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Fencing Issue

I have a fence that need to be replaced, but the neighbour is not responding (I have been talking to the real estate agent). They are on a higher ground than us and the fence is already bent to my side because of their tenants pushing garden waste into the fence.

I got a fencer to come and have a look, and they suggested that my neighbour need to build a retention wall because of all the junk that have accumulated on the fence.

I need it fixed because the current tenant of the house has a bull dog and it has jumped over the fence before. What are my options?

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Most state governments have information on the process and responsibilities associated with dividing fences. In Victoria, the information can be found here…

https://www.justice.vic.gov.au/fencing-law-in-victoria

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This is a reprint from Property Investor Magazine and is a good overview.

My suggestion is put everything in writing to the owner’s agent if you have not already. Anything verbal and inexplicit becomes ‘chit chat’. Although not explicitly germane the ACL letter of complaint template should help formulate one.

If the neighbout does not respond your best option may be to engage legal help or go through your state tribunal (eg VCAT for Victoria), although weigh the cost of that against the cost of the fence.

As for the retaining wall, if it is on the neighbours side and not part of the fence I doubt you can force that unless there is documented and reported rainwater runoff, usually covered in an ordinance.

In Victoria see this page.

In NSW see this page.

In Qld see this page.

In TAS see this page.

In SA see this page.

In WA see this page.

Are there fences in NT :wink: yes!

They might not each be the best place to start, but arfe good places for you to know your rights and your processes.
.

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Can you contact council to get the contact details of the owner - and bypass the agent?

Rather than build a retaining wall or other mechanism for managing the waste, it may be better to get them to stop doing it.

In jurisdictions that I am familiar with, the law requires each party to deal with / pay for a dividing fence. However there may be some doubt as to whether the fence does actually need to be replaced. So you should be convinced of that - based on its condition, the possibility to repair, etc. Clearly the fencer has a conflict of interest.

Complain to council. The owner of a dog has a responsibility to confine it. If the dog is the only reason for worrying about the fence then maybe deal with the dog, not the fence.

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It does depend on your state. In SA, there is a specific process for sending out notices to ask for a contribution to the cost of the fence and this publication is worth looking at for SA specific information
https://lsc.sa.gov.au/resources/FencesandtheLawBooklet.pdf
Good luck :slight_smile:

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The difficulty of dealing with this (the fence) does depend on whether the absentee landlord is overseas. Throw in a language barrier, real or fake, and it can be easier to just put up 100% yourself, as sad as that sounds.

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I had a similar problem and the real estate agent would not respond to my telephone calls or my emails. I took a lot of photographs from my side and the rental side and sent them to the real estate agent giving them 14 days to reply before I lodged a claim against them with QCAT. I then received a call from the owner of the property and now there is a six foot timber fence around all of our properties.

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Thanks for the valuable information.

I requested the landlord information from the council.

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Council regulations in Victoria, enabled by state government statutes, give the owner of a property the right to the contact details of the owner of the adjoining property for the purpose of erecting or repairing a fence, without breaching privacy principles

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I believe Qld functions similarly having had to recently approach council for the owners details of a neighbouring property.

Where the neighbour is an investment property this may be useful, as many are not held by individuals directly. There may be a trust/private company listed as the legal owner, in which instance any correspondence needs to identify in the first instance the legal owner correctly.

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The legal owner is also the ratepayer. Council will provide the name of the ratepayer for fencing actions. But a corporation is a “person” at law, and I think there’s a requirement to have a public officer who would be the ratepayer I suspect

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The corporation is the ratepayer, the public officer is the contact person not necessarily the one who pays the rates. In our Company the Secretary is the public officer, however the Company is who is billed for rates.

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A corporation will also have contact details for the registered business address. These contact details allow one to gain further information on the person responsible for the property’s management within the corporation.

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My neighbour was so much wanting a 6ft colourbond fence for privacy that he built it 6inches inside his boundary. He moved out within months. Further along - must have - built 6in inside his line, to the side boundary which block our front view - supposed to be 4ft only. Then the third property wanted a new fence - wooden 6ft. So now we have 3 backyards along our side - 2 x 6ft colourbond - different shades, no privacy for them as we are lower so view over th etop of fence. 1 x 6ft wooden. Noone has offered to put their hand up for re-surveying in the future when re-selling. The wooden fence seller didn’t notify that the fence was not on the border and now new owner wants to build along what he thinks is boundary. First fence builder said that the surveyors peg put in recently when surveyed - it will still be there whenever - lasted another 2 weeks before removal for lawn mowing.

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Your obligations under law only extend as far as a ‘sufficient’ fence. Most neighbours manage to negotiate that if one party wants a sufficient fence and the other party wants something more expensive then the party wanting a sufficient fence pays for half a sufficient fence and the other party pays the rest. In NSW at least, this is explicitly provided for in the legislation (Dividing Fences Act 1991).

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I’m currently pursuing action for a fence replacement.

Long story short:
Existing 43m dividing fence is in three sections, timber with concrete posts, weldmesh, and chainlink. Most is around 50 years old, and in poor / dangerous condition.
Discussed with neighbour four years ago. They wanted Colourbond; we said OK. We both agreed to get quotes. I got three, neighbour got none, said my quotes were too expensive, and expected me to hand over cash so his mate could do the job cheaply. I didn’t agree to that proposal. :roll_eyes:
Fence is now in even worse condition. Wrote to neighbour with new quote for a timber fence, and the
letter was ignored.
Sent a Fencing Notice ( a legal notification under NSW law ), and neighbour said that they would get their own quote. Waited the requisite 30 days, and that didn’t happen.
Our local court has restricted entry due to the pandemic, so I could apply to the registrar for a Fencing Order and pay the fee online. I now await a hearing date.

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Ah that old one.

Best of luck with your action. Keep us informed.

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