Skip to Main Content
my account

Neighbor Law

A guide discussing issues that may arise between neighbors on topics such as fencing, trees and noise.

Fences & Boundaries

Fence Ownership & Maintenance

A common dispute among neighbors is who owns, as well as who is responsible for maintaining the boundary fence between their properties. While Texas does not have a specific state statute, there have been court cases over the years that address this topic. Generally, a landowner in Texas has no legal obligation to share in the costs or future maintenance of a fence built by his or her neighbor on the dividing property line, unless he or she has agreed to do so.

See the resources below for more information.

Texas Law

In addition to state law, cities may have local laws regulating fences within their area. See our Municipal Laws and Ordinances page for assistance locating your local laws.

Understanding the Law

Regulation by Property Owners' Associations

Property owners' associations in Texas cannot prevent an owner from installing certain types of fencing on their property.  New laws passed by the Texas Legislature in 2021 prohibit an association from restricting:

  • swimming pool enclosures
  • security measures like perimeter fencing

These new laws do still allow the association to limit the appearance of the enclosure as well as the type of fencing that can be used. See the resources below for more information. 

To learn more about how property owners' associations can enforce rules within their communities, check out the Enforcement of CC&Rs page of the Property Owners' Association research guide.

Texas Law

Understanding the Law

Boundary Lines

Boundary line disputes may arise between adjoining neighbors for a variety of reasons. See the resources below for more information on how to resolve these types of disputes.

Fencing for Livestock

Under common law, Texas is an "open range" state, meaning that a livestock owner does not have a legal duty to prevent animals from getting onto the roadway. However, beginning in 1876, the Texas Legislature has allowed Texas counties to vote on whether to become "closed range". State law also mandates that all State and US Highways be closed range. 

See the resources below as well as our Animal Law research guide for more information

Adverse Possession

While rare, adverse possession is a legal concept that allows a trespasser – sometimes a stranger but more often a neighbor – to gain legal title over the land of a property owner. In these types of cases, the trespasser must hold onto the property for a certain period of time. They also must be able to meet certain requirements in order to establish a claim to the property. Whoever holds the legal title to the property is presumed to be the owner unless the trespasser can prove otherwise.

See the resources below for more information.

Check out our Abandoned Property research guide for more on adverse possession. 

E-Books at the Texas State Law Library

You can borrow the e-books below with your library account. Don't have a library account? Texas residents can register for a library account online! Learn more about how to register online.

Books at the Texas State Law Library

These print books are not available online. They are available at the Texas State Law Library in Austin. If you can't visit the library in person, these books might be available at a law library near you or a public library near you.