PA Fence Requirements: What You Need to Know

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If you live in Pennsylvania and plan to build a fence on your property, you need to first be aware of the laws and regulations governing the process. The Fence Authority has been installing fences in the areas around West Chester, PA and Montgomeryville, PA for over 20 years, so we know a thing or two about Pennsylvania fence laws and requirements. Now, we’re passing that knowledge along to you!

What You Should Do Before Installing a Fence in Pennsylvania

Before installing a fence in PA, you need to understand Pennsylvania fence laws and regulations.Some of the things you should do before installing a fence in PA aren’t specific to the state; they’re items any future fence owner should explore. If you live in another state, be sure to check your state and local laws before installing a fence.

The first thing to do is to engage in general fence research. This involves addressing the following items, which are relevant regardless of where you live:

  • Find zoning codes and property lines. Your county Recorder of Deeds may have a survey on file for your property. They may also be able to direct you to a list of codes in your county or municipality, such as how far back your fence must be from the property line, and whether or not there’s a maximum height allowed.
  • Obtain a survey. If your government offices don’t have a survey, you will need to pay to have one done to make sure you are placing the fence on your property and not your neighbor’s!
  • Get the proper permits. Once you know the local building code, you will know if you need to get a permit to build a fence. A permit is usually required. One exception is if you are simply replacing a fence in the same spot; in this case, your fence will likely be grandfathered into the previous permit.
  • Check with your HOA. If you live in a neighborhood with a homeowner’s association, there may be even stricter fence requirements than what your town or borough lays out.

Challenges Specific to Pennsylvania and Chester County

  • Pennsylvania rules of fence ownership. Who really owns the fence? In Pennsylvania, a fence placed directly on the property line is shared between neighbors when it comes to the cost of installation and maintenance or repair. If your municipality allows you to install a fence on your property line, which is common in more densely populated cities and boroughs, keep this in mind. It may mean you need to seek your neighbors’ approval of the type of fence you are installing, but it could also mean you can split the cost!
  • Pennsylvania fence permits. Local building codes vary throughout Pennsylvania. Local municipalities aren’t limited to restricting a fence height or style, and they may institute additional laws about fence location and setback. The location of your fence may also determine style and height. For example, in an area where a 6 foot privacy fence is acceptable for the backyard, you may need a shorter, more open fence in the front.
  • West Chester fence code. If you are located near us in the borough of West Chester, fence requirements can be found on the municipal website.

Pool Fence Requirements in PennsylvaniaFence Permits

Pool fences typically have the strictest requirements to ensure maximum pool safety. Although local laws usually go more in depth, the following requirements are for Pennsylvania as a whole:

  • Any body of water more than 24 inches deep is considered a pool and must meet required safety standards.
  • All pools must be fenced on all sides with a structure at least 48 inches high.
  • For above ground pools: If the sides of the pool are 48 inches high, they can count as the fence. A removable or locking ladder is required, and it must be removed or locked when the pool is not in use.
  • For in-ground pools: All fence gates must be self-closing and latching. A house may be used as the fourth side of the fence, but all doors leading to the pool area must have an audible warning device if no other gate or door is between the house and the pool.

When It Comes to Fence Laws, Professionals Know the Ropes!

Not sure whether you’re following fence requirements in your area? Working with a professional fence company can help. A local professional is skilled at dealing with local requirements and can be a great resource for what is needed to make sure your fence is installed right the first time.

To speak to one of the Fence Authority’s experts about PA fence law, you can call our West Chester office at 610-431-4343 or our Montgomeryville office at 215-591-1591.

Contact us about your new fence!


  • Margie says:

    I bought a house 5 years ago. The previous owner told me that my neighbor’s fence was in my yard. I have a plot plan. It’s in my yard by about 18″. I’ve never said anything. She is now planing on removing the old fence and putting in a new one. I want her to move it into her yard. I’m willing to give her access with a gate, otherwise she wouldn’t be able to get to her back yard. Do I have rights since her fence has been in my yard for several years?

    • Haevn1 says:


      You need to contact a real estate attorney.

    • TH says:

      We live in Feasterville Trevose area in PA, just had a survey done and were told by said survey company that if we didn’t make mention of our neighbors fence being on our yard within twenty years after our survey that it would become permanent. So if you have issue you do have the right to make the issues known to your neighbor especially while he/she is redoing said fence to make adjustments accordingly.

  • Jacksonn says:

    I have a neighbor that indicated no interest in having a fence between our lots and thus did not want to share costs in any way. His children kept running onto my property chasing balls and killing my garden. I erected a fence to county guidelines. He is now trying to hang things on my fence (large heavy planters). My fence guy says this weight will shorten the life of the fence. Is there a statute on this, ie to tell him to remove his planters form my fence.

  • Jess says:

    If i am replacing an existing fence should I still call my utility company to mark where everything is? Or is it safe to assume nothing is in the way since there is already an existing fence?

  • Glenn Stettler says:

    What are the requirements or setbacks for building a half fence and a cement retaining wall Directly adjacent to 12 mailboxes that are on his property now it is highly on safe to try to receive your mail because there’s nowhere to walk away or run away if an oncoming car is coming toward you I’m concerned for the safety of my family and my children and the 11 other people that could gather their mail from these boxes I live in Pennsylvania in the Township of North Whitehall

  • Alicia says:

    I live in a city in a townhouse and my neighbor built a fence on her front porch that obscures the view of down the street and onto her porch. Is this legal?

  • Megan Bentley says:

    I need my HOA approval in order to move forward with a building permit to build a fence in my back yard. I have yet to hear from them and the day I wanted to start building is less than 2 weeks from now. Should I just move ahead and HOPE that the permit comes through in time? At this point, I have no idea if it will be processed before then.

  • Lisa says:

    We bought a house recently in PA. Our backyard is connected with our neighbors since it is a row home. There is a sidewalk and gate that is on our property, but the neighbor uses it as it is the only gate to enter both yards. We do not get along with them at all and would like to put a privacy fence up. Are we legally allowed to block the sidewalk and gate since it is our property?

  • Alissa Dana says:

    Is there a grudge fence ordinance in the municipality of kingston pa and what is it?

  • Rob Taylor says:

    Right after fulfilling all the requirements, and finally choosing the type of materials and fence styles, make sure you don’t miss the small things.
    It’s the time to focus on the tools.
    Must have tools are a hammer, mason’s line, post hole digger, tape measure, screws, nails, safety glasses and work gloves.
    Here’s deeper info on this topic: Check it out yourself.

  • Fred Weiner says:

    How high a fence can you build in Damascus Township PA?

  • Marie says:

    My neighbor keeps tying a thin rope & string along the edge of what she thinks is her property. She is ignoring her own survey as the land is mine. The mailman has tripped over her string and it looks horrible. Is this legal? I have had joints replaced and am afraid of tripping over her rope whan I get out if my car.

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