​ሕግንና ደንብን በተመለከተ እርዳታ ማግኘት ይፈልጋሉን? - Amharic | هل تحتاج لمساعدة قانونية؟ - Arabic | ܤܢܝܼܩܵܐ ܝ݇ܘ̤ܬ ܠܗܲܝܵܪܬܵܐ ܩܵܢܘܿܢܵܝܬܵܐ؟ - Assyrian | Need Legal Help? - Auslan | Treba li vam pravna pomoc? - Bosnian | Burmese â Need Legal Help? | 需要法律帮助吗? - Chinese Simplified | 需要法律幫助嗎? - Chinese Traditional | Trebate li pravnu pomoć? - Croatian | ضرورت به کمک قانونی دارید؟ - Dari | Wïc Kuɔɔny në Wɛ̈t Löŋ? - Dinka | آیا به کمک حقوقی نیاز دارید؟ - Farsi | Gadreva na Veivuke Vakalawa? - Fijian | Kailangan ninyo ba ng tulong na panglegal? - Filipino | Besoin d’aide juridique ? - French | Χρειάζεστε βοήθεια σε νομικά ζητήματα - Greek | क्या आपको कानूनी सलाह चाहिए? - Hindi | Butuhkan Bantuan dalam Masalah Hukum? - Indonesian | Hai bisogno di assistenza legale? - Italian | ត្រូវការជំនួយលើបញ្ហាផ្លូវច្បាប់ឬទេ? - Khmer | 법적인 도움이 필요하십니까? - Korean | Ви треба ли помош со правни работи? - Macedonian | कानूनी सहयोग चाहिएको छ? - Nepalese | Necessita de ajuda com questões jurídicas? - Portuguese | Вам нужна юридическая помощь? - Russian | E Manaomia Fesoasoani i Mea Tau Tulafono? - Samoan | а ли вам треба помоћ у правним питањима? - Serbian | Ma u baahan tahay Caawimmad xagga sharciga ah?- Somali | ¿Necesita ayuda con cuestiones jurídicas? - Spanish | சட்ட உதவி தேவையா? - Tamil | ท่านต้องการความช่วยเหลือทางด้านกฎหมายไหม? - Thai | Fiema’u ha tokoni Fakalao? - Tongan | Yasal Danışmaya İhtiyacınız mı var? - Turkish | Cần Được Giúp Đỡ Về Luật Pháp? - Vietnamese |

Department of Justice is now the Department of Communities and Justice.  Find out more >

Retaining walls​

Case study - Aleena and RajCase study icon

Aleena lives in the property next door to Raj. There is currently no fence separating the properties. A fencing contractor has told Aleena that a retaining wall needs to be built under the fence to support any dividing fence between the properties. Aleena would like to know if she can ask Raj to pay for half the cost of the retaining wall as well as the fence and whether she needs to get approval from her Local Council to build the retaining wall. 

You and your neighbour have a duty of care not to do anything to remove the support to the adjoining land. For example, you could be held liable for negligence if you carry out excavation work on your land which causes damage to your neighbour’s land. 

The cost of building, repairing or maintaining a retaining wall is not covered under the Dividing Fences Act unless the retaining wall is necessary for the support and maintenance of the dividing fence.


    What is a retaining wall?

    A retaining wall is a structure to support or hold back earth. A retaining wall is often found between properties where the ground is at different levels, and:

    • provides structural support for the higher property
    • maintains the surface of the higher property at its present level
    • forms an essential part of the higher property and
    • prevents the movement of land between the higher and lower properties.

    Who should pay?

    The cost of building, repairing or maintaining a retaining wall depends on whether the retaining wall is necessary for the support and maintenance of a dividing fence between your properties. 

    You should get an independent report from a structural engineer. You should also get legal advice.  

    If you have supporting evidence to prove that the wall is necessary for the support and maintenance of a dividing fence, you can negotiate with your neighbour and ask them to pay a contribution. You can try mediation at a Community Justice Centres (CJC), send a fencing notice and apply to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal if you can’t reach an agreement. 

    If the retaining wall does not support or maintain the dividing fence, you should get legal advice about your situation.

    Check with your local council before carrying out work on a retaining wall. You may need to apply for a Development Application. For more information, see Do I need approval?

    What if we can't reach an agreement?

     If you have a dispute about a retaining wall, you can try mediation at the Community Justice Centre (CJC). Mediation is an informal process, where an independent person (called a 'mediator') can help people resolve their dispute. 

    For more information, see Mediation

    The NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) will not hear any matters about retaining walls unless there is supporting evidence that the wall is necessary for the support and maintenance of a dividing fence. 

    Most disputes about retaining walls are heard in the Supreme Court of NSW. 

    Before you consider starting a claim, you should get legal advice about your situation as retaining wall disputes can be complex and expensive.


    ​​​​

    ​​