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How can you tell if a Fence is yours or your Neighbours

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Tiberslat Fencing

There are a few ways to find out if you or your neighbour owns the fence on your property.

Generally speaking, when both parties are owner-occupiers of the land, they both share equal responsibility of the fence in terms of installation, maintenance, and upgrades. Even if a dividing fence lies outside of the common boundary line – due to an obstruction, like a tree or waterways – then responsibility may still apply to both parties.

By far, the best way to decide who is responsible for a dividing fence, is to have an informal chat with your neighbour. Together, you can agree on the terms of ownership for the fence, including:
  • What your shared expectations are of a ‘sufficient fence’ (i.e. height, style, position)
  • General care and maintenance
  • Gardening (i.e. weeds, branches, and trees hanging over the fence)
  • Shared expectations in terms of maintenance costs, and
  • Any other relevant details that either of you wish to address

By outlining these terms in clear, simple language, you each will have a clear understanding of your rights and obligations towards the dividing fence.

Of course, sometimes, life doesn’t turn out this way. Neighbourly disputes can occur for a number of reasons, and dividing fences are a common source of complaints. Therefore, if you cannot reach a formal agreement, you will need to refer to the relevant Fencing Act in your state or territory.

The Fencing Act contains rules about who pays for the dividing fence, the type of fence to be built, notices that neighbours need to give one another, and how to peacefully resolve disputes.

Each region has different rules for their fencing act, so make sure you are up to speed with the fencing laws in your region.

Below is a list of each state and territory, which includes links to the relevant Act for each region.

If you wish to carry out works on a dividing fence, you must give written notice to your neighbours, regardless of your state or territory. The notice should clearly explain: the nature of the proposed works, cost, estimated timeline, measurements, and visual diagrams.

Your neighbours will have a set number of days to respond to the written notice. The number of days to respond varies from region to region. If a neighbour disputes the proposed works, you will need to follow a specific process to negotiate the works and reach an agreement.

And if your neighbours don’t respond within the given timeframe? Then, you may have fair grounds to commence the works without permission, if have exhausted all possible avenues to make contact.

Speak to your local council members for assistance with resolving neighbour disputes in regards to dividing fences.

Dunn & Farrugia draws from over 5 decades of experience to supply and install beautiful, functional, and memorable fencing solutions for homes and businesses. To request a free quote online or over the phone, contact us or call (02) 4731 6974 for assistance.

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