Generally, many homeowners in northwest Arkansas are not going to experience serious acrimony with their neighbors. Sometimes, however, two neighbors may come into heated conflict with each other. One of the property owners may even decide to inconvenience or annoy his fellow Arkansan by setting up a structure known as a “spite fence.”
A spite fence, as defined by FindLaw, is a structure that is considered to be of no benefit to either the land owner who erects it or the individual who occupies the land where the fence is constructed. The fence is put up entirely to annoy whoever owns or occupies a nearby property. The fence may be purposely built to look unsightly. It can also be erected to such a height that it blocks out sunlight or other light sources from entering the neighbor’s yard.
In past years, Arkansas law did not prohibit spite fences. A land owner could build any sort of structure even if it annoyed a nearby land owner. The annoyance could even be fully intentional. However, Arkansas case law has since modified how the state looks at spite fences. Today, Arkansans can go to court over spite fences if they believe those fences cause an annoyance or lower the value of their property.
Because the primary governance over spite fences has arisen out of case law and not from legislation, there is no assurance that a court will rule that you are the victim of a spite fence. A qualified and knowledgeable land attorney can help you determine if your land dispute has a good chance of succeeding.
Be aware that this article does not provide any legal advice. It is only written to inform you about land disputes and case law regarding this subject in the state of Arkansas.