What can QCAT make an order about?
- The common boundary or line for the fence;
- The kind of fence;
- The contributions each owner must make;
- Time for work to be carried out; and
- Circumstances where a fence is not required.
General rules about fences
Fence is defined in section 11 of the Act.
Generally, neighbours must contribute equally to costs to build and maintain a dividing fence. A dividing fence is generally a fence on the common boundary of adjoining lands and is owned equally by the adjoining owners.
A fence separating the land of adjoining owners constructed on a line other than the common boundary is also a dividing fence if:
(a) It is impracticable to construct a fence entirely on the common boundary of the adjoining lands because of the natural physical features; or
(b) The adjoining land includes one or more parcels of pastoral land separated by a watercourse, lake, or other natural or artificial feature insufficient to stop the passage of stock at all times.
I do not want a fence built on my property but I have heard that it is illegal not to have one on the boundary line, is that true?
No, there are circumstances where you do not need a dividing fence:-
- If both neighbours agree;
- Where the land is outside of the scope of the Act such as a stock route;
- Where the parcels of land are agricultural; and
- Where there is no owner of the land.
My neighbour wants to have a fence built between us; do I have to pay for this?
Adjoining owners are generally equally financially liable to have a dividing fence built on the property. However, there are circumstances where this may not be the case. If you are not sure about your legal rights we suggest you contact a lawyer to find out whether in your case you are required to contribute to the costs of a fence.
I am happy with a basic chain fence but my neighbour wants an iron fence with decorative features. This is too expensive, can I say no?
An adjoining owner who wants to carry out fencing work for a dividing fence to a standard greater than the standard for a sufficient dividing fence is liable for the fencing work to the extent that it is greater than the standard for a sufficient dividing fence.
I want to have a fence built but my neighbour is very unfriendly, how do I action this?
You should give your neighbour notice to contribute to fencing work. This should state the land where the fence would be built, the type of fencing, an estimate of costs, and it should also contain at least one quote for the works to be done.
The owner giving the notice may propose that any cost of the fencing work to be carried out is to be borne other than in equal proportions.
If, within one month after the notice is given, the adjoining owners have not agreed about the proposed fencing work to be carried out and their contributions to the proposed fencing work, either adjoining owner may, within two months after the notice is given, apply to QCAT for an order under section 35 of the Act.
I am leasing a property, am I liable to pay for an adjoining fence?
A tenant for a lease less than five years is not liable to contribute to the costs of carrying out fence work. The owner will remain liable until the lease is for five years or more. The tenant will then become liable at a percentage, which increases with the length of the lease.
I ran into the dividing fence on my property, destroying a section of it. Can I make my neighbour share the repair costs?
Where an owner, or guest of the owner, destroys or damages the dividing fence, by negligence or accident, they will bear the costs for repairs. The owner responsible must restore the fence to the condition it was in before the damage (section 26 of the Act).
My neighbour has nailed a giant display sign on our fence, can they do that?
An owner must not attach a thing that materially alters or damages a dividing fence without the consent of the adjoining owner.
My neighbour and I cannot agree where the common boundary is to build the fence, how do we resolve this?
An owner can give the adjoining owner notice that they are engaging a surveyor to define a common boundary. If the notice is given one month in advance both owners may be liable for half the costs of obtaining a surveyor.
If an adjoining owner is given the notice, the adjoining owner may, within one month after the notice is given:
(a) have the common boundary defined by a cadastral surveyor engaged by the adjoining owner and give the owner written advice of the common boundary as defined by the cadastral surveyor; or
(b) give the owner written advice of the common boundary as defined by the adjoining owner if the adjoining owner is satisfied of the accurate position of the common boundary.
However, if the common boundary defined by a cadastral surveyor engaged by the owner is in about the same position as the position defined by the adjoining owner in the advice, the adjoining owner is not liable for any of the reasonable cost of engaging the cadastral surveyor.
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