How Close To The Property Line Can I Build A House

As a rule of thumb, a bedroom that is about 8 feet

As a rule of thumb, a bedroom that is about 8 feet wide is considered adequate for your needs.

Any wider might mean you are at risk of disturbing your neighbours – so make sure to check with them before making expensive home upgrades if it means you may be going over 7 feet in width.

Following are the ways that you can use to know where your land starts and ends:

1. Check the Deed

The deeds relating to the purchase of your home are kept on file. The deed explains the land in question and lists its extents, as well as information such as history of previous sales if they exist.

The property documents section may also display a map.

2. Seek Opinion of Surveyor

There may be cases where your property lines aren’t properly mapped out or recorded.

You can go to a surveyor who will create a plat map which marks out the borders of your land and the title you hold.

3. Check the Permanent Markers

Your land ought to have permanent markers placed on it, usually metal bars that are buried underground.

You can easily find these markers with a metal detector and know where certain areas of your property lie by way of their coordinates.

What are rules of property line?

The rules that apply to your property lines will vary depending on the type and location of your house.

For example, the building structure may not exceed the limitations set by local zoning laws, or fences over a certain height may be prohibited.

There are also likely restrictions on how close you can build to other buildings like houses, buildings or private entrances.

Chances are you will need permits before beginning construction and these are best obtained as early in the process as possible so there is less likelihood of delays and frustration down the road.

What are the penalties for violating property laws?

Violating property laws will attract legal penalties and there are monetary damages involved from these infringements. There is a risk of having to knock down your building if you step over either of the bounds.

If not, the authorities will award compensation for losses occurred due to infringement upon regulations.

Who Determines Setbacks?

Setbacks are determined by zoning authorities that operate under guidelines created by local government.

These regulations will identify the appropriate distances you’ll need to keep from adjoining properties and any building that may be affected by your construction project for safety purposes of nearby individuals and their homes or business.

How setbacks are measured?

A setback is measured beginning within a building’s walls and ending before any of the lot lines on a property.

The front, side, rear and sometimes the back of a home are all considered when measuring a setback with some minor structures set back as exceptions such as flagpoles, signs or mailboxes exempt.

As they may be deemed non-hazardous. Buildings and other structures should be set back from the public right of way by at least 10 feet.

On the front and side yards, there should be a setback of 10 feet, and on the rear property line there should be a setback of at least 4 feet. If you don’t know your zoning rules, contact your local city planning office.

What is purpose of setbacks?

Setbacks are a necessity for overall land-use management. They ensure that there is enough space between certain areas to accommodate specific purposes.

For example, it’s important for a builder to provide room for the public transportation system to run and how wide the roads will be. Setbacks also assist with pedestrian and vehicle interaction so it’s safe for everyone.


How close to the property line can i build a house. Property boundaries and setbacks are integral facts that one has to clearly define as part of the development plans for real property.

Setbacks are designed with living conditions in mind. As a result, all involved parties must adhere to them. The issue of how close can I build to my property line depends on each area.

Therefore, you must not make assumptions based on what is applicable in other zones. Instead, you should seek information from your local government office about what applies in your zone, as this will help you better develop your property.

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3. Special rules may apply when measuring setbacks for irregularly shaped lots

Measuring the front, back, and side yard setback requirements isn’t difficult with a rectangular- or square-shaped property. Simply measure a perpendicular line from the edge of the property to the border of the setback area. Repeat this process on each side of the property to find the exact area where you can build. However, not all properties have neat, rectangular or square shapes.

Irregularly shaped lots need to be measured differently, but the methods for establishing the setback requirements for an irregularly shaped property can vary from town to town, so it’s important to verify the exact information with the permit office. For instance, the rear setback line for these properties can be based on the average lot depth, while the front yard can have a rounded or irregularly shaped setback line that matches the shape of the property line, but this isn’t a consistent method for all towns and municipalities.

Penalties For Violating Rules Relating To The Property Line

The violations of setbacks attract penalties that

The violations of setbacks attract penalties that one cannot take lightly. The violations of these rules could attract civil and criminal penalties and make the violator incur additional costs. The person who suffers as a result of these violations is also entitled to remedies.

Where the property is already in its finished state, it might be challenging to bring it down because of issues relating to the setback. In such circumstances, the authorities will award damages against the party that violates the setback. The essence of the costs is to compensate for the other party. The compensation is for the loss incurred as a result of the violation.

Where the violation is not a severe one, adjustments are made to the property line to accommodate the required setback.

A party that violates setback requirements could also receive injunctions to stop his building operations. He could also be required to take down and move back structures like a fence that violates the setback requirement.

Building Penalties and Disputes

Building any type of permanent or difficult-to-remove structure close to the line that divides your property and your neighbor’s property can result in a legal penalty if the correct permits are not approved. This violation often results in fines and may result in the order of the structure’s removal before a deadline, or the jurisdiction will order for the removal, then charge you.

This type of violation is known as a zoning violation and can range in severity from fines to criminal charges, depending on what an investigation uncovers. Any new structure or addition to a property will need to be inspected multiple times after its completion to ensure that safety regulations are met. If there is an issue, there may be fines for negligent quality.  

Other types of penalties can be long-term, such as not being able to apply for future permits. Zoning violations can result in properties selling for less than market value or not being sold at all if the property does not meet the current zoning regulations. In cases of violation, you have the option to appeal the violation claims in hopes of resolving the situation. 

What Happens If a House Violates Setback Requirements

In some cases, if a house violates a setback, the property owner can be forced to move or reconfigure a portion of the house to fix the violation. In most cases, that would be an expensive fix. However, the mere fact that the house presents a possible setback violation isn’t enough to assume you need to walk away from the purchase.

If a house is old enough, in some jurisdictions, it might have “grandfathered” rights. Zoning ordinances and building codes change over time. Thus, what once was lawful can subsequently become unlawful.

Even if your dream house is relatively new, if a later, stricter setback was enacted, it might be grandfathered in as originally built. This means the house is legal.

Beware, though, if you remodel or make another improvement to the house in the future, the municipality may at that time require you to move or reconfigure the house to make it comply with the applicable setback.

The Purpose Of Setbacks

The purpose of setbacks is to create a safe space between properties used for different purposes. The purpose of a setback is to protect the various land uses. It does this by separating the various lands from each other. It also ensures that the construction of houses is in ways that they are not too close to one another.

Where the use for each land is not compatible with the other, adequate setback requirements have to be put in place to secure the usage for each of the lands. Facilities, where the production and storage of hazardous substances take place, have to be at a reasonable distance from residential quarters.

Setbacks are also designed to widened streets and help deal with the problem of congestion in a densely populated town. The streets on the roads have setbacks to ensure that the way is wide enough to accommodate the teeming population.

It is a convenient way to treat the issue of ventilation and lighting. It regulates the space between buildings. It is in such a way that buildings do not obstruct one another. It also prevents the obstruction of your neighbor’s access to his building.

Rules Applicable To The Property Line

The rules that apply to the property line vary according to zones. They also depend on the public property or facility to be protected by the boundary. The facilities to be secured include roads, rivers, highways, septic tanks, and railway lines. Before you purchase a piece of land, it is necessary to understand the rules to avoid violating them.

It is important to understand the zoning codes that apply in your area before erecting a structure. Some rules prohibit building on property lines, while others specify the limits for structures such as fences. You can also be required to get permits for buildings exceeding certain limits. 

Property line rules keep changing, and it is, therefore, necessary to know what applies at a particular time. These rules apply to new buildings but not the existing ones. However, if you intend to add extensions or reconfigure your property, the setback requirement will apply.

How Are Setbacks Measured?

A setback is measured starting from the nearest part of a building or structure to the property line. When measuring a setback, both the front and rear sides are considered. There are, however, some minor structures on a property that authorities exempt when measuring, such as flagpoles, signs, mailboxes. They may also exempt recreational structures such as swings and treehouses. 

 In denser parts of a town, setbacks are put in such a way as to allow a light angle of about 30 degrees. This allowance provides adequate ventilation and prevents overcrowding in that location. Generally, the setback for a property is 10-feet in the front, 10-feet on the rear side, and 4-feet on the sides. However, this may vary according to different zones. 

As a general rule, you are not supposed to build over public utilities such as telecommunications, water, or power. But, if you must build in these areas, you need to obtain written consent from the authorities. 

Consult With an Expert If You’re Unsure About Fence Placement

You might want to consult with multiple people – including a realtor, your local government representative, your HOA president, your neighbors, and a fence installation professional – before making a final decision on how close you place your fence to your property line.

If you live in or near West Chester, PA, Montgomeryville, PA, or Smyrna, DE, you have an excellent resource at your disposal! The Fence Authority provides professional fence installation services as well as materials for building your own fence, and our Outdoor Living Experts will go above and beyond to ensure all your property line questions get answered.

7. If setback requirements arent met, homeowners can be forced to make expensive alterations to structures on their property

If property setback requirements are not followed, it can cause significant problems. There could be the forced removal of the building or an expensive alteration to the structure to ensure that it complies with the restrictions imposed by the setback requirements. In some cases, homeowners can apply for setback variances in order to obtain permission to work outside of the property setback requirements. However, this is not a guarantee.

It’s best to contact the permit office to discuss your potential plans and get a permit for the work to show that the structure is being built according to local laws and regulations. Without a permit, there is the chance that the project may be interrupted or that the local government will force you to make alterations to the structure.



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