Can a Fence Be Built on Easement? What to Know


You might recognize that you enjoy looking at the houses around in different parts of the area that have fencing around their property, but the property you want to build on is an easement. Does this mean your hopes for a fence on the easement have been crushed?

A fence cannot be built on an easement. If a person was to build on an easement, there is a strong possibility the city would tear the fence down and charge the person who put up the fence for the demolition fees. An easement is not your personal property but the property of someone else.

Why You Cannot Build A Fence On An Easement

An easement is a property outside of your own. An easement can come in the form of a written document, for example, a deed, which states that the owner still has the right to use part of the property. An example of this would be permitted to walk on your property to gain access to a park or being able to park on the side of the street by your house.

After learning about the concept of an easement, I was still a little confused, but a great way to explain it in simpler terms is by relating it to someone’s home.

When someone else owns the easement, it is like being a visitor in someone else’s home. You would not start moving around the homeowner’s furniture because you didn’t like the way the furniture was placed, and if you did, it is understandable for the homeowner to make you leave and not permit you to return.

Relating an easement in such terms gives better insight as to why you would not build a fence on one. It is not your property, so you do not have the right to make permanent changes to the area without permission.

Most commonly, the city will own the easement, so to get permission to build on the easement, it will need to come from the city. This will most often come by way of written consent from all of the parties involved.

In other cases, it may just need to come from your neighbor. The easement can be that of your neighbor’s. If there is not a preexisting fence between the two properties and you desire a fence there, receiving permission to do so is a good idea to prevent building on your neighbor’s property. They may have maintenance lines that run right under the area you want to build a fence on, making the property not truly your own.

In the case you live in a homeowner’s association, you may have easements already set. The easements allow access to certain homeowner association owned property. In this case, you must receive permission from the association to put in a fence, in this example.

What An Easement Implies

An easement implies that someone else owns the property. A park is a good example of an easement. The city owns the property, but people are given the right to use the property or be on the property for a specific reason.

As with the example of a park, there are set rules that must be followed on the property. If someone were to come and build a structure on that property, for example, it would be illegal, unless it was previously permitted by the easement owner.

This would also relate to the removal of something, such as a fence. You do not have the legal right to remove a fence that is not on your property unless you are certified and given permission to do so. Just like you would not start removing furniture from someone else’s house and replacing it with something else (from the example above), you cannot remove structures, plants, or anything of the sort from an easement.

The Legality Behind An Easement

If someone were to build a fence on an easement, it is under the law that the fence can be removed because the owner of the easement did not permit the building of the fence. The person who put up the fence can legally be billed the amount of money it cost to remove the fence.

In most cases, a city will notify a person before they send someone to remove the fence so they have the chance to remove the fence themself rather than be charged for it being removed. Since the property is not owned by you, however, the city does not have to technically warn you about something like this.

Instances like this will include if you build a fence as an addition to your property and it cuts into an alleyway behind your house. Maybe the fence cuts off the access to the alleyway itself.

If you build on an easement, it is not your property, so it can cost you money for the addition and removal of a fence.

Where You Can Build A Fence Instead

You can legally build a fence 1.5 meters away from an easement. Ensuring this distance is kept is important. Cutting too close to the easement can cause possible problems for maintenance workers or repairmen. Easements are often made in the case that utility lines are on the edge of the property lines.

In the case your next-door neighbor has an easement that you cannot build on because of utility lines, you can build the fence on your side of the property, just over the line where the two properties are split.

Regarding easements, you cannot build on them, even if it is just a fence, without specific permission to do so. In so doing, you sign yourself up for damage repair costs and other legal issues.

If you do receive specific permission, it needs to be from the person that owns the easement who has the authority to permit you to build a fence. The fence will also have to follow their guidelines since it will be built on their property.

You may build near the easement, but you need to build on your property in this case, opposed to someone else’s property.

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