Do You Have a Permit for That Fence?
The fence. It offers privacy, security, and safety. It can be decorative, stylish or strictly utilitarian. It is generally easy to install, whether you hire a contractor or do-it-yourself. And it needs a building permit. It surprises many homeowners that building permits are not confined solely to buildings. Even a fence must, in most cases, be permitted.
Fence Permits Depend on the Locality
Fence permitting is not universal. Some localities require it, while others don't. Also, fence permits may be issued on the city or county level depending on whether you live in an unincorporated county or an incorporated city.
Fence Permits Are Limited to the Type of Fence
Often, fence permitting depends on the type of fence. In unincorporated areas, you often find that fences less than six feet tall do not require permits. In cities, though, almost any type of fence will need a permit. The rural, unincorporated areas also give more leeway as to the type of fence, since farmers and ranchers often have special needs for barbed wire, electric fences, and so on. In cities, it is difficult, if not impossible, to obtain permits for these types of fences. Finally, you will find that most localities do not permit fences higher than six feet--no matter what type of fence it is.
Fence Permits Are Not Always Easy to Obtain
For such a simple thing, one would think it would be easy to obtain a fence permit. But some permitting offices require sketches, plans, and photographs. If a neighbor shares your fence, you may have to obtain written consent from that neighbor to build the fence. Whether or not you share the cost of the fence with the neighbor is a different matter. As you might suspect, bringing up the topic of fences with a neighbor can often be divisive.
Fence Permits Are Cheap--Except When They're Not
Fence permits can be as low as $20, but can sometimes exceed $100.
Fence Companies Can Obtain Fence Permits for You
One nice thing about contracting with a fence company to put up your fence is that they may obtain the fence permit for you. This is a great time-saver though keep in mind that the fee is still paid by you. Not all fence companies do this, but a good fence company will. Definitely ask about this when getting your fence estimate.