Often houses get pretty smushed together and you want to divide the property line with a fence. But is it you or your neighbor that owns the fence?

Growing up, my dad built the fence around our house before any houses popped up next to us, so it kinda ended up being my family's responsibility to maintain. Our neighbors would've helped with the fence if we needed it though since we got along alright with them so there wasn't neighborhood drama, at least in our corner of the cul-de-sac.


But if you're not as lucky and your neighbor justifiably works your nerve, this issue could be a difficult one for you. If you both share a fence that splits your property lines, Illinois has some guidelines on who has the responsibility for it.

Illinois's Common Fence Laws

Under Illinois law, according to Find Law, if a shared fence needs repairs or anything, it has to be split between the two property owners. The responsibility for maintaining the fence falls on both of you.

But wait...there's more.

If your annoying neighbor just flat will not hold their own on fixing the fence, you have options on things you can do. You can:

  • Write a letter to your neighbor explaining the problem (I'd send a passive-aggressive text but that's just me)
  • Have a "fence viewer" come out and examine the fence and determine if the fence needs to be repaired and give you a ballpark cost
  • Go to mediation (Fine Law's suggestion)

Or, if you're really done with their crap:

  • You can sue your neighbor for reimbursement for the fence.

Seems dramatic but okay. Fence ordinances could be impacted by city and county laws too. The city of Rock Island doesn't mention shared fences but does note that fences can be placed up to the property line and the smooth side has to face your neighbor.

Good luck mending literal fences this spring. Feel free to send this to your neighbors.

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