Dividing fence disputes
The Neighbourhood Disputes (Dividing Fences and Trees) Act 2011 provides options for resolving dividing fence disputes.
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.