Often people find themselves unable to agree on a fencing issue with their neighbour. Whether you want to undertake repairs, or your neighbour wants to upgrade the whole fence, if you and your neighbour are having a fencing dispute, the most sensible thing to do is to try and first discuss the issues with your neighbour. It’s not a smart idea to simply rush to the Courts to seek their intervention.
What if I can’t reach an agreement with my neighbour?
If you cannot reach an agreement with your neighbour after all reasonable attempts, you could try meditation. Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution where the parties sit down with a mediator to see if they can reach an agreement.
If that fails, you should send your neighbour a written notice setting out the fencing works proposed by you. This is known as a Fencing Notice, which is a formal written notice telling your neighbour that you plan on building, fixing or replacing a fence, and asks them to contribute to the costs.
I have served a Fencing Notice, but I haven’t heard back from my neighbour?
If after a month has lapsed since sending a Fencing Notice, and you and your neighbour are still unable to agree or you have received no response, then either of you can apply to the Local Court of the NSW Civil or the Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) for a Fencing Order relating to the proposed fencing works.
What is a Fencing Order?
A Fencing Order is an order made by either NCAT or the Local Court about what fencing work must be done, and can cover the following:
- What materials the fence should be made of;
- How high the fence should sit;
- Where and when the fence should be built;
- How the costs of the fencing works will be divided between neighbours.
NCAT or the Local Court?
NCAT, being a tribunal, is generally a cheaper, and quicker alternative than going to Court. NCAT aims to resolve disputes in 4 weeks, whereas the Local Court times may vary depending on availability.
There are various factors which you should consider when deciding whether to make the application through NCAT or the Local Court. For more information, speak to Rockliffs!
Who normally pays for the costs of a fence or repairs?
Normally, you and the neighbour will have to share the costs of erecting the fence equally as well as sharing equally the cost of repairs to any fence between your properties.
If the fence, however, was damaged because either you or your neighbour was careless, then the responsible party must pay for the repairs. Once again, if an agreement cannot be reached as to who is responsible for the repair work, an application can be made to NCAT or the Local Court to determine who is responsible for payment of the repairs.
For more information or advice concerning fencing disputes with your neighbour, contact the experienced legal team at Rockliffs Lawyers today.