Fence Regulations and Codes for Houston, TX
With a popular of 2.3 million, Houston is the largest city in Texas and is one of America’s major population centers. Diverse in population and with a wide variety of residential and commercial properties, it forms the central urban area of the Greater Houston metroplex. If you make your home in here and live in a single-family home, building an attractive fence can be a wonderful addition to your lifestyle. Providing security, privacy and protection for your family, fences are among the most popular of home improvements. Whether you build your own project or hire an installer, you need information on rules, permits, codes, ordinances and regulations before getting started. You’ll find essential information on those below.
Unlike many cities and other communities, Houston makes it easy to build fences in residential areas and has a minimum of exacting rules. No building permit is required for typical residential fences less than 8′ tall. That simplicity, however may be deceptive. There are still plenty of rules about where you can build your fence and restrictions that may apply. For homeowners in developments with homeowners’ associations, the rules of that development may place strict limits on your options, as well. It’s always best to contact the Houston Planning and Development Department or your HOA office at the planning stage. You’ll find contact information on this page.
General Requirements for Residential Fences
- Building Permit Required? – Fences under 8′ in height do not require a permit, except for masonry or concrete fences, and fences in flood-prone areas.
- Permit Documentation Needed – Completed building permit application, notarized deed restriction affidavit, two complete sets of plans, cost estimate. Floodplain plan approval is required if applicable.
- Fence Materials Allowed – All typical residential fence materials, including wood, PVC vinyl, composite, metal ornamental and chain link materials are allowed.
- Maximum Height Limits – Up to 8′ maximum without a permit.
- Property Line Issues – The fence must be entirely on the owner’s property. All lot setbacks must be observed. Contact the building authority for information on setback specifications for your specific property.
- Inspections Needed – If a permit is required, an inspection is required on completion.
- Building Authority Contact – 832-393-6600
- Building Department Website
Specific Rules and Restrictions
- Front Yard Fences – Fences in front yards must get approval from the Houston Planning and Development Department. They may not be allowed in HOA-controlled developments.
- Side Yard Fences – Required setbacks may apply, with height restrictions.
- Back Yard Fences – 8′ maximum height without permit.
- Corner Lot Restrictions – Observe setback limitations. 15′ sight triangles are required at intersections. Front yard fence prohibitions may also apply in HOA-controlled areas.
- Other Restrictions
- Barbed wire, razor wire and electrified fences are not permitted.
- Homeowners’ Association Issues – Many homeowners’ associations exist in the City of Houston. Deed restrictions and covenants may apply to the height, style and material selection. Check with your HOA first.
Other City Fence Ordinances and Limitations
- Easements – Fence construction may be limited or prohibited in utility easements.
- Floodplains – Special requirements for properties in floodplain areas exist. Check your property before planning.
Commercial Fence Requirements – Fences for commercial properties have different requirements than for residential properties. Before planning, consult the Houston Planning and Development Department.
Building Fences for Residential Properties – City of Houston, TX
One of the best ways to begin planning is to look at fences installed on your neighbors’ properties. Even though building permits are not required for most projects in Houston, you may have unexpected restrictions on what you can do. It’s always advisable to follow neighborhood standards for such construction. Most residents choose to hire one of the professional installers in the city. They understand the specific rules that may apply to properties where you live and can help you ensure that your project fits into those standards. You’ll get ideas on materials, along with a price quote for a range of options from the company you choose. If you decide to make it a DIY project, materials are readily available at local building supply outlets.