A new California law requires owners of fenced-in neighboring properties to split the costs of keeping up the section of fence separating the properties. The law does not apply if one of the two owners does not have fences on the other sides of his land.
The law states that adjoining landowners, with properties contiguous or in contact with each another, must share equally the responsibility for maintaining boundaries and monuments between them. Adjoining landowners are presumed to share an equal benefit from any fence dividing their properties, and unless otherwise agreed in writing, are presumed to be equally responsible for the reasonable costs of construction, maintenance, or necessary replacement of the fence. A landowner must give each affected adjoining landowner a 30-day prior written notice of any intent to incur costs for a division fence. The notice of intent must include the following: (1) a notice of the presumption of equal responsibility for the reasonable costs of construction, maintenance, or necessary replacement of the fence; (2) a description of the nature of the problem with the shared fence; (3) the proposed solution for the problem; (4) the estimated construction or maintenance costs to address the problem; (5) the proposed cost sharing approach; and (6) the proposed timeline for addressing the problem. An adjoining landowner can overcome the presumption mentioned by demonstrating by a preponderance of the evidence that imposing equal responsibility would be unjust.