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Peter G.
Peter G., Solicitor
Category: Australia Law
Satisfied Customers: 767
Experience:  Law degree from the University of Melbourne 1978, with thirty years of practice experience.
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Can I build a fence, on my property in front of my boundary

Customer Question

Can I build a fence, on my property in front of my boundary line, without getting permission from my neighbour?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Australia Law
Expert:  Peter G. replied 4 years ago.
What State are you in please? And what is their refusal to plant any trees all about?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I'm in NSW, in Willoughby City Council region. For last 5 years, we have been requesting to plant hedges, in between our boundary line. We asked for them to share the cost and they said no. We requested we will pay for it, they still said no. At the moment, there is three trees planted, about 3 metres high, that need constant cutting, I am allowed to cut what is hanging on my side, but not the height. It's very ugly, with their rockery broken on my land and their soil running into my property. We are not on talking terms at the moment. I understand I need permission from them, to build a boundary fence, but what if I build a fence on my land?
Expert:  Peter G. replied 4 years ago.
How long is the boundary? Are we in a rural or semi rural area?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
The boundary line is about 6.6 metres long. Currently there is a timber fence between our carports at the height of 1.76metres. Can I continue a fence at this height?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
are you able to help me Peter?, if you are busy, please let me know, so I can approach another lawyer, thank youCustomer
Expert:  Peter G. replied 4 years ago.
Hi Marianne, I can help, I was just out.

Your idea of building inside your title boundary is intriguing; I don't think there is anything legally wrong with that from the point of view of getting around the problem you have, BUT I wouldn't do it - if you did this you would be running the risk of losing your land to an adverse possession claim. This may or may not worry you too much, but when you come to sell, you will have diabolical problems.

I would suggest you serve a fencing notice on the neighbour - the Dividing Fences Act controls the relationship between neighbours, and provides that neighbours should contribute equally to build a fence that is in keeping with the area. This is not to say that you cannot agree to a different sort of fence. But "agree" is the operative word.

Relevant provision:-

"Notice to carry out fencing work

(1) An adjoining owner may require the other adjoining owner to contribute, under this Act, to the carrying out of fencing work by serving a notice in writing to that effect on the other owner.
(2) The notice is to specify the following:
(a) the boundary line on which the fencing work is proposed to be carried out or, if it is impracticable to carry out fencing work on the common boundary of the adjoining lands, the line on which it is proposed to carry out the work,
(b) the type of fencing work proposed to be carried out,
(c) the estimated cost of the fencing work.
(3) The owner serving the notice may propose that the cost of the fencing work is to be borne otherwise than in equal proportions. In such a case, the notice is to state the proposed proportions.
(4) The description of land in a notice need not particularly define the land if it allows no reasonable doubt as to what land is referred to in the notice.
(5) An adjoining owner is not liable to contribute to the cost of any fencing work in respect of a dividing fence:
(a) carried out before a notice under this section is served on the adjoining owner (unless section 9 applies or the notice is served in accordance with section 22), or
(b) carried out after the service of the notice on the adjoining owner and before agreement is reached by the adjoining owners concerning the fencing work (including the contributions to be made in respect of the work) or before the matter has been determined by the Local Court or a local land board."


I think you will get things resolved by using the rights you are given in this Act.

I think this probably answers your questions, but if there is anything else please come back to me, I am happy to address any further concerns.
Peter G., Solicitor
Category: Australia Law
Satisfied Customers: 767
Experience: Law degree from the University of Melbourne 1978, with thirty years of practice experience.
Peter G. and other Australia Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Peter G. replied 4 years ago.
Hi Marianne, thank you very much for the bonus. I don't expect a bonus, and don't do this for bonuses, but thankyou for it. Keep going with the problem in the legal way, and you will get there. If the neighbour is completely unreasonable you may ultimately end up in court, but you will be awarded costs (in all probability). The courts usually dispense common sense in abundance. Best of luck.

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