that, you can contact a contractor and ask them to design your fence.

Ending thoughts on “Do I need a permit to put up a fence?”

Hope-Designs-by-Hope-Designs Do I Need a Permit to Put Up a Fence? (Answered)Image source: Hope Designs

The chances that you can get away with building a fence without a permit (if one is needed) are very slim. Fences are usually big enough for people to notice.

Municipalities also enforce zoning laws, which determine how high your fence can be, as not to disrupt the design of the neighborhood. They also mandate which materials you can use for construction, and sometimes even the style of your fence!

Consult with your local governing agency, and apply for a fence-building permit if you need one. You can do so at your local building and planning office. It is a simple process that will save you lots of trouble in the future!

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