Who pays to build and maintain a boundary fence?

Who pays to build and maintain a boundary fence?

Good fences make good neighbours, as the old proverb goes. But for some neighbourly relationships, a good fence can actually be the source of conflict.

If you’re looking to score yourself some privacy and clearly establish the boundary between your house and your neighbour’s, a good fence may be a high priority. Before you start building, though, you should familiarise yourself with the legal responsibilities involved.

Who pays to build a fence?

If you’re building a fence to divide your neighbour’s property from your own, the responsibility for financing the fence’s construction depends on whether both neighbours will use the fence. In other words, are both properties fully enclosed by fencing attached to the boundary fence? If both neighbours have fully-fenced properties divided by a boundary fence, the responsibility to pay for the boundary fence is split 50/50.

This can get a bit tricky if one neighbour wants a much more extravagant fence than the other. If this is the case, the neighbour demanding the fancier fencing must pay the difference in cost between their preferred fencing and a sufficient dividing fence. If you’re picky when it comes to pickets and palings, you might want to offer to pay more to save yourself from disputes down the road.

If you and your neighbour can’t agree on splitting the cost of the fence, a court can decide the issue and compel your neighbour to split the cost. Obviously, it’s best to reach an agreement on your own without letting the situation get quite so antagonistic.

There is one important caveat when it comes to splitting the cost of a fence. Before you agree to pay and begin building, you’ll want to ensure that the fence is built on the actual boundary between the properties. In many states, a fence that strays onto one neighbour’s land is owned by that property owner, even if both neighbours paid to construct it.

What kind of fence can be built?

A dividing fence between properties must be deemed a “sufficient” fence. While the definition of a sufficient fence varies slightly from state to state, and even from one council to the next, there are a few general guidelines:

Generally, it should be no more than four feet tall at the front of the property and no more than six feet tall at the back.

It must meet local council guidelines for materials and construction.

It must sufficiently restrain trespass by grazing livestock (not generally a big problem in the city).

Who pays for repairs?

In most states, the cost of the repair and maintenance of a dividing fence is shared equally by neighbours. This means that if the fence is in need of repair or maintenance, you and your neighbour must discuss and agree upon the maintenance and then split the cost of returning the fence to a reasonable state of repair.

In the case of emergency repairs, it’s unnecessary to first discuss the repairs with your neighbour. You can have the repairs undertaken yourself and then ask your neighbour to reimburse you afterwards.

If you can’t agree that the fence needs repairs, most states will allow you to have an assessment undertaken to determine whether or not repairs are needed. Should it be determined that repairs are required, you can serve your neighbour with a Fencing Notice, a formal written notice that you intend to undertake repairs and will expect them to contribute to the cost.

Should your neighbour still refuse to contribute or fail to reply to your Fencing Notice, you can apply to your state’s administrative tribunal for a Fencing Order. A Fencing Order will compel your neighbour to pay their share for repairs and maintenance.

More about fencing

While the above is a good general guide, fencing regulations vary slightly from one state or territory to the next. To find the local laws governing fencing construction, repairs and maintenance that apply to you, click on your state or territory below.

Want to find out more about home construction costs? Read our guide

Need a home loan? Start comparing

Rates last updated May 22nd, 2018
$
Loan purpose
Offset account
Loan type
Your filter criteria do not match any product
Name Product Interest Rate (p.a.) Comp Rate^ (p.a.) Application Fee Ongoing Fees Max LVR Monthly Payment Short Description
3.69%
3.69%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Refinance to a UBank loan and you could get $1,000 in your USaver account (offer conditions apply). Enjoy flexible repayments, a redraw facility and the ability to split your loan. Plus, pay no application or ongoing fees.
3.64%
3.67%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
A mortgage with a competitive variable rate, limited fees and plenty of flexibility.
3.69%
3.69%
$0
$0 p.a.
70%
Pay no application or ongoing fees and get a flexible loan with the ability to split up to 6 times.
3.64%
4.03%
$0
$395 p.a.
80%
New borrowers or refinancers from another lender get a discounted rate with this package loan.
3.64%
3.84%
$0
$0 p.a.
70%
Enjoy all the benefits of the Basic Home Loan and take advantage of an offset account.
3.68%
3.83%
$0
$10 monthly ($120 p.a.)
80%
Get a 100% offset account to save on interest charges, and pay no application fee.
3.69%
3.71%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
A low rate variable home loan offer with no monthly fees or application fee charge.
3.69%
4.06%
$0
$349 p.a.
90%
Package your loan with other AMP products and save on rates and fees.
3.70%
4.13%
$0
$395 p.a.
90%
Package your loan with an eligible credit card for discounts on rates and fees, and get a 100% offset account.
3.49%
4.49%
$0
$395 p.a.
90%
Loans over $150k get a discount off an already low fixed rate. Available for NSW, Qld and ACT residents only.

Compare up to 4 providers

Aussie Home Loans Logo

Enter your details below to receive an obligation-free quote from an Aussie home loans expert today

finder.com.au guarantees the privacy and security of your details

Applications are subject to approval. Conditions, fees and charges apply. Please note that you need to be an Australian citizen or permanent resident to apply.

Credit services for Aussie Select, Aussie IQ and Aussie Optimizer products are provided by AHL Investments Pty Ltd ACN 105 265 861 Australian Credit Licence 246786 ("Aussie"), and its appointed credit representatives. Credit for Aussie Select products is provided by Residential Mortgage Group Pty Ltd ACN 152 378 133 Australian Credit Licence 414133 (“RMG”). RMG is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia ABN 48 123 123 124 AFSL and Australian Credit Licence 234945. Credit for Aussie Optimizer products is provided by Perpetual Limited ABN 86 000 431 827 (Lender). Credit for Aussie IQ is provided by Macquarie Bank Limited ABN 46 008 583 542 AFSL and Australian Credit Licence 237502. Home loans issued by the Lender are serviced by Macquarie Securitisation Limited ABN 16 003 297 336, Australian Credit Licence 237863 (MSL).

Aussie is a trade mark of AHL Investments Pty Ltd. Aussie is a subsidiary of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia ABN 48 123 123 124. ©2018 AHL Investments Pty Ltd ABN 27 105 265 861 Australian Credit Licence 246786.

By submitting this form, you agree to the finder.com.au privacy policy and the Aussie privacy policy.

Aussie Home Loans is both a lender and a mortgage broker, and offers a range of services.

  • FREE Suburb and Property Report with every appointment.
  • Access 3,000+ loans from over 20 lenders.
  • Get expert help with your loan application, including paperwork and eligibility.
  • Over 1000 brokers who are able to help you in your local area.

Aussie Home Loans Lender Logos

The Adviser’s number 1 placed mortgage broker 5 years running (2013-2017)

Was this content helpful to you? No  Yes

Related Posts

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, read the PDS or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.
Ask a question
Go to site