Ohio Farm Bureau Landowner Toolkit - Page 6

Line Fence Line fence law became a major source of confusion and contention for many rural landowners, as court decisions and customs muddied the meaning of much of the law. The line fence laws were updated, effective September 30, 2008. The result is a set of laws attempting to balance the considerations of all types of farmers and landowners. When the line fence law applies The line fence law applies to any owner of land in fee simple, an estate for life, an easement, or a right of way while used by the owner as a farm outlet.27 The law also applies to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, conservancy districts, and political subdivisions with a real property interest in recreational trails, whenever they own, lease, manage, or control land that neighbors a landowner with livestock.28 The law does not otherwise apply to the state or state agencies. The line fence law does not apply to the enclosure of lots within municipal corporations, the enclosure of adjoining properties laid out into lots outside 27 28 ORC 971.01(D)(1) ORC 971.01(D)(2) of municipal corporations, or fences required to be constructed by railroads under ORC 4959.29 The line fence law will also not apply if the adjoining landowners enter into a written agreement under ORC 971.04, or if the fence is not actually a partition fence.30 A “partition fence” includes those on a division line, or those that have historically been considered to be the division line, even if a subsequent land survey shows the fence is not directly on the line.31 Existing Fences For those partition fences that were in existence prior to the enactment of the new law (September 30, 29 30 31 5 ORC 971.03(A)-(C) ORC 971.01(E) ORC 971.01(E)