Types of Fencing Allowed in Indiana

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Indiana fence law operates under the fenced-in premise (seee Reference 1), which means that landowners must keep fences in good repair to keep animals on their property. Each township has the option to go to open-range rules, but for the most part, fenced-out rules apply. Indiana is different from most states in that owners on both sides of a property line are responsible for building the fence and not just the landowner who owns animals.

Fence Ownership

  • Unless other arrangements are in place prior to building the fence, ownership of an Indiana farm fence follows the right-hand rule: The property owner stands on his property facing the boundary, and the right half of that boundary is his responsibility. The left half is his adjoining neighbor's responsibility. If one landowner decides to fence his property, the neighbor must pay his share whether he wants a fence or not. It is possible to make other arrangements between owners or to not even have fences. Verbal agreements are acceptable, but it's best to have a formal record of the agreement on file in both deeds of property for future reference and in case one or both properties sell.

Fence Style

  • Indiana fencing laws require that property fences be "hog tight." This means they must be secure enough that a pig cannot get out under or through them. Not only must the fence hold hogs, it must also be sturdy enough to keep horses, cattle, sheep and mules enclosed. Board, wire and picket fences must be at least 4 feet tall. Rail fences must be at least 4 1/2 feet tall and worm rail needs to be 5 feet tall. Hedge may form a fence line. It must not be taller than 5 feet or wider than 3. The landowners are responsible for the costs of keeping the hedge trimmed.

Fence Repair

  • Not only must neighbors share in the cost of building farm fences, but Indiana fencing laws also require neighbors to share the cost of fence repair regardless of the fact that one of the neighbors may or may not have animals on his property. Whenever one of the landowners determines the fence needs repair, or even replacing, he must notify his neighbor. That neighbor then has six months to pay his share of the fencing repair costs. Notice of failure to pay goes to the local township trustee. As the designated fence viewer, the trustee can have the cost of the fence added to the negligent owner's property tax bill for the year. (See Reference 2.)

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