Who is Responsible for Fence Repair in California?

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Are you currently dealing with fence damage caused by a fallen tree? Maybe the fence shared with your neighbor has been in a state of disrepair for years, and you’re finally ready to fix it. Regardless of the situation, fence repairs can be stressful, time consuming, and expensive. Since a fence generally acts as a border between properties, figuring out whose jurisdiction the repairs fall under can be a bit tricky. We’re here to help you understand who is responsible for fence repair in California, and whether or not your homeowner’s insurance will cover the expenses.

The Good Neighbor Fence Law of 2013

In 2013, the state of California introduced the Good Neighbor Fence Law of 2013, formally known as Civil code 841. The Good Neighbor Fence Law states that because it is assumed that when you and your neighbor are mutually benefited by the fence, you both share equal responsibility for the costs associated with repairing it.

This doesn’t, however, mean that you can repair the fence without notifying your neighbor, then expect them to pay their half after the fact. Civil code 841 also states that you need to give 30 days notice to the neighbor, in writing, notifying them of the repairs to be done, the estimated costs, how the cost will be split, and also the estimated timeline for completion of repairs.

The Good Neighbor Fence Law of 2013 serves as best practices to follow if you share a fence with your neighbor. You can always make agreements outside of these guidelines as long as you work with your neighbor to determine who will cover what. Additionally, if you have a fence line that is not shared with your neighbor, you’re on your own when it comes to covering repair costs.

Will Homeowner’s Insurance Cover Fence Repair?

The good news is that there are many situations where fence repair is covered by your homeowner’s insurance policy. The below are oftentimes covered by insurance:

  • Fence damage due to fallen tree
  • Fence damage due to neighbor’s fallen tree
  • Fence damage due to storm
  • Fence damage due to vandalism
  • Fence damage due to vehicle damage

If you are ever unsure, it’s best to document the damage done to the fence in writing and share that with your insurance provider. They can advise you whether or not your homeowner’s insurance policy covers fence repair.

So who is responsible for fence repair in California? Luckily in most cases, fence repair costs for a shared fence with a neighbor will be split 50/50, meaning less of a financial burden on your wallet. Note that if you are a renter, you’ll have an entirely different set of rules to deal with – and you should notify your landlord the moment you notice fence damage to the property.

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