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This form is used by a property owner when more than one owner is responsible for a boundary fence, to provide affected neighboring property owners a 30-day written notice of the owner’s intent to construct, replace or maintain the fence. 


Your use of RPI Form 323

Easements establish rights of use in another’s parcel

An easement is the right of one property owner to use the property of another.

The most common easement is used for ingress and egress. An easement for ingress and egress creates a right of way allowing one property owner to traverse a portion of another’s land to access their property.

Occasionally an owner of property burdened by an easement interferes with the use of the easement by a neighbor whose property benefits from the easement. The neighbor entitled to use of the easement may reinstate the permitted use either by removalrelocation, or modification of the interference.

Further, the neighbor owning the right-of-use easement is entitled to compensation for their money losses caused by the interference of the neighbor’s use of the easement.

An owner of a parcel of real estate has no automatic right, and may not acquire a prescriptive right to air, light or an unaltered view through a neighboring property’s airspace. [See RPI e-book Legal Aspects of Real Estate, Chapter 13]

Common boundary improvements mark the property line

The rights of adjacent property owners when setting up, maintaining or removing common boundary improvements depend on the type of improvement which exists. [See RPI e-book Legal Aspects of Real Estate, Chapter 9]

common boundary improvement may be a:

  • party wall;
  • boundary fence;
  • tree line;
  • driveway; or
  • ditch.

Common boundary improvements, other than trees, located on a property line between adjacent properties are called party walls.

party wall may be in the form of a wall, fence or building wall co-owned by the adjacent property owners.

The use and ownership of a party wall is best set forth in a written agreement between adjacent property owners. The agreement defines each owner’s responsibility for sharing the cost of maintaining the party wall. However, these written agreements rarely exist.

An adjoining property owner may not remove or destroy a party wall without the consent of the other owner since each has an interest in the party wall.

An owner may alter a party wall, such as by installing cosmetic ornamentation on their side. However, they may not injure the wall or interfere with the adjoining property owner’s use of the party wall. [McCarthy v. Mutual Relief Ass’n of Petaluma (1889) 81 C 584]

For security and privacy purposes, many properties are fenced in by a boundary fence. A boundary fence may be a party wall co-owned by the adjacent property owners.

When an owner leaves their land unfenced and later decides to enclose it by using the existing fence as part of the enclosure, they need to compensate the neighbor who built the fence for the pro rata value of the neighbor’s fence used by the owner. [CC §841(b)(2)]

Maintaining the “good neighbor fence”

Owners of adjoining properties are presumed to benefit equally from boundary fences. Under this presumption, all adjoining owners are equally responsible for constructing, maintaining and replacing boundary fences. [CC §841(b)(1)]

The responsibility for constructing, maintaining or replacing boundary fences may be altered or removed only by:

  • written agreement between all affected owners; or
  • an adjoining owner’s judicial petition to remove or alter their responsibility.

On an owner’s petition to a court, factors considered when determining an owner’s responsibility for a boundary fence include:

  • whether the boundary fence presents a financial burden disproportionate to the owner’s benefit;
  • the cost of the construction, maintenance or replacement in relation to the value added to the owner’s property;
  • whether financial responsibility for the boundary fence imposes unjustifiable financial hardship;
  • the reasonableness of the construction, maintenance or replacement; and
  • any other unequal impact the construction, maintenance or replacement of the boundary fence may have on the owner. [CC §841(b)(3)]

When neighbors are responsible for a boundary fence, the owner who plans to construct, replace or maintain the fence is to provide a 30-day written notice to the affected adjoining property owners. [See RPI Form 323]

The notice of intent to alter shared boundary fence

A property owner uses the Notice of Intent to Alter Shared Boundary Fence published by RPI when more than one owner is responsible for a boundary fence. The form allows the owner to provide affected neighboring owners a 30-day written notice of the owner’s intent to construct, replace or maintain the fence. [See RPI Form 323]

The Notice of Intent to Alter Shared Boundary Fence includes:

RPI Form 323 Instructional Videos

Revision history

Form navigation page published 07-2023.

Form last revised 2014.