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Dividing fence disputes

New ways to resolve dividing fence disputes

From 1 November 2011 new laws provide simpler options for neighbours to resolve dividing fence disputes. More information..... 

What is a dividing fence dispute?

A dividing fence dispute may arise if owners of adjoining properties disagree about fence construction or maintenance.

Dealing with dividing fences

Owners of adjoining properties are equally responsible for the construction and repair of the dividing fence.

When wishing to build an adjoining fence you should write to your neighbour:

  • specifying the common boundary to be fenced
  • specifying the kind of fence you propose building
  • outlining a proposal for the fence including an estimate of the cost, the neighbour’s contribution and the method of construction. As a matter of courtesy two written quotes should be supplied. This letter is called a notice to fence.

How can I resolve the dispute?

If your neighbour refuses to contribute, challenges the cost or disagrees with the type of fence or repairs, you must not go ahead and build or repair the fence. If you both cannot reach an agreement after one month of giving your neighbour a notice to fence, either of you may:

  • invite the other party to attend mediation which is a way of settling a dispute without legal action. The Department of Justice and Attorney-General provides a free mediation service through its Dispute Resolution Branch, or
  • apply to the Magistrates Court to resolve your dispute, or
  • apply to QCAT to resolve the dispute. QCAT hears dividing fence disputes which are valued up to and including $25,000.

Please note you cannot apply to QCAT or the Magistrates Court to resolve your dividing fence dispute unless you delivered (served) a notice to fence to your neighbour.

Any description of QCAT's jurisdiction on this website is general information only and is not intended to precisely define the types of applications that QCAT has the power to decide. QCAT's jurisdiction is determined by the relevant legislation. If you are unsure about your legal rights you should seek legal advice. Any actions taken to resolve your dispute should be determined by your individual circumstances.
Last reviewed
12 November 2013
Last updated
12 November 2013

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