PA Fence Requirements: What You Need to Know
If you live in Pennsylvania and plan to build a fence on your property, you need to be aware of the laws and regulations governing the process. In this article we will walk you through PA laws and regulations in each step of the process to install a fence on your property.
What should you do before installing a fence in Pennsylvania? Here are some general things to consider before installing a fence as well as specifics to Pennsylvania residents. If you live in another state, be sure to check your state and local laws before installing a fence.
First, locate your property lines
Your county Recorder of Deeds may have a survey on file for your property.
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 – not your neighbor’s!
Second, research local codes
The Recorder of Deeds may be able to direct you to a list of codes in your county or municipality. If not, you can do some online searching to find codes relevant to your residential property.
Rules you are looking for include but are not limited to how far back your fence must be from the property line, and whether or not there’s a maximum height allowed.
Don’t forget to check with your HOA. If you live in a neighborhood with a homeowner’s association, there may be even more strict requirements than what your town or borough lays out.
Who will own the fence? In Pennsylvania, a fence on the property line is shared between neighbors in PA in terms of 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!
Local building codes vary throughout Pennsylvania. Municipalities aren’t limited to restricting a fence height and style, but may also institute 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, they may require a shorter, more open fence in the front.
Third, 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 to the permit requirement is if you are replacing a fence in the same spot; in this case, your fence will likely be grandfathered into the previous permit.
Pool fence requirements in Pennsylvania
Pool fences typically have the strictest requirements since they’re needed for safety. Here are a few requirements for Pennsylvania as a whole, although local laws usually go more in depth.
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: The sides of the pool, if 48 inches, may be considered 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. A power safety cover may also be used.
If you are installing a pool fence, be sure to research the specific requirements for your local county or municipality.
Professionals know the ropes!
Not sure about whether you’re following fence requirements in your area? Working with a professional fence company can ease the stress. 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.