Dividing Fences

A fence is any barrier separating two properties along a boundary line, and is required if an owner requests one.

Normally adjoining property owners are expected to equally contribute to and maintain a dividing fence, and must not attach anything to or modify the fence in a way that results in damage. to the fence.

If neighbours are unable to deal with fence issues reasonable and informally, the dispute can be taken to NSW fair trading for resolution.


What to do?

Talk to your neighbour.

Discuss the matter with your neighbour and make sure everyone's requirements are clear. Most matters are addressed by mutual agreement and any quotes for work should reflect exactly what both parties have agreed upon. Usually any quote will be made out to one party making that party responsible for any debt, so a written agreement is recommended as a formal record of the parties' agreement.


What if you can't agree on where the fence will go?

Fences should be built on the common boundary. If you can't agree on where the fence should go, the fence line will need to be identified by a registered surveyor.


Types of Fences?

Local councils and some covenants have specific fencing requirements for standard fences, but are usually between 0.5-1.8m high and constructed of timber, chain wire, metal, bricks, blocks, hedges or some other materials.


What if your neighbour refused to contribute?

Don't build the fence. If you do, the Dividing Fences Act will not cover you. If you are unable to reach an agreement, either party can apply for an order to fence through the appropriate legal channels.


Do you need your neighbour's permission to build a fence?

It's common courtesy and good manners to let your neighbour know your intentions, but there is no formal requirement to do so under the act.


Do you have to allow access to your property?

Anyone working on or repairing the dividing fence should be allowed on adjoining land at reasonable times.


Remember the best way to resolve a fence issue is directly with your neighbour. It is the fastest, cheapest and stress-free method of resolving any matter to your mutual satisfaction.

This information is a guide only and is not intended to be used as legal or formal advice. Information about the law and resolving conflict is available through NSW Fair Trade or the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal.