We’ve all heard the saying “great fences make great neighbours”. Here is complete information on property fencing – everything you need to know.
Moving into a home is supposed to be a dream come true. Unfortunately, you can’t pick your neighbours, but you can engage a Licenced Conveyancer that will help you make sense of your fencing situation and plan for the long term.
- Fences not installed exactly on boundaries (i.e. encroachment)
- Damage to fences
- Neighbour using fences inappropriately (i.e. as a retaining wall)
- Construction of new fences
- Adhering to swimming pool & local council standards
The best course of action! for property fencing
If you are considering buying a property, ensure you have the assistance of an experienced Conveyancer. If you have any concerns about the condition or location of the property fencing advise your Conveyancer straight away so the adequate steps can be taken.
Your Conveyancer can request for a condition in the Contract of Sale for the fence problem to be rectified by the vendor prior to settlement.
Identification Survey Report
An identification survey report is a legal document which determines the boundary of a property. Identification survey reports are usually produced by a private surveyor who is registered with the respective land registry.
The outcome of these reports is a written report and property illustration that may be kept on file by the respective land registrar and may be utilised by other state departments (i.e. the Board of Surveying and Spatial Information of NSW).
- Measurements of the property and lot numbers
- Distance between buildings and property boundaries (standards are set by the local council)
- Neighbouring structures (i.e. guttering, carports)
It is not mandatory for the vendor to obtain a survey report prior to selling the property.
It is also not mandatory for the buyer to obtain an identification survey report prior to buying. However, it is highly recommended that buyers obtain this report or alternatively obtain Stewart Title Insurance.
Identification survey reports may also be used to resolve property fencing disputes.
Stewart Title Insurance
Alternatively, your Conveyancer may recommend you obtain what is referred to as Stewart Title Insurance. This is insurance over the title of the property and can cover you for any boundary disputes amongst other things, which may arise in the future. Further information can be found here https://www.stewartau.com/.
Resolving property fencing disputes
Ideally, the fences between properties are located exactly on the shared boundary.
If you are considering buying a property which is being encroached by a neighboring fence (as found in the identification survey report), it is advised to have the vendor approach the neighbour to resolve the issue in a sensible manner. People should be mindful of their long term options for the property and relationships with their neighbours.
If you have already purchased a property and discovered issues relating to the property boundaries, ideally, you can resolve this directly with your neighbour and produce an agreement in writing. Law Access NSW has resources to help guide people negotiate with their neighbours.
Constructing new fences
The Dividing Fences Act 1991 legislation was created to guide Australians towards a mutually beneficial solution for all property fencing related matters (including repairs, standards, liabilities etc).
If there is an existing fence that is ‘sufficient’, it is unlikely the neighbours will share the cost of a new fence.
If there is no fence, or the existing fence is not ‘sufficient’, it is likely the neighbours will share the cost of a new fence. Part 2, Section 7 states “Adjoining owners are liable to contribute in equal proportions to the carrying out of fencing work in respect of a dividing fence of a standard not greater than the standard for a sufficient dividing fence.”
The challenge usually lies with reaching an agreement on what material shall be used, not so much the cost-sharing situation.
There are many other variable situations, from negligence resulting in damage, to urgent works being required or exceeding standard requirements.
If people find themselves in a challenging situation, they can seek help from a legal advisory or even engage private legal representation to assist them.
Fences can cause an array of problems for adjoining property owners. Before purchasing a property, ensure your Conveyancer performs thorough groundwork on the property so you can avoid problems before they surface.
Hunter Legal & Conveyancing is here to help
- Free Contract reviews
- We organise Identification Survey Reports and Stewart Title insurance for your convenience
- Fixed price Conveyancing
- Our senior Conveyancers possess over 25 years in the industry
- Dispute resolution
- Assisting purchasers and sellers NSW wide.
Please use our contact page to get in touch or call 1300 224 828 anytime.