19 Mar 2019 published by: Dan Wiley
Building a fence is often about getting your privacy back, whether that is being able to open curtains that are always closed, or being able to enjoy seclusion in your own backyard. The most common question that I get asked is “how tall can you go?” Assuming you would like to avoid the need for development approval, the short answer for residential fences is:
There are additional rules to consider regarding the height, location and materials of your proposed fence. Generally, fences do not need development approval (known as development exempt) if they meet the standards set out in the relevant State or Territory planning policy.
For information on neighbours’ responsibilities regarding building and maintaining shared fences, see my blog post Good Fences Make Good Neighbours.
Australian Capital Territory (ACT)
In the ACT, fences and freestanding walls can be development exempt if they meet the Planning and Development Regulation 2008. Important provisions of this regulation include:
For more information see the:
New South Wales (NSW)
In NSW, fences may be development exempt if they meet the relevant parts of the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008. Important provisions of this legislation include:
For more information see the:
10 Feb 2019 published by: Dan Wiley
Building a fence between you and your neighbour opens up a dialog, and a business relationship, between you and someone you might not know well, or normally speak with. Unexpectedly, building a barrier between you and your neighbour can be a way to build a great relationship. However, it can also be challenging to reach agreement. Good communication is essential and always be willing to compromise.
Each State and Territory has different laws regulating neighbours’ responsibilities towards dividing fences. The relevant legislation includes:
The DFA and CBA have similar goals and are designed to settle the contentious aspects of sharing a fence, such as:
Generally, in the Australian Capital Territory, neighbours who share fences are each responsible for half the cost and maintenance of a “basic urban fence” - a 1.5 metre hardwood paling fence. In New South Wales, neighbours are generally responsible for half the cost and maintenance of a “sufficient dividing fence”, which does not have a single definition and is determined considering circumstances such as the existing dividing fence (if any) and the kind of fence usually used in the locality.
Nothing in the DFA or CBA prevents neighbours coming to their own agreement about a fence. For example, neighbours may agree that one owner will pay the whole cost, or may agree to build a fence that exceeds the minimum requirements set out in the relevant Act. But, to avoid the need for development approval, the proposed fence must satisfy the State or Territory planning regulations.
page 1 of 1