Fences, fences, fences!

Nebraska somewhat recently updated its agricultural fencing laws.  What do you need to know?

  • Nebraska’s fencing law is “mandated cooperation” according to the sponsor of the law.
  • But really, what we are really concerned about are adjoining landowners who cannot agree.  If you and your neighbor agree that a fence is not necessary, great!  The law will not require you to build a division fence.

If you and your neighbor cannot agree on whether a fence is needed and you want to construct or maintain, or repair an existing fence, the following apply:

  • Division fences, or those fences which mark property divides, can now be constructed, repaired, and maintained with a “just proportion” between adjoining landowners.
  • This means an equitable allocation, or an equal burden of construction and maintenance whether in terms of allocation of responsibility for a portion of fence or a share of the costs.
  • If a landowner wishes to construct a new fence or maintain or repair an existing fence, the landowner is required to give written notice to the adjoining landowner.  This notice requests the adjoining landowner to satisfy their share of the fence by performing work or other contribution.
  • Once notice is provided the landowner may commence or complete construction, maintenance, or repair.
  • If the adjoining landowner does not respond to the notice, the landowner may commence in action in county court where the property is located seven days after notice and within one year.  There are standard forms available from the Nebraska Supreme Court.

Keep in mind that there is an ongoing obligation to keep fences in good repair.  Additionally, each person who is liable for construction and maintenance of a division fence is required to maintain his or her portion in good repair, including necessary removal and trimming of trees and woody growth that would or do cause damage or dislocation of fence.

As always, please contact us at Legal Aid of Nebraska’s Farm and Ranch Program should you have additional questions.

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