Can You Build a Fence on an Easement?


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Maybe you want to get a dog but don’t want them to get out. You decide to build a fence, but you have to consider where to place that fence.

Before you build it, consider where you can build it and if it can work on an easement. If not, you’ll know you need to decide on other dimensions.

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Can You Put a Fence on an Easement?

You might be able to build a fence on an easement. The rules can depend on where you live and the local regulations. In many cases, you’ll need to get approval from your city before you build a fence.

Be sure to check with your city about the rules regarding where to build a fence. Then, you can also get any permits you need to make sure you don’t break the law.

Easement Types

Before determining if you can build a fence on an easement, consider the various types. Some might be off limits for fences, while others could work.

Here are some common easements that you can expect to have on your property. Consider the details to figure out if building a fence there is smart.

Utility Easements

A utility easement is a part of your property where main utility lines run. These are usually large enough for the entire neighborhood or city.

You generally shouldn’t build a fence in this type of easement. If you or the builder messes up, you could damage the utility lines. That can affect you and your neighbors, and it can take a lot of time and money to fix.

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Sometimes, damage to a utility line can injure or even kill people. Even if you can build a fence there, doing so isn’t the best idea.

Power Lines

Many power lines are above ground and so are easy to see. However, others can run underground, so you might not know where they are.

If your power lines run underground, you should avoid building a fence around them. Like utility easements, power lines are very difficult.

You could be safe to build a fence, but one wrong move could be devastating. The power may not reach your house, and it could be expensive to repair.

Gas Lines

Gas lines almost always run below ground, but there are often yellow flags in the ground. That can help you and others know where the gas line runs.

People will inspect gas lines regularly to make sure they’re in working order. Like with power lines, damaging gas lines can have significant consequences.

Be sure to check with your city before attempting to build a fence over a gas line. If you can, you’ll want to hire a professional to keep yourself and others safe.

Water Lines

You should also aim to avoid building a fence over a water line. While damaging a water line isn’t as serious as damaging a gas or power line, it can still cause problems.

You’ll lose access to clean water, and so will your neighbors. The city might also require a boil order until you fix the situation.

Even if you can build a fence over this type of easement, it’s not ideal. Try to build the fence on either side of the water line to be extra safe.

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Right of Way Easements

A right-of-way easement lets you access your property through another property. This type is common when you can’t get from the road to your home, and it can go through driveways.

If you have a right of way easement, you can build a fence there. But if your easement gives your neighbor access to their home, it’s not ideal.

You’ll need to give the neighbor access, so you might not be able to close the gate of the fence. Keep that in mind before building a fence.

Drainage Easements

Drainage easements help water flow to a sewer. They can help keep water from building up, so you might not want to build a fence over one.

If you do, you’ll need to be especially careful. Consider how water flows to the sewer or retention pond in the area.

Then, you can make sure the fence will work but not affect your safety. It’s not as big of a deal as other easements, but it still has potential consequences.

How to Know If You Can Build a Fence on an Easement

The best way to know if you can build a fence somewhere is to check with your city. They should have plans for where the utility lines, power lines, and other easements are.

You can also ask your city if you’ll need a permit for the project. And they might also recommend a company to build the fence so that it doesn’t compromise your safety.

Another option is to consider the type of easement yourself. If you can figure it out, you can determine the level of risk of building a fence there. Then, you can decide if you’re willing to take that risk or not.

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Be sure to consider if the risk affects your neighbors as well. Even if you’re okay with the risks, others might not be.

Are You Able to Build a Fence on an Easement?

You’re able to build a fence on an easement, but that doesn’t make it a great choice. There are many types of easements, and some come with serious risks. If you damage a gas line, for example, you or others could get hurt. Check with your city to learn about the easements on your property to learn where you can or can’t put a fence.