If you own a property in Nevada, it’s important to know the rules and regulations regarding fences. Depending on what type of property you have and where it is located, there are different rules and regulations you must follow. We spoke to local Las Vegas attorney Adam S. Kutner about property and fence laws in Nevada.
Nevada does not have fence laws on a statewide level. Unless there is a local regulation, a homeowner may put up a fence as they see fit. However, Clark County does have fence laws. In fact, you need a permit from the county to raise a fence. Clark County does not allow chain-link fences on the portion of a property that is up against a street.
Clark County generally requires a permit to put up a fence, but there are several notable exceptions. For example, you don’t need a permit if your fence is only decorative. There are rules for when a fence is decorative. To put up a fence, the property owner must get a permit and comply with all of the rules.
If you’re outside of Clark County, you need to check with your local authority to see what fence laws apply. If you’re in a city or any locality of considerable size, there’s a good chance that there are local fence laws. Be sure that you comply with permit requirements, setback laws, height requirements, and anything else that you need to do. If you don’t comply, it’s up to you to take the fence down, which can be an expensive mistake.
Property Line Encroachment
A common issue that occurs with neighbors is encroachment. Encroachment is when your next-door neighbor claims part of your property as theirs. Often, this takes the form of putting up a fence. They put the fence up a few feet into your property, and start using it as their own.
You might think that this is no big deal, there’s nothing you can do about it, or you can simply settle it the next time one of you sells the property. However, encroachment can be much more of a pressing issue than people often realize.
Adverse possession is what happens when a person claims someone else’s property as their own. In Nevada, the time limit to refute adverse possession is only five years. If the other person claims a portion of your property as their own and uses it openly for five years, the court may award them ownership of the property.
In other words, if your neighbor puts a fence over part of the property that you think is yours, don’t delay. You need to take action to determine the correct property line and get your neighbor to take down the fence. If you don’t begin legal action within five years, the court may redraw the property line, and you may lose that part of your land. Property line encroachment is something that all Nevada homeowners need to be aware of when they put up a fence.
Nevada Property Line Nuisance Laws
Property owners also need to be aware of nuisance laws. Each property owner has the right to use and enjoy their property without unreasonable interference from others. When a neighbor creates a nuisance that prevents the owner next to them from enjoying their property, the aggrieved neighbor can bring a claim for nuisance.
Nevada law 40.140 is the law for property owners regarding nuisance. According to the law, a nuisance is the use of a property that is offensive to the senses and obstructs the free use of the property. The nuisance must interfere with the enjoyment of life and property for the neighbors. There are a lot of ways that something can be a nuisance. Noxious gases can be a nuisance, for example. A fence that interferes with a neighbor’s view might also be actionable as a nuisance. Whether the use of a property is a nuisance depends on the specific facts present in the case. Nevada law 40.140 also makes it clear that agricultural activity on farmland is a presumed reasonable use of the property.
Nevada Tree Trimming Laws
Nevada law 40.160 discusses tree trimming as it relates to neighbors. It is illegal to enter someone else’s property for the purpose of cutting or carrying away their timber. The law says that it is trespassing to enter onto land to take or cut someone else’s trees. In fact, the victim may claim treble damages in a legal action. However, it is legal for a property owner to trim encroaching trees. A property owner may trim trees that are invading their property up to their property line.
Are Spite Fences Legal in the State of Nevada?
No, spite fences are not legal in the State of Nevada. A property owner may not put up a fence that serves no purpose other than to annoy a neighbor. If you claim that your neighbor has a spite fence, you must prove that there is no legitimate purpose to the neighbor having the fence.
Defending Your Rights as a Property Owner in Nevada
Property owners in Nevada need to know what to do if they have questions or concerns with the actions of a neighbor. Of course, handling any dispute with a neighbor can be delicate. You want to enforce your rights and the value of your property. However, you also want to have good relationships with your neighbors. It can be hard to know how to best defend your rights as a property owner without upsetting others.
The first thing to know is that Nevada often has strict time limits when it comes to enforcing property rights. For example, the five-year cutoff for adverse possession actions is shorter than it is in many other states. When you have a concern about the actions of a property owner, it’s vital to take action quickly.
In addition, there are many ways to work with a neighbor regarding a property dispute. There are several ways that you can work to find a solution, including formal mediation, exchanging written demand letters, and direct negotiations through attorneys. When you understand all of your rights and options, you can make the best choices possible to protect your interests as a Nevada property owner.