Understanding the provisions of the Fences Act is important for residents of Victoria who wish to keep boundary disputes with their neighbours at bay. Here are answers to three common questions about dividing fences for the benefit of those living in this part of Australia.
Must Dividing Fences Be Installed Along The Common Property Boundary?
In the ideal situation, a dividing fence should be located along the common property boundary between neighbouring houses. However, there are exceptions to this.
The first exception refers to a situation in which two neighbours agree not to locate the fence on the common boundary so as not to jeopardize chances of either of them using the land in accordance with their earlier intentions.
The dividing fence may also be located away from the common property boundary in the event that there are obstructions along this location. An example of an obstruction is a waterway that passes through the common boundary.
What Happens When There's A Dispute About The Common Boundary?
If a dividing fence is to be installed on the common boundary between two adjacent properties, affected neighbours should be in full agreement with regards to the location of this boundary.
Should this not be the case, the intended installation of a dividing fence must be halted until an agreement on the common boundary is reached. In a large number of cases, reaching the mentioned agreement involves enlisting the services of a licensed surveyor who will help to clearly define the common boundary.
Neighbours are expected to make an equal contribution towards the cost of hiring a licensed surveyor in the event of a dispute with regards to the common boundary.
What Happens When Repairs To A Dividing Fence Are To Be Made?
When the time comes for dividing fences to be repaired or replaced, neighbours are expected to reach an agreement on the fencing material to be used, the fencing contractor to be trusted with the job and the settling of repair-related costs.
Under normal circumstances, neighbours are supposed to contribute an equal amount towards the cost of repairs. However, in the event that one neighbour would like to have a fence that is of a higher standard than what would be considered sufficient, the other neighbour cannot be forced to pay for the extra cost of repairs. For example, if one neighbour would like the new fence to be made of a different material that is more expensive, he or she should pay for the extra cost of the fencing material.