Iowa Fence Law Overview
In Iowa, landowners are not required by law to put up fences for the sole purpose of marking property boundaries, unless one of the adjoining landowners wants a partition fence. The only exception to the rule is for owners who habitually have trespassing livestock (i.e. animals have trespassed more than three times in 12 months).
When landowners want a partition fence erected or repaired, Iowa law provides a process.
Voluntary Agreement: Contact the neighboring landowner and try to reach a voluntary agreement outlining who will be responsible for building, maintaining, repairing and financing the fence. Once an agreement is reached and signed by all parties, it must be filed with the county recorder. Upon filing, it becomes binding on subsequent landowners.
Fence Viewer Resolution: If the parties are unable to come to a voluntary agreement, or would rather have an independent entity decide the details, a landowner can request fence viewers (usually the town trustees) to resolve the matter. A notice must prescribe the place and time of the hearing as well as the names of the fence viewers and include whether a fence viewer disclosed a possible conflict of interest or whether a substitute fence viewer was appointed due to a fence viewer’s disqualification. Five days after written notice is provided to the parties, the fence viewers hold a hearing where they issue a written order specifying the obligations, rights, and duties of the...