Spite Fence Law and Legal Definition

Spite fence refers to a fence constructed to annoy a neighbor. It is a fence of no beneficial use or pleasure to the owner. An adjoining landowner may sue for damages caused by, or may enjoin the erection or maintenance of, a spite fence or like structure erected for the sole purpose of injuring him/her in the lawful and beneficial use of his/her property. For example, a fence erected maliciously and with no other purpose than to shut out the light and air from a neighbor's window is a nuisance.

Following is a state law defining spite fence. ‘A fence or other structure in the nature of a fence which unnecessarily exceeds six feet (6') in height and is maliciously erected or maintained for the purpose of annoying the owners or occupants of adjoining property, shall be deemed a private nuisance, and any owner or occupant who is injured, either in the comfort or enjoyment of his or her estate thereby, may have an action to recover damages for the injury.’[R.I. Gen. Laws § 34-10-20].