Fence Disputes

A shared fence is considered to be part of the land on each side, therefore neighbours have equal say in any changes to the fence and boundary.

Fences that are shared between neighbours can sometimes cause disputes or hinder relationships. A shared fence is considered to be part of the land on each side, therefore neighbours have equal say in any changes to the fence and boundary.

If you want to replace, build or alter a fence that is shared between neighbours, you must get approval from your neighbour or obtain a court order. Legally, your neighbour is a joint owner of the boundary line and has a right to object to any work you do, provided they have a valid reason.

Generally, both parties are required to contribute to the costs of replacing, building or altering a fence if the work will benefit both neighbours. If both parties agree, it is recommended that a written agreement be prepared and signed by both people before commencing any work.

If one neighbour refuses, you can pursue the issue through mediation or the courts. Mediation is generally quicker and cheaper, but if this is unsuccessful, you can follow the procedures outlined in the Fences Act 1975, which includes issuing a notice of intention. For more information, see the Law Services Commission of SA's fences guide called ‘Fences and the Law'.

These are just some brief tips in dealing with fencing issues. Contact your local council or other legal bodies if you require more detailed information.

To assist consumers with real estate queries, REISA operates a free information service – REISA Query Connect on free call 1800 804 365, between the hours of 9.00am to 4.00pm each weekday. This service is staffed by knowledgeable real estate professionals with many years of practical experience.

Back