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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 may be equally responsible for the construction and repair of the dividing fence.

When wishing to build an adjoining fence you should give your neighbour a notice to contribute for fencing work either in person or by post.

  • 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. If your dispute is about a dividing fence that is part of a pool barrier, the amount in dispute is unlimited.

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.

If you have started to construct or repair your fence without your neighbour’s agreement or authorisation through a QCAT order, you may wish to seek legal advice about your options.

Access more information on dividing fences and a step-by-step guide to dealing with neighbourhood disputes.

Descriptions of QCAT's jurisdiction on this website are general information only. They do not definitively describe the types of applications on which QCAT can make decisions. The relevant legislation determines QCAT's jurisdiction. If you are unsure about your legal rights, you should seek legal advice. Your individual circumstances should guide any actions taken to resolve your dispute.

We cannot provide legal advice

As part of an independent tribunal, QCAT registry staff cannot provide legal advice.

Registry staff can explain and answer questions about how QCAT works and its processes.

Registry staff cannot help with:

* whether or not you should submit an application
* whether your application is under the correct jurisdiction
* if you should lodge an appeal or a counter-application
* recommending a specific lawyer to assist you
* how to word your application, supporting documents or what to say at a proceeding
* contacting a QCAT member or adjudicator directly
* predicting likely outcomes of a case or appeal
* helping you to prepare your case
* advising what orders/decisions you should seek
* enforcing an order or decision of the tribunal
* advising exact timeframes for resolution of a matter – this depends on your individual matter.

Last reviewed
19 September 2017
Last updated
19 September 2017

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