Erecting fences

THE LAW

The Neighbourhood Disputes Resolution Act 2011 commenced on 1 November 2011.

The Act contains the new laws on fences.  There is now a wider definition of the term fence (including hedges) and a clearer definition of the term ‘sufficient dividing fence’. Other general changes from the repealed Dividing Fences Act 1953 include a single Notice for contribution to fencing work form and Notice for contribution to urgent fencing work form, clarification that the ownership of the dividing fence on a common boundary is shared equally, distinction between a retaining wall and a fence, and clearer rules for pastoral and agricultural fences.

SUGGESTED PLAN OF ACTION

Discuss the type of fence, the cost and how it will be built with your neighbour. (Make sure you are talking to the owner of the property)

Written agreements are easier to enforce.

To compel your neighbour to contribute, you must, before construction of the fence is started, give notice in writing. The notice should:

  • specify the common boundary to be fenced;
  • specify the kind of fence proposed;
  • contain a proposal for the fence (include an estimate of cost, contribution required and method of construction). As a matter of courtesy, two quotes should be supplied.

If your neighbour accepts your proposal, then he/she will be bound to pay half the cost of it.

Fences – Disputes

  

RESOLVING CONFLICT – QCAT

QCAT stands for the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal. QCAT provides a single tribunal through which the community can access justice. QCAT provides the community with a more accessible, informal and responsive means of resolving neighbourhood disputes involving trees and dividing fences. Visit Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) for more information about how to make an application involving a tree or dividing fence matter.

THE TYPE OF FENCE

Check with your local council if:

  • the fence is to be higher than others in the neighbourhood.
  • the fence is to form part of a retaining wall.
  • there could be any restriction to water run-off
  • the fence is to have some other unusual feature

Fences less than two metres in height do not require Council approval in most cases. Care should be exercised when fencing corner blocks, so as not to create visibility problems for traffic using these streets.

Do you need a building permit for a fence?

A building permit for a boundary fence will need to be obtained from a building certifier where a proposed fence or combined retaining wall and fence exceeds 2.0 metres in height “above” the level of “natural ground” as defined under the Standard Building Regulation 1993.

For more information, contact Customer Service (07) 4783 9800.

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