Department of Housing & Works - Dividing Fences

This Weeks Episode of Home in WA

Contact:
Department of Housing and Works - Dividing Fences Section

Website:
http://www.dhw.wa.gov.au/193_359.asp

Phone:
(08) 9440 2290

Fax:
(08) 9222 4979

Address:
99 Plain Street
Perth WA 6004

If you're a property owner, one area that can cause a strained relationship between you and your neighbour, is the fence that divides the two properties. A dividing fence is a fence that separates the land of different owners, but does not include structures built up to a boundary line, such as retaining walls or walls of houses.

The general rule is that owners of adjoining land are each required to pay half the cost of erecting or repairing what is called a "sufficient fence" between their properties.
If you want to have a dividing fence of a higher standard than a sufficient fence without obtaining the agreement of the adjoining owner, you may only claim half the cost of erecting and maintaining a sufficient fence.

A sufficient fence is the minimum standard fence that will make an adequate barrier, and which complies with any local laws or town planning requirements.
You don't need an agreement if you want to erect the fence entirely at your own expense, but you do forego any right to contribution under the Act.

If you want to claim a contribution for the cost of erecting the fence and you can't agree, there must be a court order in place before the erection of the fence.

If your fence has been damaged by a neighbor, as a general rule, each of the adjoining owners must pay half the cost of repairs. However the Dividing Fences Act, provides for specific situations when one owner who is 'at fault' pays the lot.

Fences can be a very prickly subject. The Department of Housing and Works has produced a booklet which is intended to help you understand your rights and obligations under the Dividing Fences Act.