Disputes between Neighbours – Dividing Fences The rights and obligations of neighbours relating to dividing fences are governed by the Dividing Fences Act (‘the Act’).
Liability for Fencing Work
Under the Act, an adjoining owner (ie a neighbour) may be liable to contribute to the costs of fencing if there is no sufficient dividing fence between the properties. The Act requires certain factors to be considered when determining what constitutes a sufficient dividing fence.
Contributions between Adjoining Owners
Adjoining owners are liable to contribute equally to the cost of fencing work where the fence is to be what is considered a ‘sufficient’ dividing fence. An adjoining owner who wants to erect a dividing fence to a standard greater than the standard for a sufficient dividing fence will be liable for the cost of the work to the extent it exceeds the standard for a sufficient dividing fence.
Procedure for Determining Disputes
An adjoining land owner may require the other adjoining land owner to contribute to the cost of fencing work by serving a notice in writing to that effect on the other owner. This notice must set out certain information.
If, after serving notice, an agreement is not reached, the adjoining owners may attend a Community Justice Centre for mediation. Alternatively, after one month either owner may commence proceedings in the Local Court or the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT).