Chapter 2. Obligations of Owners - California Civil Code Section 841
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California Laws > Civil Code > Chapter 2. Obligations of Owners - California Civil Code Section 841
841. (a) Adjoining landowners shall share equally in the
responsibility for maintaining the boundaries and monuments between
(b) (1) Adjoining landowners are presumed to share an equal
benefit from any fence dividing their properties and, unless
otherwise agreed to by the parties in a written agreement, shall be
presumed to be equally responsible for the reasonable costs of
construction, maintenance, or necessary replacement of the fence.
(2) Where a landowner intends to incur costs for a fence described
in paragraph (1), the landowner shall give 30 days' prior written
notice to each affected adjoining landowner. The notice shall include
notification of the presumption of equal responsibility for the
reasonable costs of construction, maintenance, or necessary
replacement of the fence. The notice shall include a description of
the nature of the problem facing the shared fence, the proposed
solution for addressing the problem, the estimated construction or
maintenance costs involved to address the problem, the proposed cost
sharing approach, and the proposed timeline for getting the problem
(3) The presumption in paragraph (1) may be overcome by a
preponderance of the evidence demonstrating that imposing equal
responsibility for the reasonable costs of construction, maintenance,
or necessary replacement of the fence would be unjust. In
determining whether equal responsibility for the reasonable costs
would be unjust, the court shall consider all of the following:
(A) Whether the financial burden to one landowner is substantially
disproportionate to the benefit conferred upon that landowner by the
fence in question.
(B) Whether the cost of the fence would exceed the difference in
the value of the real property before and after its installation.
(C) Whether the financial burden to one landowner would impose an
undue financial hardship given that party's financial circumstances
as demonstrated by reasonable proof.
(D) The reasonableness of a particular construction or maintenance
project, including all of the following:
(i) The extent to which the costs of the project appear to be
unnecessary or excessive.
(ii) The extent to which the costs of the project appear to be the
result of the landowner's personal aesthetic, architectural, or
(E) Any other equitable factors appropriate under the
(4) Where a party rebuts the presumption in paragraph (1) by a
preponderance of the evidence, the court shall, in its discretion,
consistent with the party's circumstances, order either a
contribution of less than an equal share for the costs of
construction, maintenance, or necessary replacement of the fence, or
order no contribution.
(c) For the purposes of this section, the following terms have the
(1) "Landowner" means a private person or entity that lawfully
holds any possessory interest in real property, and does not include
a city, county, city and county, district, public corporation, or
other political subdivision, public body, or public agency.
(2) "Adjoining" means contiguous to or in contact with.
Last modified: February 16, 2015