New Hampshire has a statute—RSA 476—titled “Spite Fences” that was enacted in 1887. Under the statute, a spite fence is “any fence or other structure in the nature of a fence, unnecessarily exceeding 5 feet in height, [and] erected or maintained for the purpose of annoying the owners or occupants of adjoining property.” If a court finds that a fence satisfies these criteria, the court could conclude that the fence is a nuisance and order that it be removed. The court may also award damages.
There is very little New Hampshire case law on spite fences. The New Hampshire Supreme Court has considered spite fences only twice, in 1897 and 1900, and I have not found any New Hampshire superior court orders involving spite fences. The 1897 case involved an unpainted and non-clapboarded building 15 feet tall that was built close to the property line. The unsightly building blocked the neighbor’s view and sunlight. The Supreme Court held that the spite fence law did not apply to buildings despite the likelihood that the building was constructed for malicious intent.
The 1900 case involved a fence of “timbers” and “rough boards” and essentially says that a spouse not involved in the construction of a spite fence is not culpable.