There are laws and regulations to consider before you install a fence around your Tennessee property. Failure to understand the laws could lead to a citation, or even local authorities forcing you to tear down your fence. Some basic understanding can lead to a smooth installation of a fence that will bring you privacy and beauty to your property.
There are state laws regarding fencing, but they are general laws that center around keeping pets or livestock within boundaries. Tennessee stopped “open range” farming and pet ownership in 1947 by stating animals must be contained, although it didn’t specifically address fencing. Later, it addressed partition fences between two properties and liability issues.
General State Law
There are some general statutes in Tennessee regarding fencing, which include:
- You don’t need a permit to build a fence, but it could be covered under local zoning laws.
- There can’t be barbed, electrical or razor wire on it.
- Fences installed along the property line belong to owners on both sides of it. Fences installed four feet inside the property line are solely owned by the property owner who installs it.
- Fences made of artificial material, like vinyl, have a six-foot height restriction for back yards and a four-foot height restriction in front yards. Fences made of natural materials, like wood, could have different height restrictions.
- There must be a five-foot distance between a fence and street. The fence can’t impede or cause safety hazards to motorists or pedestrians.
Other Laws to Consider
Beyond the state laws, many local communities have fence statutes listed in its zoning laws. Although you may be obeying state laws, installing a fence without review of local laws could cause you to inadvertently violate a zoning ordinance. County and city zoning ordinances can’t contradict state law, but often are more detailed.
For instance, some zoning laws may not allow certain materials to be used for fencing or may limit the length of the fence. Some may stipulate where exactly the fenced can be placed within the property. A licensed fence installer can help navigate this tricky area and make sure you comply with local ordinances.
Beyond state, county, and city laws, you may live in a neighborhood with a homeowners’ association (HOA), which may have its own rules for fencing. You may have to go before the board to get permission before installation. Failure to properly apply for permission could lead to a legal battle with the HOA.
Why Hire a Professional Installer?
Hiring a professional installer for fencing will alleviate a lot of confusion of commercial fencing requirements in Tennessee. Professional installers know the requirements, have obtained local permits before and know many of the local zoning officials. They are also experts at installing fencing that will stand the test of time.
Fence installation is an investment in your property. Paying for proper installation will save you both money and headaches in the immediate and in the long-term future.