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LawAccess NSW > Representing Yourself > Fences > Building, fixing or replacing a fence?

Urgent fencing work

Sometimes when a fence has been damaged or destroyed it may be necessary to do urgent fencing work.

    ​What ​is urgent fencing work?

    Whether or not fencing work is urgent will depend on the specific situation that you and your neighbour are in. Fencing work may be urgent if:

    • ​it is needed to fix or replace part or all of a damaged or destroyed fence and
    • it is not practical to serve your neighbour with a Fencing Notice.

    For example, urgent fencing work may be needed to:

    • prevent stock loss (but is unlikely to be required to prevent a dog from leaving the yard, as a dog may be kept inside the house or in the yard by a temporary fence) or
    • where safety or security is an issue. 

    Alert IconIf you want to do urgent fencing work, you should get legal advice. Sometimes what you think is urgent may not be what the Local Court or the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) thinks is urgent.

    Can you claim half the costs?

    If you want to do fencing work and share the costs with your neighbour, you will usually need to serve (give) a Fencing Notice setting out the work you would like to do.

    If urgent fencing work is necessary, it is possible to do the work without notifying your neighbour and still claim half the costs. However, it must be impractical for you to serve a Fencing Notice, for example, because you need to act very quickly to secure your land.

    If the Local Court or the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) does not agree that the fencing work was urgent, your neighbour might not have to pay you half the costs. It is a good idea to try and talk to your neighbour first!

    Alert IconIf you want to claim the costs of urgent fencing work there must have been a dividing fence that was damaged or destroyed. You cannot claim the costs of urgent fencing work if there was previously no dividing fence.

    Hint iconKeep your receipts for the work carried out because you will need to prove how much it cost.

    How do you claim half the costs?

    If you have paid for urgent fencing work you should contact your neighbour as soon as possible and discuss how the fencing costs will be shared.

    If you and your neighbour reach an agreement you should put your agreement in writing. Without a written agreement it may be difficult to prove an agreement about who pays what.

    If you and your neighbour cannot reach an agreement, you can arrange mediation. At mediation, you can each discuss your concerns and try to reach an agreement. For more information, see Mediation.

    If you or your neighbour:

    • do not want to go to mediation or
    • went to mediation but could not reach an agreement

    you can make an application for an order that your neighbour pay you half the cost.

    You can apply to either the Local Court or the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT). For more information, see Fencing Orders.

    Alert IconYou must make your application within six years of the urgent fencing work being completed. Before making your application, you should get legal advice.

    How do you challenge being asked to pay half the costs?

    If your neighbour has done fencing work that they say was urgent and you disagree, it is possible to make an application to the Local Court or the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) to challenge the claim for costs.

    Alert iconYou must make an application within one month of the fencing work being completed. For more information, see Fencing Orders.

    Alert Icon​The Local Court or NCAT may allow you to make an application out of time, however it is best to file your application as soon as possible. Before making an application, you should get legal advice.

    People discussing broken fence