What To Do If You Have A Fence War With Your Neighbours?

October 5, 2021    propertylawyersperthwide
What To Do If You Have A Fence War With Your Neighbours?

One of the common disputes between two neighbours in Australia is the dispute over constructing a boundary fence. Sometimes, problems can be solved through mediation and peaceful agreement, while sometimes cases can be filed, which need to be settled in the courts.

There are various reasons behind a fencing dispute, and knowing them can be a significant factor in resolving problems. This blog will help you learn those reasons and the procedures you should follow to resolve the issues.

What Does The Law Say About A Fence?

A dividing fence is something that divides the lands of adjoining owners. A fence may be an embankment, a ditch, or a vegetative barrier. According to the laws of most Australian states, each owner has to share the cost of it. However, if one neighbour damages the fence or demands high-quality building material, they will have to pay the additional fees.

How Should you Approach Your Neighbour?

When one neighbour decides to build a new fence, it may signify a potential conflict. As per most state laws, if your neighbour has such an intention, you will need to send them a ‘notice to fence’.

However, experienced lawyers always recommend that you should first informally approach them. As you have been a long-term neighbour with them, you may sit for a polite discussion. You can share your views on constructing this new fence. If you feel repairing the fence will be enough, do not hesitate to tell your neighbour.

You can also present them with a fence quotation and ask them for their own fence quote. If your neighbour requests you to contribute to the construction, you have to be realistic and reasonable. If it is an investment property, you can get tax benefits for investing in fence construction.

What Are The Main Issues Behind The Arising Disputes Over The Construction Of A New Fence?

The main problem begins when the neighbour does not respond well to the initial approach. According to expert fencing dispute lawyers, disputes arise due to several issues, which are as follows.

  • One neighbour feels that a repair service for the current fence is enough, and there is no need to construct another one.
  • One neighbour blames the other for replacing the fence.
  • Both of them agree on constructing a new fence, but it is not affordable at the present situation for one or both of them.
  • Neighbours cannot agree on the position of the boundary.
  • Neighbours cannot reach an agreement on the height of the fence.
  • Disagreement also occurs on whether the front end should taper down for visibility or rake.
  • Another major issue is aesthetics. Sometimes, your neighbour may want to construct a large fence that you consider ugly.

If a neighbour ultimately rejects the informal negotiations, you will have no options left but to send them a ‘notice of fence,’ by post or personally.

What Legal Procedures Can You Choose In Case Of A Fence Dispute?

Legally, there are two options for you to choose – mediation and court case.

Mediation

If your neighbour does not want to reach an informal settlement and continues to object, you should first consider mediation. This procedure is designed to provide the clients with resolution outside the courts. In most Australian states, there is a mediation service. For example, Community Mediation Services or CMS is the mediation service of South Australia.

  • When you approach such a service, they will first ask you whether you have approached your neighbour or not. If you have not, they will either ask you to do that or write to the neighbour.
  • After that, they will organise the mediation in the closest offices.
  • The process usually runs for not more than two hours.
  • Two qualified mediators are given the responsibilities. They stay neutral and impartial.
  • As a client, you will also need to maintain ethics.

Court Case

If the problem is not solved by mediation, it needs to be presented at the court. In that case, it will take a much longer period as it involves more procedures. For court cases, you will need to hire a reputed professional. However, you should not forget the following points.

  • Court decisions may make the relationship between the two neighbours bitter.
  • The cost of constructing a new fence is usually high. Adding it to the legal proceedings’ fees, you will have to bear a significant amount of money.

Final Words

Neighbours are the people who can come at the earliest when you are in trouble. So, you should always try to clear disputes through personal discussions. If that doesn’t work, you have to hire lawyers. Property Lawyers Perth WA has been serving their clients for many years and thus can be the perfect option for help.

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