When you are thinking about the type of fence you want, you should consider:
A sufficient dividing fence is one that adequately separates your land from your neighbour's land. What is a 'sufficient dividing fence' in your particular situation will depend on many things, including:
If one neighbour wants a fence that is of a higher standard than what is considered a 'sufficient dividing fence', they will need to pay the extra amount for that fence.
You should contact your local council to find out about any restrictions on the kind of fence you can build. Many councils have rules about how high fences can be, and some councils have rules about the sorts of materials you can use (for example, in areas where there is a risk of bushfires, the council may not let you have a wooden fence).
You can find your local council's contact details at the Local Council Directory.
If you have a swimming pool, the fence that you build will need to comply with laws about swimming pool fences. For more information, see the 'Pool safety' page of the Water safety website.
If you are not sure whether there are laws that affect the type of fence that you and your neighbour can build, you should get legal advice.
Sometimes there may be limits on how you can use your land. One type of limit is called a covenant. For example, there may be a covenant that no structure will ever be built on a certain part of your land. A covenant may be noted on your Certificate of Title.
If you own a property where a covenant has been made, you must comply with that covenant unless the covenant is lifted (extinguished). This may affect what type of fence you and your neighbour can agree to.
If you have a covenant on your property, you should get legal advice.
An easement allows someone to use land that belongs to another person for a specific purpose. Common easements include easements for drainage and easements that provide a right of way.
An easement may affect what sort of fence you and your neighbour can build. For example, if you have a right to walk through your neighbour's property to reach the road, your neighbour should not build a fence that stops you from doing so.
If there is an easement on your property or your neighbour's property, you should get legal advice.
Another type of limit that might affect the type of fence you can build on your land is called a "restriction on user." A restriction on user may prohibit you or your neighbour from building a dividing fence or may say that you can only have a fence built out of certain types of material. A restriction on user will be recorded on the Certificate of Title for your property.
If there is a restriction on user on your property or on your neighbour's property, you should get legal advice.
The best type of fence to build is one that you and your neighbour agree on. As long as you do not breach council or other rules or any covenants, easements or restriction on users, you and your neighbour can agree to build the fence you want, even if this is different from what might be a sufficient dividing fence. Any agreement should be written down and signed by you and your neighbour.
For more information on how to come to an agreement and to put your agreement in writing, see Talk to your neighbour.
If you and your neighbour cannot agree on what type of fence should be built, the Local Court or the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) can make a decision about what would be a sufficient dividing fence. For more information on this process see Cannot agree? You should make sure that you do not enter your neighbour's property without their permission. If you need to enter your neighbour's land to build a fence and they will not give you access, you should get legal advice.
For answers to commonly asked questions, see Frequently Asked Questions.