How Close to a Property Line Can You Build a Fence in Adelaide?

Posted by Ben McInerney on 1st May 2023

Adelaide has its own set of local laws regarding fence building. The Fences Act of 1975 governs how fences are erected, maintained, repaired, or replaced in SA. There is no obligation to have a fence in Adelaide or SA, except if you have dogs.

The regulations in the Act govern height, property line disputes and any approvals required.

In Adelaide, fences are to be erected right on the property line and not on either side of. Before putting up a fence, you need to ensure the property line is properly demarcated. If you are replacing an existing fence, you will be fine erecting it in place of the old one.

Do I need to give notice before building a fence?

If you are on good terms with your neighbour, a casual conversation about wanting to erect a fence and getting their approval is the best way to go about it. If you don’t get on particularly well with your neighbour, I recommend following the letter of the law and giving 30 days’ notice before erecting or repairing or maintaining your fence.

Forms provided by SA government for giving notice

●New fences - Notice of intention to erecta fence

●Repair, replace or maintain - Notice of intention to replace, repair or maintain

Notices need to be delivered to your neighbour personally or sent through registered mail. Your neighbour then has 30 days to give you a cross-notice if they object to your proposal.

Do you need council approval for a fence in SA?

You will need council approval to build any fence that:

  1. Is higher than 2.1 metres
  2. A masonry fence higher than 1 metre
  3. A fence over 1m in height within 6 metres of a road intersection

Some areas have special regulations, but let us know if you have any concerns before we start, and we can double-check for you.

How high can a fence be in SA?

In general, fences should not exceed 2.1 metres. You can apply to the Council if you have a special case, such as security or privacy concerns. Remember, extensions add to the height of the fence and are not exempted from height requirements.

Who owns the fence between neighbours?

Both neighbours co-own a boundary fence, irrespective of who paid for it. In most cases, both parties should foot the bill equally, whether you are putting up a new fence or upgrading an already existing one.

So, what happens when one neighbour is reluctant to pay their part of the bill? If your neighbour is refusing to pay:

Before the fence is erected - If your neigbour has indicated they do not wish to pay for the fence, you need to serve them with notice (see above forms) with intent to build the fence. If they do not reply with a cross-notice with a counter proposal or quote within 30 days, then you are legally allowed to go ahead with erecting the fence, and they are obliged to pay.

After the fence is erected - If you followed the correct procedure and gave notice and your neigbour is still refusing to pay, you can apply at the local magistrates court or lodge a claim online at CourtSA portal. You will need to attach a copy of the notice you gave.

What kinds of fence do I need to build?

It has been decided that in residential areas, an “adequate” fence needs to be erected. The best and most cons effective option for this is a colorbond fence. If you would like a timber or brick fence and your neighbour does not agree to the extra cost, they will only need to pay half of the cheapest adequate fence local companies have to offer. You will need to pay the difference for a nicer fence.

In rural areas, a post and wire fence is considered adequate. If you have livestock, these requirements may change if a post and wire fence will not suffice in keeping the livestock from getting into your neighbour’s paddock.

*This is just a guide, please do your own research or contact your local council for up to date and correct information as it is subject to change.

About the author


Lee Benson

With over a decade of experience in all things Australian-made fencing solutions, Lee Benson is one of Adelaide's most trusted names in fencing. Lee takes great pride in making sure that Outback Fencing's range of fencing supplies is designed to provide Australian homeowners and business owners with all the security and design essentials that they need to get the very most out of their property fencing.

With a passion for problem solving, Lee takes great pride in designing stunning garden spaces that stand up to Australia's harshest weather extremes. Lee draws from all his expert insights to consistently provide his customers with the most suitable fencing solutions for their home and property.