HB50 - MISSOURI FENCE LAW - Gratz, William (Bill)
HB50 REVISES FENCE LAW.
Sponsor: Gratz, William (Bill) (113) Effective Date:01/01/98
CoSponsor: LR Number:0266-01
Last Action: 05/08/97 - Second read and referred: Agri. Conserv.,Parks & Tourism (S)
05/08/97 - Second read and referred: Agri. Conserv.,Parks & Tourism (S)
HCS HB 50
Next Hearing:Hearing not scheduled
Calendar:Bill currently not on calendar
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BILL SUMMARIES BILL TEXT FISCAL NOTES
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Available Bill Summaries for HB50
| Perfected | Committee | Introduced |


Available Bill Text for HB50
| Perfected | Committee | Introduced |

Available Fiscal Notes for HB50
| House Committee Substitute | Introduced |

BILL SUMMARIES

PERFECTED

HCS HB 50 -- MISSOURI FENCE LAW (Gratz)

This substitute recodifies Chapter 272, Fences and Enclosures.

The substitute requires property owners wishing to repair or
build a lawful division fence to give written notice to the
adjoining landowner.  The landowners are required to meet within
30 days of notice to construct or repair their portion of the
fence, each portion of equal value and to the right of each
owner as they face the fence at the midpoint from their
respective properties.  If the landowners cannot agree, either
may apply to an associate circuit judge who will summon 3
disinterested residents of the county to appear on the premises
and recommend to the judge the portion of the fence each
landowner is to repair or construct.  The associate circuit
judge will issue an order allocating the apportioned costs
between the parties and designating the portion of fence each
will construct or repair.

If emergency repair or maintenance of a lawful division fence
becomes necessary either landowner may make such repairs or
perform such maintenance in a cost effective and reasonable
manner.  If the adjoining landowner refuses to pay his portion
of such repair, either party may apply to the associate circuit
court judge, who will follow the same procedures outlined for
general maintenance or construction.

All agreements or rulings of the associate circuit judge will be
recorded in the office of the recorder of deeds and bind the
makers and their heirs and assigns.

Existing agreements not consistent with an equal linear division
in the right-hand procedure must be in writing, recorded by the
recorder of deeds, and bind the makers, their heirs, and assigns.

If either party fails to construct or repair his portion of the
fence within a reasonable period of time, not to exceed 120 days
from the date of notice, the other may petition to build or
repair the fence as directed by the court.  Upon court
authorization of such action the petitioner will be given a
judgment for that portion of the total costs of the lawful fence
chargeable to the other, court costs, and reasonable legal
fees.  Such judgment is a lien on the real estate of the other
and has priority over any other lien except as provided by law.

Other revisions include:

(1) A lawful fence must be at least 4 feet high and composed of
at least four strands of barbed wire with posts not to exceed 12
feet apart or not to exceed 16 feet apart with a "stay" or any
fence at least equivalent to these specifications;

(2) A person may build his or his neighbor's portion of a fence
in excess of lawful fence requirements;

(3) Landowners may agree no fence is needed between their
property;

(4) Livestock trespass upon the premises of another will be
heard by an associate circuit judge.  If damages and
compensation cannot be agreed upon, either party may institute
an action as in other civil cases; however, if the amount in
dispute is within the jurisdiction of small claims court, the
action may be instituted in small claims court;

(5) Persons are to keep their portion of a division fence in
good repair and may enter upon the land lying adjacent to theirs
for the purpose of repair and maintenance of the fence; and

(6) No division fence is to be removed without the consent of
all owners thereof, except for the purpose of opening a new road
or highway or for making repairs.

The provisions of this substitute do not apply to lands which
are participating in the forest stewardship program and the
forest crop land program, both of which are administered by the
Department of Conservation.  Certified tree farmers in the
American Tree Farm System as managed by the American Forest
Foundation are also exempted form the provisions of this
substitute.  If a person loses the exemption and the adjoining
landowner has constructed a division fence within 5 years of his
losing the exemption, the person is liable for one-half the cost
of the division fence.  If the division fence was constructed
more than 5 years prior to losing the exempted status, the
person is to assume his responsibilities for maintenance and
repair of the division fence.

The provisions of this substitute do not preempt any city or
county ordinance in the city of St. Louis or St. Louis County or
any municipal ordinance in any municipality in the state.

FISCAL NOTE:  Estimated Cost to State Park Funds of $0 for FY
1998, $0 to $2,286,000 for FY 1999, and $0 to $142,000 for FY
2000.  Estimated Cost to Conservation Commission Fund of $0 for
FY 1998, $0 to Unknown for FY 1999 and FY 2000.


COMMITTEE

HCS HB 50 -- MISSOURI FENCE LAW

CO-SPONSORS:  Leake (Gratz)

COMMITTEE ACTION:  Voted "do pass" by the Committee on
Agriculture by a vote of 24 to 0.

This substitute recodifies Chapter 272, Fences and Enclosures.

The substitute requires property owners wishing to repair or
build a lawful division fence must give written notice to the
adjoining landowner.  The landowners are required to meet within
30 days of notice to construct or repair their portion of the
fence, each portion of equal value and to the right of each
owner as they face the fence at the midpoint from their
respective properties.  If the landowners cannot agree, either
may apply to an associate circuit judge who will summon 3
disinterested residents of the county to appear on the premises
and recommend to the judge the portion of the fence each
landowner is to repair or construct.  The associate circuit
judge will issue an order allocating the apportioned costs
between the parties and designating the portion of fence each
will construct or repair.

If emergency repair or maintenance of a lawful division fence
becomes necessary either landowner may make such repairs or
perform such maintenance in a cost effective and reasonable
manner.  If the adjoining landowner refuses to pay his portion
of such repair, either party may apply to the associate circuit
court judge, who will follow the same procedures outlined for
general maintenance or construction.

All agreements or rulings of the associate circuit judge will be
recorded in the office of the recorder of deeds and bind the
makers and their heirs and assigns.

Existing agreements not consistent with an equal linear division
in the right-hand procedure must be in writing, recorded by the
recorder of deeds, and bind the makers, their heirs, and assigns.

If either party fails to construct or repair his portion of the
fence within a reasonable period of time, not to exceed 120 days
from the date of notice, the other may petition to build or
repair the fence as directed by the court.  Upon court
authorization of such action the petitioner will be given a
judgment for that portion of the total costs of the lawful fence
chargeable to the other, court costs, and reasonable legal
fees.  Such judgment is a lien on the real estate of the other
and has priority over any other lien except as provided by law.

Other revisions include:

(1) A lawful fence must be at least 4 feet high and composed of
at least four strands of barbed wire with posts not to exceed 12
feet apart or not to exceed 16 feet apart with a "stay" or any
fence at least equivalent to these specifications;

(2) A person may build his or his neighbor's portion of a fence
in excess of lawful fence requirements;

(3) Landowners may agree no fence is needed between their
property;

(4) Livestock trespass upon the premises of another will be
heard by an associate circuit judge.  If damages and
compensation cannot be agreed upon, either party may institute
an action as in other civil cases; however, if the amount in
dispute is within the jurisdiction of small claims court, the
action may be instituted in small claims court;

(5) Persons are to keep their portion of a division fence in
good repair and may enter upon the land lying adjacent to theirs
for the purpose of repair and maintenance of the fence; and

(6) No division fence is to be removed without the consent of
all owners thereof, except for the purpose of opening a new road
or highway or for making repairs.

The provisions of this substitute do not apply to lands which
are participating in the forest stewardship program and the
forest crop land program, both of which are administered by the
Department of Conservation.  Certified tree farmers in the
American Tree Farm System as managed by the American Forest
Foundation are also exempted form the provisions of this
substitute.  If a person loses the exemption and the adjoining
landowner has constructed a division fence within 5 years of his
losing the exemption, the person is liable for one-half the cost
of the division fence.  If the division fence was constructed
more than 5 years prior to losing the exempted status, the
person is to assume his responsibilities for maintenance and
repair of the division fence.

FISCAL NOTE:  Estimated Net Cost to State Park Funds of $0 for
FY 1998, $0 to $2,286,000 for FY 1999, and $0 to $142,000 for FY
2000.  Estimated Net Cost to Conservation Commission Fund of $0
for FY 1998, $0 to Unknown for FY 1999 and FY 2000.

PROPONENTS:  Supporters say this bill places the entire state
under one fence law and provides legal remedies for fencing
disputes.

Testifying for the bill were Representative Gratz; Department of
Conservation; Missouri Farm Bureau; Missouri Forest Consulting
Association; and the Missouri Cattlemens Association.

OPPONENTS:  There was no opposition voiced to the committee.

Roland Tackett, Research Analyst


INTRODUCED

HB 50 -- Missouri Fence Law

Sponsor:  Gratz (113)

This bill establishes a new fence law which will apply unless a
county opts by vote to place itself under the general fence law
or the local option fence law in Chapter 272.

Under the fence law established by this bill, a property owner
wishing to repair or build a lawful division fence must give
written notice of his intentions to the adjoining landowner.
The landowners are required to meet within 30 days of notice and
each will construct or repair his portion of the fence, each
portion of equal value and to the right of each owner as they
face the fence at the midpoint from their respective
properties.  If the landowners cannot agree, either may apply to
an associate circuit judge who will summon 3 disinterested
residents of the county to appear on the premises and recommend
to the judge the portion of the fence each landowner is to
repair or construct.  The associate circuit judge will issue an
order allocating the apportioned costs between the parties and
designating the portion of fence each will construct or repair.

If emergency repair or maintenance of a lawful division fence
becomes necessary either landowner may make such repairs or
perform such maintenance in a cost effective and reasonable
manner.  If the adjoining landowner refuses to pay his portion
of such repair, either party may apply to the associate circuit
court judge who will follow the same procedures outlined for
general maintenance or construction.

All agreements or rulings of the associate circuit judge will be
recorded in the office of the recorder of deeds and bind the
makers, their heirs and assigns.

Existing agreements not consistent with an equal linear division
in the right-hand procedure must be in writing, recorded by the
recorder of deeds, and bind the makers, their heirs, and assigns.

If either party fails to construct or repair his portion of the
fence within a reasonable period of time, not to exceed 120 days
from the date of notice, the other may petition to build or
repair the fence as directed by the court.  Upon court
authorization of such action the petitioner will be given a
judgment for that portion of the total costs of the lawful fence
chargeable to the other, court costs and reasonable legal fees.
Such judgment is a lien on the real estate of the other and has
priority over any other lien except as provided by law.

Other revisions include:

(1) A lawful fence must be at least 4 feet high and composed of
at least four strands of barbed wire with posts not to exceed 12
feet apart or not to exceed 16 feet apart with a "stay" or any
fence at least equivalent to these specifications;

(2) A person may build his or his neighbor's portion of a fence
in excess of lawful fence requirements;

(3) Landowners may agree no fence is needed between their
property;

(4) Livestock trespass upon the premises of another will be
heard by an associate circuit judge.  If damages and
compensation cannot be agreed upon, either party may institute
an action as in other civil cases; however, if the amount in
dispute is within the jurisdiction of small claims court, the
action may be instituted in small claims court;

(5) Persons are to keep their portion of a division fence in
good repair and may enter upon the land lying adjacent to theirs
for the purpose of repair and maintenance of the fence; and

(6) Any person aggrieved by any order or judgment of the
associate circuit court may have the order or judgment reviewed
by the appropriate court of appeals.

The provisions of this bill do not apply to lands which are
participating in the forest stewardship program and the forest
crop land program, both of which are administered by the
Department of Conservation.


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