If the statutory process for resolving fence disputes is invoked, a four (4) step process is involved:
Step 1 - the complaining landowner must make a written request to the other landowner for the erection of a fence.
Step 2 - if Step 1 does not resolve the matter, the complaining landowner must make a formal request to the township trustees to resolve the dispute.
Step 3 - the trustee must give five (5) days written notice to all adjoining landowners that are liable for the erection or maintenance of the partition fence concerning time and place of the hearing.
- Form - Notice to parties of hearing.pdf (includes attachment for proof of service)
If both parties have agreed to submit the fence viewing to the trustees, they may sign a waiver of notice
Step 4 - the fence viewers meet and issue a written order that allocates responsibility for maintenance or erection of the partition fence.
The fence viewers are to divide responsibility for building and maintaining a partition fences equally between the parties regardless of which party gains primary benefit from the fence construction. As mentioned above, the decision of the fence viewers is binding. However, a landowner can appeal to the local district court by filing a notice of appeal withing 20 days after the fence views render their decision, and filing an appeal bond. Generally, the court sets the amount of appeal bond at the trustees' estimated cost of fence repair.
Absent an appeal, landowners must construct or maintain their assigned portion of fence as decided by the fence viewers. If a party fails to comply with the decision of the fence views within 30 days, disaffected landowners can request that the fence views build or maintain the fence. But, the party (or parties) requesting the fence views to do so must pay a deposit to cover the fence building expense, which will be reimbursed upon collection from the party in default. When the fence work is completed, the landowner is default will have ten (10) days to make the required payments. If payment is not made, the amount will be assessed as property taxes on the disputed property.