Disputes with your neighbours over your shared fence?

Disputes with your neighbours over your shared fence?

Posted by Lee Benson on 2nd Aug 2019

Boundary Fencing Disputes

Boundary fencing is probably the most common disputes that neighbors have, Why? because it is the one thing that is shared and usually 2 people have different tastes in styles of fencing or they cant agree where the boundary fence lies.

This Article will help you and will give you some advice on what you need to know.

Rule number one is to make sure that you have happy neighbours, when you buy a house and plan to stay there for a long time, you want a place that is a sanctuary. If you start getting into fights with your neighbours, your own home is not going to be a lovely place to live. Do what ever it takes to make them happy! say sorry, buy them some wine etc.

But what if they decide that want a new fence and ontop of that they want you to pay half of it!

Its not easy to stay calm when they say something like that is it?

According to statistics its the highest dispute that neighbours have against each other. More than noise, and more than trees. Fencing is by far the highest of the disputes.

Fencing disputes are 30% Law and 70% Emotions. Ive been there, i have also been a fencing contractor and i know how much neighbours can get all revved up about it. Is it really worth having a bad realtionship with them just over a few hundred dollars? Take your time and be calm about the situation and you will be able to come to a better resolution.

What does the Law Say about it?

Every state is a little bit different, But in NSW a fence can be anything, from a ditch, a fence, a rose bush or a hedge. Anything can be used to show some sort of a boundary.

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

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

The exceptions are if the neighbour wants a higher fence for example, in this case they would pay the extra for the extra height. Or if one neighbour damages the fence, in this case they would need to pay to repair the cost.

How to approach your neighbours

So what do you do if you or your neighbour wants to build a new fence on the boundary?

First you would need to serve your neighbour with a "notice" But we would recommend just knocking on the door first to have a nice friendly chat first, then if you dont agree you can send them the formal notice.

Try and have a normal conversation with your neighbour first without making a scene. Remember that above all cost try and have a good relationship with your neigbour. A good idea is to get a quote and then to present that to the neighbour and invite them to get their own quote.

Try and get a mobile number and be upbeat and friendly and be reasonable in what you’re saying.If someone is asking you to put money towards  a fence, be realistic.If it’s an investment property there are going to be tax advantages for what you spend on the fence.

What if your neighbours say NO

What will sometimes happen is that the neighbours might say no.

there are heaps of reasons why a neigbour may want to replace a fence and may not agree to you.

It is old and falling down.

it has been recently surveyed and the fence is currently not on the boundary.

the neighbour wants a higher fence.

you and your neighbour want different colors and or styles.

the list goes on and ive heard them all!!

Neigbours can argue who gets the rails and who gets the good side etc, with our fencing it is good both sides so there is no need to worry about that.

Where does the fence go?

10 percent of the time, the fence is exactly on the title boundary, but alot of the time it isnt and that can be a problem.

over time if the fence has been renewed a few times the fence may start to creep over the boundary. the law is pretty flexable on this if the fence is an inch or 2. but if it is a good few hundred mm over it cause some disputes.

to know exactly where the fence lies you will need to pay for a surveyor.

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

this is when thing start to get serious, and your neighbour when he gets this knows you mean business and may respond quickly, especially if he or she gets a call from a lawyer.

Mediation is the next step

What if the neighbour continues to Dispute?

The next step is mediation, which is Made to keep the issue out of the courts and hopefully find a reasonable outcome.

This is where you and your neighbor chat it out with someone mediating.

Court is the next step.

This is the last step, when you get to this stage it is when things start to cost alot of money, if you can by all means dont get to this stage.

Sometimes i find that it might be best to pay for the new fence all yourself, you might still need to appoach your neigbours but at least this way you get a say in the colours and height etc.