Boundary Fences

Fencing of property adjoining Public land.

Owners of land abutting Council owned land, may seek financial assistance in the construction of a fence on the common boundary.  Upon receipt of a completed Application, an inspection will be made to ensure that the fencing work is necessary.  Subject to the result of the inspection, the Applicant will be notified of the conditions under which the Council will contribute, and of the proposed amount.

More information can be found in Council's Policy: C14 Boundary Fence Contribution - Public Reserves

Fencing between Private Properties

Disputes between neighbours

Neighbours do not always see eye to eye. From time to time a problem will arise which needs to be resolved. These problems can be varied and putting up or repairing a fence between properties is a common one. These types of problems can be sorted out if the neighbours concerned are willing and know how to go about it.

The Boundary Fences Act and You

The Boundary Fences Act 1908 tells us what the law is in Tasmania for erecting and repairing boundary fences.

The Act will not apply to you if:

  • your property or the other property concerned is unoccupied Crown land,
  • a public reserve,
  • land owned by the Forestry Commission,
  • land in a subdivision which has not yet been sold separately, or
  • you are simply renting the property concerned. It is usually the owner of the property who is responsible for erecting or repairing a boundary fence, not the tenant.

If properties side by side are not divided by a sufficient or rabbit-proof fence, or the fence needs repairing, the Act states that the neighbours shall be legally bound to erect or repair the fence.

Defining a sufficient fence

In rural areas, a sufficient fence is a fence which can keep livestock in or out. Where the fence is in a city or town, or next to another home, then it means a fence which the neighbours have agreed on or is usual for the area. A boundary fence must be along the boundary line. Where the boundary is uncertain because it is a river, creek, lake, pond, or is rocky land the neighbours can agree on the line the fence should take.

How to request your neighbour help out

If you want to put up or repair a boundary fence and want your neighbour to help out with the cost, you must serve a notice on them to erect a fence or repair a fence before works start. To serve such a notice you can give it to your neighbour by handing it to him or her, or sending it by mail. If you put up a fence or repair a fence without serving either of these notices on your neighbours, they do not have to help out with the cost.

If your neighbour does not agree

If your neighbours do not agree with your proposals for erecting or repairing a fence, they can object. To do this they must put the objection in writing and serve it on you within 21 days of having received your notice. If after 30 days you have not received an objection from your neighbour, you can go ahead and erect or repair the fence and recover half the cost from your neighbour. If an objection has been made and you cannot resolve the dispute you should both meet with a mediator to solve the issue.

Going onto your neighbour's property

If there is no possible way to erect or repair the fence from your own side of the boundary, then you can go onto your neighbour's land but only at reasonable times. If your neighbour's land is a crop, garden, orchard, plantation or shrubbery, then you must get their permission first. If you damage your neighbour's property while doing the work, either on purpose or if you did not take care, then you may be bound to pay compensation to your neighbour for the damage caused.