Your local Council is not responsible for the regulation of dividing fences (with the exception of those requiring building approval).
Below are some important factors to consider before commencing building a dividing fence. A dividing fence is a fence that separates the residential land of different owners, whether the fence is on the common boundary of adjoining lands or on a line other than the common boundary.
The Neighbourhood Disputes Resolution Act 2011 commenced on 1 November 2011.
This Act contains several changes from the repealed Dividing Fences Act 1953, including:
- 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- Other general changes from the repealed Dividing Fences Act 1953 include: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 to fencing contribution form: Notice to Contribute for 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
Erecting Boundary Fences
Before erecting a fence between yourself and your neighbour it is important to first discuss the type of fence, the cost and how it will be built with them (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.
Fencing Disputes – QCAT (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 http://www.qcat.qld.gov.au/ for more information about how to make an application involving a tree or dividing fence matter.
A building approval for a boundary fence will need to be obtained from a building certifier, if, the 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.
It is important to first 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 generally do not require Council approval. Care should be exercised when fencing corner blocks, so as not to create visibility problems for traffic using these streets.
Please contact Council’s Customer Service Centre for further information.