A goal for many people is to own their own home; their own block of land that they can be proud of. Usually, this involves neighbours which is often a good thing. Unfortunately, a disagreement can arise with your neighbour over those tricky things that divide your property from your neighbours.
Fencing Dispute Generally
The Neighbourhood Disputes (Dividing Fences and Trees) Act 2011 (“the Act”) describes a specific process of resolving disputes between neighbours for dividing fences (but also tree disputes).
Generally, fencing disputes may encompass:
- the boundary line of the properties;
- the sufficiency of any existing fence;
- the type of dividing fence; and
- the contributions payable by each owner.
It is worthwhile bearing in mind that a fence that is not on the boundary line, is not usually considered a “dividing fence”.
Attempt to Resolve the Dispute Informally
The act encourages resolving disputes informally. This may be by:
- discussing your concerns with your neighbour verbally;
- sending your neighbour a letter; or
- service of Notice under the Act.
If you and your neighbour fail to resolve any disagreement in this manner you can rely upon the Act’s provisions to guide you. You must obtain a quote from a fencing contractor prior to service of the required Notice.
Ways of resolving
After service of the Notice under the Act your neighbour has one (1) month to respond. If they fail to deal with the matter to your satisfaction, you may be in a position to file an Application in the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal in the following one (1) month period. If you fail to do so you will be required to “re-serve” the Notice.
After commencing an application in QCAT, your matter will usually be listed for a mediation and then, if that fails to resolve the matter with your neighbour, a final hearing to finalise the areas of dispute.
You should be aware that, as QCAT is a self-represented jurisdiction, your lawyer may be unable to appear on your behalf.
Whether you have a clothesline out the back, or a verandah out the front, the team at WGC Lawyers can assist you with resolving your fencing issues. We can provide preliminary advice to assist discussions with your neighbour, a comprehensive advice dealing with the matter up to and inclusive of hearing or possibly appear on your behalf.