The Victorian Fences Act 1968 was amended in 2014 to clarify rights and obligations of neighbours pertaining to the construction of dividing fences between properties. These are:
- The ‘owner‘ is now liable and responsible; not the ‘occupier’
- Prior ‘agreement’ between neighbours about a fence can take precedence over the law in limited specified circumstances
- What is ‘sufficient’ in determining the type of fence to be constructed must take into account:
- any existing fence
- reasonable privacy concerns
- purpose for which properties are used or intended to be used
- relevant local Council policy or codes.
- Greater requirements for giving formal ‘Notice’
- Extension to the meaning of a ‘Give and Take’ fence
- Expanded powers to the Magistrates’ Court to make orders about disputes.
If you want a new fence adjoining your neighbor’s property, do all you can to discuss it with them to try and negotiate an agreement so your ongoing relationship is not damaged. However, if that doesn’t work, you will require a Fencing Notice that complies with the law and it is important that it is complete and accurate.