Fenceline Law Question

5,855 Views | 88 Replies | Last: 5 days ago by eric76
AgySkeet06
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Ok I'm sure someone here has been in a similar situation that can chime in with their understanding of the law. Extra OB internet points if you can point me to specific state statues that support this.

Here's the situation, land that was a part of our ranch (a long term lease) was sold. The land had an outer perimeter fence we build and maintained until it sold but there was never an interior fence where our land met the leased land. We now need to build a fence to keep our cows off the old lease property.

We are about to build the fence and we know the property line due to the land sale survey markers. Important note is the new "neighbor" is not paying for any of the fence. Our plan was to build our fence about 3 feet inside our side of the property line so a) we own the fence and b) when spraying and maintaining the fenceline there is no direct disturbance of the neighboring property.

The question that has been brought up is that if the neighbor ever decides to put cows on his place, can he use our fenceline even though it is roughly 3 feet within our property and we own the fence?
He would have to build is own fence correct?

Thoughts & citations OB?
Aggieangler93
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AG
This seems really goofy to me. I would expect you would just build your fence on the line. Maybe discuss a 50/50 split of fence cost with your new neighbor. You will have to be neighbors eventually, even if your fence accounts for a 3 foot buffer. Is this a common practice and I am just not a rural landowner?

If he used the fence, would you sue his cows for trespassing? Maybe I am crazy.....the thought would never occur to me to build a fence meant to bound my property and not actually put it on the edge of the property.

Here are some resources I found with a simple google search about fencing:
https://guides.sll.texas.gov/neighbor-law/fences-and-boundaries#:~:text=Fences%20%26%20Boundaries-,Fences,that%20addresses%20boundary%20line%20fences.

From what I read, it looks like if you intentionally build it 3 feet inside your line, and then his cows roam there for years, he can eventually claim squatters rights on your 3 feet, and you could lose it. That seems to mean that you need to build that fence on the line.

Also, as another poster said, it looks like it is critical to know if you are in an open range or closed range county. https://www.mwl-law.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/TEXAS-STOCK-LAWS-BY-COUNTY.pdf
GIG 'EM - Class of '93
Dad of Class of '22
rab79
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what county are you in? Important to know if it is free range.

https://www.mwl-law.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/TEXAS-STOCK-LAWS-BY-COUNTY.pdf

jrbaggie
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Good fences make good neighbors.
Martin Cash
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That is a really bad idea. You may eventually lost that three feet.
tamc93
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Martin Cash said:

That is a really bad idea. You may eventually lost that three feet.
Bottlerocket
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Agree - just build on the line
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normaleagle05
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It's almost impossible to lose property through adverse possession by virtue of a fence you built knowing that it fenced you out of a portion of your property. Through a lot of intervening circumstances it could be an issue but it isn't likely in a person's lifetime.

*I'm not an attorney and therefore not your attorney. But I do brush up on adverse possession in Texas at least annually for CEUs.
mathguy86
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First law of fence line is that there is no law of fence lines.
Martin Cash
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normaleagle05 said:

It's almost impossible to lose property through adverse possession by virtue of a fence you built knowing that it fenced you out of a portion of your property. Through a lot of intervening circumstances it could be an issue but it isn't likely in a person's lifetime.

*I'm not an attorney and therefore not your attorney. But I do brush up on adverse possession in Texas at least annually for CEUs.
I am an attorney and, although hard, it does happen. Why risk it? Build the fence on the property line.
Centerpole90
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I agree with others here; 'fences of convenience'habe their place (hell, my homestead has one) but I don't think maintaining the fence warrants that. I believe you will serve your interests better by building fence appropriately on the property line.
ldg397
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This would surprise me if in Texas you can't force their payment for 50% of the fence. Admittedly my experience is with Missouri range law But I would think texas would be similar and both parties are legally required to pay 50% of the fence regardless of which party needs the fence. The only other option is if you decide to each replace half you are responsible from the center of the border to the right as you walk up to the fence.


As others have said build it on the line don't do a buffer. I would think this would relieve them of some of their responsibilities as to repair and replacement of fence in the future.
marleyrox
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Generally speaking, if you go lookin for a fight, youll find one. Just build that dam fence on the line and make the survey posts permanent. Youll have no argument and neither will the neighbor. I just bought a place with a missing fence for about 1200ft and im just going to use the survey markers and a sting to line it out, then follow that string and put in a fence. Poof...problem solved.
Bigballin
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Put the fence on the property line.

The law is vague and "established" boundaries can become permanent. Call a land surveyor as they can give you better insight.
CS78
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Build 3ft inside your property, have your attorney send them a letter stating they are welcome to use that 3ft (this documents and kills any adverse possession case before it starts). Tell them they are not allowed to build any structure on your 3ft, tear it down if they tie in to your fence.

This should accomplish your goal of them not getting a free fence while covering your rear on adverse possession.

*Not a lawyer and don't give a F if you take this as legal advice.
normaleagle05
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Martin Cash said:

normaleagle05 said:

It's almost impossible to lose property through adverse possession by virtue of a fence you built knowing that it fenced you out of a portion of your property. Through a lot of intervening circumstances it could be an issue but it isn't likely in a person's lifetime.

*I'm not an attorney and therefore not your attorney. But I do brush up on adverse possession in Texas at least annually for CEUs.
I am an attorney and, although hard, it does happen. Why risk it? Build the fence on the property line.

Care to post a case link? I'd like to read it.
Rexter
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My MIL's neighbor has acreage that runs along the back of her place. The fence line is a couple of feet off the boundary line into the neighbor's acreage. When she started mowing up to the fence, he had a hissy fit. He accused her of trying to take the small strip by adverse possession due to maintain the land. He went and had a letter filed with the county.... the whole 9 yards. The end result is that he now mows the strip himself. She didn't want it. She just wanted the grass mowed so it didn't look like crap.
Ikanizer
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About 1500 ft of the fence on one side of my property was accidentally built 3 ft on the neighbor's side of the property line. The previous owner of my property and my neighbor wrote up an agreement that says its too much trouble to move the fence. I saw that in the title search when we bought the place.
Wildman15
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AG
Build the fence 15 feet into their property. Profit off the free grazing land for your cattle. They will either a) never notice or b) they'll spiral into insanity trying to prove you're trespassing. Win win.
STX Ag
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"3 feet? We talmbout 3 feet?"

Just build it on the line Nancy.
GhostWipe15
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Just build it on the line. As a landowner who has been on the opposite end of you, nothing is more frustrating than fence lines that aren't on the property line. It's a waste of time, money, and will cause conflict. Build it on the line.
cslifer
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Is anyone else confused about what the OP means by the neighbor "using our fence"?
I
yakin ag
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normaleagle05 said:

Martin Cash said:

normaleagle05 said:

It's almost impossible to lose property through adverse possession by virtue of a fence you built knowing that it fenced you out of a portion of your property. Through a lot of intervening circumstances it could be an issue but it isn't likely in a person's lifetime.

*I'm not an attorney and therefore not your attorney. But I do brush up on adverse possession in Texas at least annually for CEUs.
I am an attorney and, although hard, it does happen. Why risk it? Build the fence on the property line.

Care to post a case link? I'd like to read it.


A well funded neighbor to a relative filed an adverse possession lawsuit on a 3 ft strip of land along a fence line on an family property. It was messy, involved a disagreement with a pipeline company, and would've cost more than the property was worth to fight. We build fences on property lines now.
Doc Hayworth
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Martin Cash said:

That is a really bad idea. You may eventually lost that three feet.

Adverse possession doesn't work that way. I don't agree with what OP proposes, but he can build the fence there and notify the adjoiner of the offset with the intent of retaining ownership of the 3' strip. Fences don't define ownership, the monuments set by the surveyor does. He can then enter the notice in the county records with the county clerk.
normaleagle05
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AG
You've got to defend your real property rights. What you described wasn't the fault of the fence's location.
tamc93
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I just went through something where no one knew where the fences/property lines were. Everyone just assumed the common property line was the fence since it had been there for multiple decades and all of the people with the knowledge were no longer around. Thankfully the survey I had done confirmed everything, but I was "lucky" to not have to deal with a "3-foot" issue.

If spraying and clearing is an issue, talk with your neighbor. They probably will not care.
cavscout96
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Five Strands: A Landowner's Guide to Fence Law in Texas

SweaterVest
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yakin ag said:





A well funded neighbor to a relative filed an adverse possession lawsuit on a 3 ft strip of land along a fence line on an family property. It was messy, involved a disagreement with a pipeline company, and would've cost more than the property was worth to fight. We build fences on property lines now.
This wasn't in Bee county was it?
rab79
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CS78 said:

Build 3ft inside your property, have your attorney send them a letter stating they are welcome to use that 3ft (this documents and kills any adverse possession case before it starts). Tell them they are not allowed to build any structure on your 3ft, tear it down if they tie in to your fence.

This should accomplish your goal of them not getting a free fence while covering your rear on adverse possession.

*Not a lawyer and don't give a F if you take this as legal advice.
you want to piss off a neighbor? cause this is how to piss off a neighbor.
rab79
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Bigballin said:

Put the fence on the property line.

The law is vague and "established" boundaries can become permanent. Call a land surveyor as they can give you better insight.
Dad bought a section of ranchland based on established boundaries. We have since split the cost of new fences on 2 sides, both fences were built on the old fencelines.
CS78
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Maybe OP can clarify but it sounds like the relationship has already been formed.
AgySkeet06
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I guess a lot of you are wealthier landowners than we are.

I just dont logically see how us having to pay almost $10,000 for land clearing and 2600' of fencing when the neighbor is not going to share any of the cost could then tie on and use that fence for his benefit.

All other neighbors we have a split materials/split section agreement for fencing
tx1c
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AgySkeet06 said:

could then tie on and use that fence for his benefit.
Yeah, it sucks. But does it take anything away from the benefit you get from it?
tamc93
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I think the points are IMO:

1) They are going to tie into it regardless and get the benefit
2) The extra 3' on the other side of the fence will cause issues in the future either with #1 or other confusion that will offset any cost.
cavscout96
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cavscout96 said:

Five Strands: A Landowner's Guide to Fence Law in Texas


seriously, read this.

pages 17 and 25 address your situation
Page 1 of 3
 
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