Boundary Fences - Who is responsible? 

Replacement, disputes and other possible scenarios 

Who is responsible?

The law clearly outlines that property owners are jointly responsible for the cost of construction and repair of a sufficient fence.

What is a sufficient fence?

A sufficient fence is open to interpretation. However, the Act lists some factors that the Court will consider if there is a dispute.

  • The standard of the existing fence
  • How the land is used or intended to be used
  • Privacy of neighbours
  • The kinds of fences in the area
  • Local government requirements

What if you cannot agree on the price and a fence type?

Suppose one property owner wants a cheap paling fence that provides privacy and is similar to the fences in the area, and the adjoining owner wants a more expensive fence such as a Colorbond fence. In that case, the owner who wants the more expensive fence must pay the additional cost between the two.

What if the other owner goes ahead without your approval?

An owner who goes ahead and builds a new fence without consulting the adjoining owner has no grounds under the Act for recovering the cost. The Dividing Fences Act requires an owner to notify the adjoining owner if they believe fencing work is needed and want the costs shared between them. Property owners can agree to any agreement they choose about the fence's cost, type and position, so long as it complies with council regulations. It would be prudent that any agreements are in writing. This would include the type of fence, position of the fence and who is contributing what sum of money. If you have any agreement in writing and signed and either owner doesn't carry out their part of the agreement within the agreed time, the other owner can go ahead and get the work done and then recover the money as a debt through the local small claims court.

What happens in a dispute?

The disputing party needs to get an order under the Dividing Fences Act at the Local Small Claims Court and provide evidence of an agreement between all parties.

For more detailed information on the legislation - https://www.legislation.tas.go...