What Is A Sufficient Dividing Fence in NSW?

Building or Replacing A Dividing Fence

What is a sufficient dividing fence?

This is a question asked by many property owners in NSW. It’s because disagreements over dividing fences can often cause friction between neighbours. Generally, the basic principle under The Dividing Fences Act 1991 (NSW) states that, as adjoining owners, you are required to equally share the cost of a “sufficient dividing fence”.

When a dividing fenc​e needs to be built, repaired or replaced, there are a number of things that you may need to consider. Fencing work usually means the design, construction, replacement or maintenance of the whole or part of a dividing fence, as well as the surveying and preparation of land along the common boundary between the neighbouring properties.

Cost Sharing For A New Fence

As an adjoining owner, you may be responsible to contribute to the carrying out of work that results in the provision of a sufficient dividing fence.

Should your neighbour disagree about the kind of fencing that is to be built, then you can try to have the dispute resolved through mediation.

In any proceedings under this Act, the Local Court or the Civil and Administrative Tribunal will consider the circumstances of the case when determining the standard for a sufficient dividing fence, including the type existing dividing fence, if any, the uses of adjoining properties and the owner’s privacy concerns.

Serve A Fence Notice

In NSW The Dividing Fences Act 1991 requires you to serve a fencing notice to your neighboring property owner before building or replacing a boundary fence. In fact, building a new fence without an agreement in place may mean there is no obligation for your neighbour to contribute towards the cost.

Do I Need Development Approval?

Not all dividing fences need development approval from Council. Your proposed fence may be Exempt Development. If your new fence is not exempt, you will need to lodge an application for development approval or a complying development certificate (CDC) from a private certifier.

View the legislation for dividing fences between neighbouring properties.