Know your rights when you have a fence war with your neighbours

Boundary fences are one of the major causes of property disputes between neighbours. 

So, what are your rights when a new dividing fence needs to be put up between you and next door? picket-fence

Broadcaster Richard Glover  wrote a column for the Sydney Morning Herald outlining to his son on his 18th birthday some lessons he’d learnt about life. 

One of them related to the neighbours: “Never get into a fight with your neighbours. Apologise. Make peace. Buy them a case of beer… anything”

It’s excellent advice.

But what happens if your neighbour suddenly announces he wants to build a brand new fence on the boundary you share and he wants you to pay half?

You’re adamant the existing fence is fine. 

It’s going to be hard not to get angry and turn it into a dispute, isn’t it?

According to Peggy Kadis, executive director of the Southern Community Justice centre, which operates the Community Mediation Services in South Australia, boundaries and retaining walls caused the highest number of neighbourhood disputes in the 2008 to 2009 period.  

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“It’s more than double our other high ones – trees and plants, behaviour and noise,” she says.  “It’s by far the highest”.

Fence disputes are so infamous they became the subject of a play, The Great Divide, which tells of the dramas created when a young Greek couple move in and want to replace a dividing fence with a huge brisk wall.

“They (fence disputes) create a disturbance out of proportion to the actual issues,” says Roger Batrouney, a local government and planning specialist at law firm Slater and Gordon.

“People are fighting about their castles, aren’t they?  Someone’s trying to breach the ramparts of the castle – that’s how they see it sometimes”

Batrouney says that boundary fence disputes are “30 percent law and 70 percent emotion”. 

So, while it’s good to have your head around the law, it’s often people’s attitude that needs to change to ensure sensible resolutions. 

Is it really worth having a toxic relationship with your neighbour over a fence and a few thousand dollars?

WHAT THE LAW SAYS

Boundary, or dividing fences are defined by law under various state legislation. 

There are differences between each state, but the laws are broadly similar.  legal law

It’s worth consulting a solicitor for the exact legal requirements in each state.

In New South Wales, for example, under the Dividing Fences Act 1991, a dividing fence is defined as a fence that separates the lands of adjoining owners. 

It may be of any material, a ditch, an embankment or a vegetative barrier such as a hedge. 

It isn’t a wall of a building, nor is it a retaining wall – except if it’s used as a foundation or support for the fence. 

The act defines a ‘sufficient’ dividing fence as one that “adequately separates the properties”. 

For example, a paling fence in a residential area, or a wire and steel star post fence in a rural area.

In most states adjoining owners must share the cost of the fence. 

That obligation only occurs if the fence is inadequate or there is no fence.

There are exceptions:

  • If one neighbour wants a higher standard fence than required, then they must pay the additional cost: or
  • If one neighbour damages the fence, they have to pay for the entire costs of restoring it.

In most states, the fencing Acts don’t apply to property boundaries adjoining unoccupied Crown land. 

“The law isn’t perfect but it does have a significant role in having these disputes resolved without people belting each other to death in the streets, Batrouney says.

APPROACHING YOUR NEIGHBOURS

So what happens if you or your neighbour decide to build a new boundary fence?

According to most state laws you need to serve your neighbour with a ‘notice to fence’, but most lawyers recommend informally approaching your neighbour before that.

“The desired approach is not to follow the law strictly, in the first instance,” says Glenn Thexton Lawyers which specialises in fencing disputes. Paint 2383335 1920

“Try to have a discussion with your neighbour with a view to being a long-term neighbour and avoiding conflict.”

He says another good idea is to present the neighbour with a fence quotation and give them an opportunity to get their own quote.

Tim O’Dwyer and Bradley, agrees this is the best first step.

“The positive approach is to talk to the person who owns the property about either a new fence or a fence repair or upgrade,” he says. 

“Try and get a phone number and be positive and friendly and be reasonable in what you’re proposing. If someone is asking you to contribute to a fence, be reasonable and realistic. If it’s an investment property there are going to be tax advantages for what you spend on the fence anyhow.”

O’Dwyer says fences are often things that investors don’t like spending money on.

“Landlords tend to see it as money down the drain”, he says, “but a property fully and adequately fenced is more rentable and a more attractive proposition for any prospective tenant, particularly a tenant with young children and pets you’re happy for them to have in the yard, but not in the house.

IF YOUR NEIGHBOURS SAY NO

The problem is a lot of neighbours will say no to an initial approach which can trigger a dispute.

According to the Department of Justice in Victoria, disputes arise over a variety of issues

  • One neighbour feels the current fence is adequate, or just needs repair; Property Investment Checklist 300x199 300x199
  • One neighbour blames the other for the need to replace the fence;
  • Both neighbours agree they need a new fence, but one or both can’t afford it at present;
  • Neighbours disagree about the position of the title boundary;
  • The neighbours want fences of a different height;
  • The neighbours disagree about whether the front end should ‘rake’ or taper down for visibility;
  • One neighbour fears the weight of attachments like trellises may damage the fence. The list seems endless.

According to Richard Berckelman, who runs fencing contractor All Day Fencing, the most common disputes he sees are over location, type and cost of the fence and the fence height.

Carl Weiss, a fence builder based in the western Brisbane suburb of Brookfield, says,

“There are a lot of arguments about neighbours who want different kinds of fences, where the boundary is, if they’re getting a paling fence, who gets the paling side and who gets the non-paling side?

Slater and Gordon’s Batrouney says one of the most common disputes is over where the fence goes.

He says 10 percent of the time, the fence is exactly on the title boundary, but in most other cases it’s not.

“Often because of the passage of time, or because of fencing contractors, the fence isn’t actually on the title boundary,” he says. 

“Builders aren’t surveyors and near enough is often good enough.”  13533867_l1

He says there’s wiggle room in the law for some discrepancy.

“Generally, it doesn’t make much difference. 

An inch or two?  Big deal. But some people get very excited about it.  Some people will go to quite an amount of cost to get the fence on the boundary.”

He says establishing the title boundary involves a surveyor to establish where it is and its relation to the fence.

Another big issue is aesthetics. 

What happens if the neighbour wants to put up a large fence you deem ugly? 

Batrouney says you can oppose it on those grounds. 

But the neighbour has the option of building an ugly fence on his side of the property.

If a neighbour rejects an informal approach, they can then be served a notice to fence, personally or by post.

“Formalise it into a notice to fence,” Thexton says. 

“Then, if possible, a lawyer should give the neighbour a call.”

He says a lot of lawyers aren’t keen to resolve a dispute by phone which takes 20 to 30 minutes – their fees won’t be high. 

“But sometimes people’s ears prick up when a lawyer rings,” he says. 

“The fundamental thing is to ensure the neighbour you’re seeking to get payment from understands their obligation at law.  It often becomes a question of getting the other person to take notice of the action. They might receive a notice to fence in accordance with the Act but they simply ignore it.”

MEDIATION

What if the neighbour continues to object?

The next step is mediation, which is designed to keep the issue out of the courts and hopefully find a resolution. hammer-802296_1920

Most states have a mediation service. 

In South Australia, it’s Community Mediation Services (CMS). 

Executive director Peggy Kadis says when people approach them about fencing disputes they ask if they’ve approached the neighbour themselves.  Most have.

“We do get some people that ring and haven’t approached their neighbour,” she says.  “We usually get them to do that unless there’s some issue of safety or fear.”

The mediation service will then write to the neighbour saying they’ve been approached.

“Usually the other party gets back to us and lets us know they’ll fix it,” she says. “Or they won’t get back to us.  Or they’ll try and negotiate it.

“If it can’t be done by negotiation we bring the parties together for mediation.”

CMS has a number of offices where mediation takes place. 

They organise the closest offices to the neighbours and set up mediation, which runs for two hours, and sometimes longer if necessary. 

Two qualified mediators attend. Financial Meeting At Office

“They’re neutral and they don’t take sides; they’re impartial,” Kadis says. 

“With clients, there are ground rules – to respect each other’s views, to not shout at each other and not abuse each other.  We’ve got a complex behavioural dispute process which works to help resolve disputes where it may not have worked before. 

If it doesn’t work, then it’s not suitable for mediation.  There’s only so much mediators can do.”

Batrouney says Slater & Gordon urges people to resolve the dispute through Victoria’s Department of Justice Dispute Settlement Centre, which he says has a strike rate of around 50 per cent.

“We try and get them to go there first. We try and avoid as much as possible neighbours getting in dispute with each other. We use every means available: firstly, to save them legal costs; and secondly so they have at least some reasonably civilised relationship with their neighbours.  

That doesn’t always work.  If all of that (mediation) hasn’t succeeded we try and talk common sense to the other side and get a practical resolution,” Batrouney adds. 

“Sometimes there’s no alternative to get an umpire’s decisions before the magistrate. What we try and do is not get people to waste money on lawyers.”

COURT

The next step is court, where a decision will be handed down. 

Batrouney warns: “If you lose you pay all of your own costs and two thirds of the other party’s costs, and vice versa if you win. With court decisions, you’re left with an unhappy neighbourhood relationship.  The annual Christmas street party isn’t going to be much fun, is it?” Business 2717427 1920

Batrouney says a standard fence – a 130-foot paling fence – usually costs $2000, which by law the other party should contribute half. 

“If they don’t you’re much better off building it yourself than going to court,” he says. 

“You’d spend $3000 to $4000 more going to court. 

That logic isn’t always appealing to people.”

Thexton agrees court should be avoided. 

“The amount of legal costs you can spend on a dispute can possibly outweigh the expense of the fence,” he says.

Ultimately, many people choose to pay for the new fence themselves.  

If the neighbour strongly objects to contributing this is valid option and helps keep the peace with neighbours.  

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“If your neighbour won’t cooperate its good value still to spend the money yourself,” O’Dwyer says. 

“If you own the property a good fence will make it more saleable down the track. The best advice to a property owner, whether they live in it or rent it out, is don’t be stingy on keeping fences and retaining walls maintained.”

Fence disputes are legal issues, but emotions often take over and prevent sensible outcomes. 

O’Dwyer’s advice is blunt and perhaps the best guidelines when people look like becoming embroiled in a fence dispute:

“The grief and distress over a fence isn’t worth it.  In the big picture, fencing costs are usually pretty minimal in terms of what your property is worth.”

Richard Glover would no doubt agree.

Editors note: This article has been republished for the benefit of our many new readers. It was originally written by Ben Powers for Australian Property Investor Magazine in 2010 and has been republished with their permission

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'Know your rights when you have a fence war with your neighbours' have 51 comments

    Avatar

    July 17, 2019 Phillip Fry

    your final solution is to just give up and pay for it myself? so what if my neighbour destroys that fence too? he put a huge hole in my fence. if i admit defeat and pay for a new one myself and he destroys that too, what then?

    Reply

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    July 13, 2019 Michael Hope

    Hi Michael,
    I have a frustrating fence situation with my neighbor. We have a really long fence dividing our properties. We agreed that we would build half the fence and then when he had money, he could build the other half. We built our half and put the pretty side facing his house. It was 5 years and he hadn’t put his half of the fence up yet – then he had a tree cut down that was straddling our properties (the old chain link fence was growing through the tree). It left a 6 foot wide hole in the middle of the fence – and he was too cheap to have the stump removed so we were left with a hole and stump. He said he planned to put up the fence but in the meantime, he would lean an old piece of scrap plywood over the hole. Fast forward 6 months. I woke up to construction in the backyard last weekend – with no warning. He was having the fence put up. We were so happy – at long last! We noticed that they were plugging right along building the fence, but they hadn’t done anything with the chain link fence. That’s when we noticed that he moved the fence line inside his property about 6 inches, leaving our side with the old chain link fence, the hole and the stump! To make matters worse, he used recycled wood for the frame of the fence (different colors of scrap wood) and put the pretty side on his own property – with all nice looking uniformed wood. I honestly can’t believe it. We have been so patient and flexible – we lived with that horrible fence for so long. Did I mention that he doesn’t keep up his backyard? We do. What legal recourse do we have?

    Reply

      Michael Yardney

      July 14, 2019 Michael Yardney

      Michael – you have been patient – what he’s done doesn’t sound fair – it’s time to step up your game and a starting point could be an outside mediator – such as Victoria’s Department of Justice Dispute Settlement Cent or approaching your solicitor

      Reply

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    July 4, 2019 Tarnya

    Hi Michael. We commissioned a structural engineer who provided us with a report to say that our dividing fence failed due to incorrect construction and lack of drainage on behalf of our neighbour. Our neighbour has now rebuilt the fence. However the construction has caused $16,000 worth of damage to our courtyard. Our neighbour has refused to pay. Which legal avenue should be go through? We are in Qld however I’m not sure that QCAT hears disputes relating to property damage (only dividing fences). Thanks!

    Reply

      Michael Yardney

      July 4, 2019 Michael Yardney

      Sorry to hear that Tarnya – that is a significant amount of money. I would start by briefing a solicitor and get him to make your cliam with your neighbour – steer clear of the courts if you can avoid it.

      Reply

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    June 20, 2019 Barbara Timmermans

    Hi Michael. My neighbour and I have an intervention order against each other. In court on the day of the order, he agreed to a new fence as the existing fence is rotted and about to fall over. The judge said for my husband to take the quote over there. We decided to send the quote via registered mail with a tracking number. He did receive the quote, but will not respond. The intervention order is for 2 years and the fence is in need of urgent repairs before it falls over and he’s a difficult stubborn person. My husband has MS and is not in good health. I have to do everything and I’m stressed. What can I do please?

    Reply

      Michael Yardney

      June 20, 2019 Michael Yardney

      Barbara – sorry to hear of your plight – this now requires a solicitor’s intervention

      Reply

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    May 10, 2019 Van

    Hello Michael,
    I’m wondering, do I have to pay for the fence in case I’m a owner of the land however I want to sell the land in a near future as we don’t want to build there. I’ve received a fencing notice from my neighbour..What options do I have?

    Thanks in advance!

    Reply

      Michael Yardney

      May 10, 2019 Michael Yardney

      Sorry, but I believe you must pay – but it will add value to your property

      Reply

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    May 10, 2019 DK

    I lived in NSW, my neighbour and I has a low dividing fence, is he allow to build a higher eg.1800mm high fence entirely on his side of the boundary, in any form of construction, shape and colour, if it is in compliant with council regulation? Eg, a pink colour fence that can be seen from my side?
    Thanks for your advice in advance!

    Reply

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    May 7, 2019 Linda

    HI Michael,
    We paid our deposit for our fence back in February, and a day later our neighbour advised that we needed to wait for their retaining wall to be built before the fence can be constructed. We have patiently waited 3 months now for this to be done. Now that the retaining wall has been completed, we have asked if we can now go ahead and have the fence constructed. They have now advised that we need to wait for their bricks and site clean to be completed which will be another 4 weeks. This will mean we would have been in our house for 4 months without a side fence, with our backyard clearly visible from the street behind. What can we do in this situation?

    Reply

      Michael Yardney

      May 7, 2019 Michael Yardney

      Sorry to hear about your plight, but I’m not sure that there is anything you can do other than wait that little extra

      Reply

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    May 4, 2019 Nick

    Hi Michael, I recently purchased a block of land (resale) on the Sunshine Coast, QLD. A neighbour on one side had fenced his boundary prior to my purchase. Recently, I was on my property with my builder, when the neighbour introduced himself to me and immediately ask for my payment for the fence. Taking into consideration that the land I purchased was already fenced on one side and that I have had no consultation into it being placed there. I politely let the NEW neighbour know this. How am I to know if the previous owners of the land have’nt contributed to their financial input? Where do I stand with this situation?

    Reply

      Michael Yardney

      May 4, 2019 Michael Yardney

      Nick – there is no requirement for you to pay if this occurred prior to your purchase

      Reply

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    April 29, 2019 VM

    Hi,
    I have build a new home and its ready to occupy. Only thins pending is landscaping and driveway. Due to the hilly area the houses are in slope and so there is a gap between each house. My neighbour’s builder is building a house which might take 2-3 months to complete. My landscape contractor told me that I need a retaining wall or at least a sleepers so that soils / sand doesnt fall on my turf or damage it. Neighbour’s builder doesn’t want to build any retaining wall now or even commit but until then I am stuck. He wants to wait unitl he is ready to commence work on fencing. Can I build the retaining wall to support the fence and get it legally from them later? Landscaping is critical as I also need to build steps to enter the property which is at 3-4 steps height?

    Reply

      Michael Yardney

      April 29, 2019 Michael Yardney

      VM – sorry – retaining walls are your responsibility – you cannot claim this from your neighbour

      Reply

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    April 9, 2019 Colin Clarke

    Hi Michael,

    Our neighbour is being difficult, we came to him last year around November to put up a new fence on the back LHS of the property. He agreed to pay half, as long as we got the boundry line marked out. I left that up to him to sort out and we would pay half the cost of the survey. I found out in February/March this year that he has had a quote for the survey to be done and also given the contact details for this quote by his lawyer since November last year and he has done nothing with it.

    I have presented him with 3 quotes and he is not happy and wants 2 more. I told him if he wants 2 more quotes he can chase this himself, otherwise we will be going with the cheapest one out of the 3 I gave him.

    Can I start construction on the new fence now, after giving him the 3 quotes?
    ! of the quotes is from Last year so the price may have changed since then, but the 2 other quotes I have are from this month. One is an estimate, but it does give an insight to the true costs of the fencing work.
    Do I need to serve him a fencing notice or can I just start the work, now that I have shown him these quotes?

    I have had to do all the work in finding a fencing contractor and I even found a surveyor as well because he sat on his hands, and he has done nothing except making things difficult.

    Reply

      Michael Yardney

      April 9, 2019 Michael Yardney

      As you’ve clearly got a difficult neighbour please get your solicitor’s advice to ensure you protect yourself

      Reply

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        April 10, 2019 Colin Clarke

        Hi Michael,
        Thank you for your reply, I didn’t want it to come to lawyers, but it looks like it might have to.

        Is there a law as to how many quotes I need to provide?

        Once again, thank you for your time.

        Reply

    Avatar

    April 3, 2019 Daniealla

    Hi Micahel,
    My neighbour has a dilapidated garage on the boundary of our properties. I built on my property and the neighbour insisted that the damage was caused from the build and it ended up a nasty legal dispute. I have spent a lot of money in legal expesnes defending myself and through extensive Engineer’s Report it was ascertained that the damage to their garage was through faulty footings, their tree root implications and just poor build of their garage in general. Now they have recieved a building order from the Council to rebuild and the new garage will not be built on the boundary. They now would like me to pay half the fence cost for a new fence where the garage would have been. I simply do not have the money to pay for this as my funds have been exhausted through all the legal expenses. What are my options?

    Reply

      Michael Yardney

      April 3, 2019 Michael Yardney

      Daniella, this is very unfortunate. However it is your obligation to pay for half the fence – if it is only for the length of where a garage would be be so expensive should it? You will

      Reply

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    April 2, 2019 Juan

    Hello, We just had a survey for our land and as a result we know where our true title boundary is. On the LHS our neighbor wants to re-build the fence as it is damaged. We told him that after looking at the survey, our land goes into his current property about 282mm, so our land overlaps with his. We are building a new house and the builder told us that by law we need to build within the true boundary, not the ‘as is’ one.
    We have a wall that will run just over 4500mm long, 200mm from the true boundary. Problem is that the current fence is in the middle and at some point is crossing that wall. We asked the neighbor he can keep the fence where currently is for the whole length of the house except for those 4500mm of wall where he would have to push back the fence towards his property around 150mm for us to be able to build that wall, (1 storey wall).
    He does not want to take our proposal and wants to go all the way to fight it so he can keep it where it is, but our builder told us that they will build as per plan, thus as per law.
    I am worry they can bring a claim for the fence as adverse possession. The neighbour has been living there for more than 20 years, but we moved here about 14 years ago. They can claim adverse possession if they have continuously occupied my land for more than 15 years, right? They requested the surveyor certificate from us for them to see (via email) Would the survey done recently stop any adverse possession claim as they are now aware of our intentions to build a house a year before reaching 15?

    Reply

      Michael Yardney

      April 3, 2019 Michael Yardney

      There is no reason not to show him the survey – it may quieten your neighbour – his land is still the size it always was – maybe not in exactly the same spot.
      As for the adverse possession case – you should ask a lawyer

      Reply

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    February 25, 2019 Ross

    This is not a question about fencing, it’s about the retaining wall that fence sits on. When townhouses were built next door to me, a retaining wall was built to level the neighbour’s block. It has started to fall over to my side, in spots where the wall is highest about 1 metre high, the lean is now about 30cm or more is some spots. When I was helping a neighbour dig up some trees along the fence, we found that his landscapers had installed the retaining wall without concrete footings (about 12 years ago). As a result, the weight of the soil built up on his side is pushing the wall over on my side. Do the same rules for fences apply to my situation, since I believe the problems arise from their landscapers poor workmanship? Am I liable for half the cost of repairs or is it the responsibility of the strata next door? Thank you.

    Reply

      Michael Yardney

      February 25, 2019 Michael Yardney

      Ross – I’m not a lawyer, even though I know a little bit about this area, and I would suggest that if the retaining wall was built to ” retain” soil et cetera on the neighbouring block because it is built higher than yours, then this is the responsibility of the neighbours.

      Reply

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      March 1, 2019 Julie Whicker

      Hi. My colorbond fence is leaning over quite a bit towards the neighbours. I appriached him today and I said I think the trellis vine is contributing. He disagreed saying there was no weight in it. I then said can we put extra posts in your side to straighten it up. At first he said yes, then 5 minutes later said no. He said put the posts in your side. By doing that will not help push the fence back and keep it line. He has a retaining wall on his side also contributing to the shift in the land. I then said we would have to cut a wedge at the base on our side, push over then reweld.
      He said no. So I then said take your vine hooks off the top of the fence, so he got a ladder and came onto our property to do that. He is 85. Then he starts telling me my driveway which is a battleaxe is common access land. I was shocked. It is totally within our boundaries and our deveway only accesses my property. I later checked our plans and rang the council to confirm my driveway is not common land.
      So I rang my brother who is a fencer and he said don’t worry he will come and fix it.
      I’m not asking for any money off the 85 year old but because the fence is what I consider our frontage I want it to look well maintained and not falling over.
      Can my brother straighten it by cut and weld.
      We did this to a gatepost already embedded into a concrete path and had no problems.

      Reply

        Michael Yardney

        March 1, 2019 Michael Yardney

        I can’t really advise you without seeing your property. I see no reason why your brother shouldn’t fix it

        Reply

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    February 4, 2019 Charl

    Hi Michael,

    We bought our house around 10months ago, and if I’d known the neighbours were going to be this noisy would have stayed far away… Given property downturn I cannot really sell only 10 months in. Our neighbour’s property is filled and he has a 2m retaining wall which he has advised is all on his property. We have asked the to build a fence on top of this to block noise, however they do not want to.

    Is there anything I can do as effectively we have no fence between us, only a retaining wall, however given it’s all on the neighbour’s property it appears I cannot force him to do anything. Given also the 1,8m height regulation in QLD any fence I erect on my side will be lower than the existing retaining wall…

    Are there any options open to us?

    Reply

      Michael Yardney

      February 5, 2019 Michael Yardney

      Charl – I can’t really visualise what you’re describing, but if you can’t build a higher fence why not plant some mature trees that should block out the sound

      Reply

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    January 28, 2019 John BOURKE

    Michael,
    After both agreeing to build a 9.5m colorbond fence, plus my neighbor wanting me to renew a 6m section 900mm high retaining wall which the fence was partly built on top. we both found the old fence had been wrongly built on top of this retaining wall which is around 80cm inside my property. This currently affects losing that distance by 24m long, and I am concerned about selling with knowing it now has a reduced land size.
    As this is a large piece of my land, I have e-mailed and advised him I wanted to pull it down and rebuild the Color bond fence with the existing material on it’s the boundary.
    My neighbors had a small gate built and it gives him further access into his back yard.
    I want to know if I can pull down the fence, and have it rebuilt correctly on the true boundary?
    It seemed the retaining wall and old fence was originally built wrongly when both houses were constructed, 20 years ago, as we just replaced everything where it was.
    Have I the right to pull it down seeing it’s on my land ?
    I have e-mailed my neighbor advising I was going to pull the fence down, and for him to to call in and discuss how to proceed with the matter, as he is very difficult young man to deal with, and I am in my 70’s and has always been difficult previously over a number of minor problems, e.g. like when asking him to trim a bush on our boundary, that is blocking my view of roadway when exiting my garage, which he advised by e-mail NO!
    He hasn’t replied to my e-mail as yet, and I honestly don’t believe the cost to rebuild the fence will be expensive, seeing all the colorbond material is reusable, and we may require just some new upright posts, so mostly labor cost.
    I was going to get a quote for the rebuild, but am concerned with him having a small gate he paid for currently securing the access to this walkway.
    I am totally restricted with having to be the sole full time carer to my seriously ill wife, with Parkinson’s PSP and arranging conciliation or similar would be very difficult for me to attend.
    I probably would be prepared to pay for the rebuild if necessary, but have not offered at this stage, if he becomes stubborn, I probably may be able to have my daughter represent me if required to go to conciliation?
    I was considering ringing our Council and discuss the matter, is that wise at this stage?
    Appreciate any advice and guidance.

    Reply

      Michael Yardney

      January 28, 2019 Michael Yardney

      This is an important decision, as you may end up losing some land if the fence remains in the wrong spot.
      I would first get a survey to find out exactly where the boundary is – then you’ll have more ammunition.
      It may then be worth get a solicitor to give you an opinion as well as write a letter that may stir your neighbour into action

      Reply

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    January 17, 2019 Alisha

    Hi Michael,

    I have a broken fence between myself and my neighbour’s property. The construction is poor and I am concerned it will just break again. If I have proposed by official notice that I will pay for 100% of the costs for a brand new fence, how much control does my neighbour have over the design of the fence? I have agreed to her height requests but she is being very difficult about the colour.

    Any advice would be appreciated.

    Regards,

    Alisha
    (South Australia)

    Reply

      Michael Yardney

      January 17, 2019 Michael Yardney

      The neighbour has a right to have a say which colour is on their side, but if they don’t like the colour you’ve selected then they’ll have to pay their share.
      It’s a sort of democracy – you both have a say and hopefully will come to an agreement

      Reply

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    December 5, 2018 Moveen Mudaliar

    Hi Michael. I have a situation where I’m in the process of a knockdown and build. During our demo we removed an old brick fence that backed onto our neighbours brick fence which is also part of their pool fence. When we removed our fence we found that their fence was sitting on a suspended slab. This slab is also their pool deck. The slab has concrete cancer throughout it and the single leaf brick wall has crack through it. There is timber supporting structure under the slab that has been eaten away by termites and there are several termite mounds visible. I believe that this wall is unsafe and could come down without notice causing severe injury or or death. Neighbor has indicated that he is not going to do anything due to budget constraints. Has indicated that he will be getting a survey consultant to look inspect it notify if it it safe. He has not given a timeline. I have spoken to council and they say it is a civil matter. What are my options here.

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      Michael Yardney

      December 5, 2018 Michael Yardney

      Moveen – you are clearly in a difficult situation – but the council ahs given you the right answer – see if you can resolve the matter and if not get your solicitor involved to speed things up

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    December 2, 2018 Zoe

    Without warning Our neighbour pulled up our chainlink fence and posts, picked it up and pushed it onto our land and tied it to our trees. He then excavated a heap of earth (from our side of the boundry as well as his) and built a retaining wall 2/3 of the way along the fence line but not the rest. He has not backfilled on our side of the retaining wall and there is a 1m drop where he has not built anything. He said the existing fence was to be put back up on top of the retaining wall or we have to pay for an upgrade. We just want the fence fixed but nothing has happened for years. We don’t have a secure yard and he refuses to fix and we don’t have any earth to put the fence up on the boundry as he dug it out! Whats our best option?

    Reply

      Michael Yardney

      December 2, 2018 Michael Yardney

      Zoe – am I right in understanding this happened “years” ago?
      My suggestion is to try and speak with your neighbour first rather than escalating the matter. if you don’t get anywhere go the the council because they should make him fix the 1 mt drop

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    November 16, 2018 Jess

    Our neighbour approached us to replace the fence. Told us to get a quote, they agreed to the quote. We replaced the fence. Went to collect money, they now say they don’t have money and never wanted a fence. All in the space of 3 weeks…This is in NSW.

    Reply

      Michael Yardney

      November 16, 2018 Michael Yardney

      Approve – you have the fencing Act on your side – they have to pay their half of a normal fence – but the trouble is you’ll have to get the money out of them. Real pity

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    October 31, 2018 sharron

    Hi, we recently purchased a property and after 6 months the neighbour approached us about replacing the fence. It is a wooden fence with palings, I don’t know how old it is, however structurally sound with the posts, rails and most of the palings. The neighbour had a lot of trees overhanging the fence and over the years seem to be the cause of the cosmetic damage. He came up with a solution to remove the palings (which are on his side) and replace with corrugated iron that he has had laying around for a number of years, and was already second hand. We asked how much would it cost to put on a couple of times and were told not much, just the cost of the rivets. Within the next couple of days the palings were taken off and replaced with the tin. We then receive a bill for $975 which seems rather excessive and no details of what it relates to. No posts or rails were removed, just the palings and purely for cosmetic purposes. I am going to approach the neighbour but wanted to understand our position being that they have removed the palings on their side and replaced with old tin they already had.

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      Michael Yardney

      October 31, 2018 Michael Yardney

      If you didn’t agree to these works he’ll be hard pressed to pursue you for them – your obligation is to pay for your half of a paling fence – but not need to pay for replacement if simple repairs will suffice

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    October 30, 2018 Kush

    Hi Michael,
    My neighbour has just started building his house and builder want to remove the side fence in order to put the slab. He also want to remove part of my retaining wall in the front garden. The time frame given is 6 months which is too long. Is there anyway I can say “No” to the builder or I have no option and accept it? Any points to consider before they go ahead and do it? Kindly help. Thanks

    Reply

      Michael Yardney

      October 30, 2018 Michael Yardney

      Kush – you’re right 6 months seems a long time, but you can’t really hold up the construction.
      Ask why it takes so long and take plenty of before photos so they leave things in the same condition or better on completion

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        January 15, 2019 Marion Wood

        Take lots of photos in relation to the boundary.
        I’ve had the unpleasant experience of neighbors removing a well built fence that stood for well over the 15 years that could have been repaired.They excavated for a retaining wall without advising that it was a requirement to build nor did they obtain a permit until I complained to Local Council. They are now disputing the boundary.They also we’re very reluctant to supply me with written quote for the new fence.Take care !!

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    September 27, 2018 allstonelandscapes

    Thanks for sharing..

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    August 21, 2018 jon

    Hi Michael it was great to read your thoughts on this issue,
    what or were do we stand if we want to put a fence up to separating two properties that currently dosnt have one, and the other home owner dosnt want one , we would even do it at our cost, we are in rural land in QLD,
    Do we have a right to protect our property and land?
    cheers Jon

    Reply

      Michael Yardney

      August 22, 2018 Michael Yardney

      Jon Of course you have a rigth to protect your property and land – however the type of fence you can build may be different in rural QLD. I suggest you ask your local council

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    July 19, 2018 Anne khaya

    Neigbour removed dividing fence 6 months ago. Has run stormwater on my land and built a retaining wall on my land. Now refuses to replace fence where it was. He thinks the fence should be moved further into land. Not interested in paying for anything. He has said he will pull the fence down if i replace it where it was. Nobody seems able to help me.

    Reply

      Michael Yardney

      July 19, 2018 Michael Yardney

      Anne – if the neighbour is not willing to be reasonable you really must see a solicitor to protect your interests

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