A dividing fence separates the land of two different owners. A dividing fence can be on the common boundary of adjoining lands or on a line other than a common boundary. A dividing fence does not include a retaining wall.
In the 'Dividing Fences Guide', from DMIRS - Department of Building and Energy, it’s recommended that you negotiate with your neighbour when it comes to repair, maintenance or installation of a new dividing fence. The Guide states:
Although informal discussions are okay, it is better to have agreements in writing. This clears any ambiguity and clarifies any point of difference. It can also be used later to show what has been agreed if the matter comes before mediation, arbitration or the courts.
Note that agreements between owners with regard to the cost of erecting or repairing a dividing fence override the Act. It is in both neighbours’ interests to attempt to resolve dividing fences matters in a courteous and friendly manner.
There are many steps that can be taken to reach agreement with a neighbour including:
- Sharing guidance on the Dividing Fences Act 1961
- Explaining why you are seeking to renew or repair the fence, for example to provide a barrier for a pool.
- Understanding your neighbour has a right to protect their property and animals especially during construction.
- Considering a longer time to pay or a payment plan because your neighbour may be concerned about their capacity to pay.
In all instances, all fencing materials must comply with the City of Kwinana Fencing Local Law.