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LawAccess NSW > Representing Yourself

Building, fixing or replacing a fence? 

When a dividing fenc​e needs to be built, fixed, or replaced, there are a number of things that you should consider:

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    Case study - Samah and BurtCase study icon

    Samah and Burt have been neighbours for some time. The fence dividing their properties is 75cm tall and in good condition. Samah and her partner would like a taller fence to improve the privacy and security of their backyard. Samah has tried to talk to Burt about gettin​g a new taller fence, but Burt is happy with the existing fence.​

    Who should pay?

    Normally you and your neighbour must equally share the cost of:

    • building a dividing fence where there is not one
    • repairing or replacing a dividing fence where the original fence has been damaged, destroyed or has deteriorated
    • repairing or replacing a dividing fence that is not a "sufficient" dividing fence.

    In some situations, costs may not have to be shared equally, for example, where a neighbour wants a dividing fence that is of a greater standard than what is "sufficient", or where the fence was damaged or destroyed by one neighbour.

    For more information, see Who should pay?

    What type of fence?

    When a dividing fence needs to be built or replaced, the type of fence that is chosen will depend on:

    • what you and your neighbour agree to
    • what local council or legal requirements apply in your area
    • any limits that apply to your land, like an easement, covenant or restriction on user
    • what will be a 'sufficient dividing fence' in your situation.

    For more information, see What type of fence?

    Where should the fence go?

    A dividing fence will usually go on the boundary lin​e between two neighbouring properties. However, sometimes this will not be possible because:

    • a fence cannot be built on the boundary line (for example because a river runs through the boundary)
    • it is not clear where the boundary line is.

    For more information, see Where should the fence go?

    Is the fencing work urgent?

    If you or your neighbour urgently need to fix or replace a fence, it may be possible to do the work without a Fencing Order and then claim costs.

    For more information, see Urgent fencing work.

    For answers to commonly asked questions, see Frequently Asked Questions​.​​​

    Men shaking hands over fence