Disputes over dividing fences between neighbours (adjoining land owners) are extremely common. It may therefore be of interest to many to know that the legislation in this area is currently undergoing change.
On 10 August 2011, the Neighbourhood Disputes Resolution Bill 2010 (QLD) received assent. The new Act repeals the existing Dividing Fence Act 1953 (QLD).
Although the new Act will not commence until a date to be fixed by proclamation, we take this opportunity to outline the more important aspects of the Act in relation to dividing fence disputes. We will provide further notification by way of blog once the new Act commences.
What will the new Act do?
The Act seeks to regulate the responsibilities of neighbours (adjoining land owners) with regard to both dividing fences and trees.
What is most important to note with regard to dividing fences?
The new Act provides that:
- Dividing fences are owned equally by owners of a common boundary;
- Even where land is vacant, in the event that one adjoining owner requests a dividing fence, there should be a “sufficient” dividing fence;
- Adjoining owners are equally responsible for the cost of a dividing fence (though extra will be payable by one owner if they request more work to be done that the minimum);
- Heights and fencing materials are prescribed;
- New forms are applicable, including a Notice to Contribute to Fencing Work; and
- QCAT (Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal) has jurisdiction to make orders with regard to dividing fence disputes.
If you are experiencing a neighbourhood fencing dispute, or require further information in this area, please contact Christine Martin on 1800 621 071.