Erecting or repairing a boundary fence between neighbouring properties is a common occurrence that can be made simple with the help of the Boundary Fences Act 1908 (the Act) and Boundary Fences Regulations 2018 available at www.thelaw.tas.gov.au. The Act details the requirements of the construction and repair of boundary fences. It also details the obligations of adjoining land owners.
Disclaimer: the following information is intended to help persons gain an understanding of boundary fencing issues and is a GUIDE ONLY. The information provided is not to be taken as legal advice.
Notice to fence or repair existing fence
If you want your neighbour to contribute to the cost of constructing or repairing a fence talk to them first to reach an agreement on the standard of fence and the sharing of costs. If an agreement cannot be reached, a last resort would be to serve a notice on them. To serve such a notice you can give it to your neighbour by handing it to him or her or send it in the mail. If you put up a fence or repair one without serving the proper notice on your neighbour or without any verbal or written agreement between you, your neighbour cannot be made to contribute to the cost.
The forms used for giving your neighbour notice to erect a fence (Form 1) or to repair a fence (Form 2) are found in Schedule 1 of the Boundary Fences Regulations 2018.
The following fences do not require a permit from Council:
• Non-masonry fences (e.g. timber or aluminium) not exceeding 2.1 metres in height above natural ground level.
• Masonry fences (e.g. brick or concrete) not exceeding 1.2 metres in height above natural ground level.
Fences higher than those listed above may be constructed if a building permit is provided by Council. In this situation an appointment should be arranged with Council's Building Department for clarification of the process/procedure.
Frequently asked Questions
Q: Can Council assist in boundary fencing issues?
A: No. Boundary fencing is a civil matter. Council does not have civil powers or enforce the Act. Any enquiries should be directed to the Boundary Fences Act Legal Advice Service on 1300 366 611. However by completing a Request for Contact form (79KB) Council can help put you in touch with your neighbour if you do not know how to contact them.
Q: Does Council share the cost of boundary fencing with adjoining property owners?
A: No, except where non-public land owned by Council adjoins other privately-owned land. Council receives many requests regarding boundary fencing between council reserves and public open space and resident owned land. Council does not contribute with materials or monetary value to boundary fences adjoining council property. This is a policy of council and is consistent with the Boundary Fences Act 1908. Under section 6 of this Act council is not required to make any contribution to the cost of fencing properties that adjoin public reserves.
Q: Can the fence including supports be placed centrally along the property boundary?
A: Generally this is the case for side boundaries where the adjoining property is privately owned and the cost of construction and maintenance is shared between the property owners. In the case of boundaries to roads or parkland, the entire fence including retaining walls should be fully contained within the private property. Non compliance is considered illegal occupation of Crown/Council land and may be subject to removal.