Dividing fences

Consumer and Commercial Division

A dividing fence dispute is a disagreement between neighbours about a fence or proposed fence that separates neighbouring properties. A dividing fence is usually located on the common boundary between the two properties.

If you and your neighbour cannot agree on fencing work, you can apply to NCAT to make orders and resolve the dispute.

Dispute resolution process 

Step 1: Fencing Notice

A Fencing Notice is the first step in the process before applying to NCAT for an order about fencing work.  Visit the LawAccess NSW website for detailed information on Fencin​g Notices.

Step 2: Application to NCAT

If you and your neighbour have not reached an agreement one month after the Fencing Notice is sent, you can lodge an application to NCAT.

PDF icon  Download a Dividing Fences Application Form [PDF, 225kB]

Applications must be lodged with the appropriate fee. Find out our current fees and charges.

NCAT will send you and your neighbour a Notice of Conciliation and Hearing with the date, time and location at which the matter will be heard.  Dividing fence applications are listed for hearing within 4 weeks.

Step 3: Conciliation

When you arrive at NCAT for the hearing you will be asked to attempt conciliation.  Conciliation is an alternative dispute resolution process used by NCAT to help parties settle the dispute.  Learn more about conciliation.

Step 4: Hearing

At the hearing the matter will be heard and determined by a Tribunal Member.  If you reach agreement in conciliation, your agreement is formalised into an NCAT order.  Otherwise you and your neighbour will present your evidence to the Tribunal Member.  The Member will make a determination and final orders.  Learn more about going to the hearing.

Step 5: Final orders

Final orders made by NCAT are binding and enforceable.  Learn more about orders and enforcement.

Orders 

NCAT can make orders about dividing fence disputes under the Dividing Fences Act 1991​.  The Tribunal's order can cover:

  • What the fence should be made of
  • How high the fence should be
  • Where the fence should be built
  • When the fence should be built
  • How the costs of the fencing work should be divided between you and your neighbour.

Definitions 

Definitions of terms used in the Dividing Fences Act 1991.

Adjoining owners
The owners of land on either side of a common boundary

Dividing fence
A fence separating the land of adjoining owners, whether on the common boundary of adjoining lands or on a line other than the common boundary.

Fence
A structure, ditch or embankment, or a hedge or similar vegetative barrier enclosing or bounding land, whether or not continuous or extending along the whole of the boundary separating the land of adjoining owners.

Fencing work
The design, construction, replacement, repair or maintenance of the whole or part of a dividing fence.

2014-09-24
 

Quick links

Dividing Fences Act 1991

Forms         

Fees and charges            

How to resolve your matter

Useful contacts

LawAccess NSW              

​​NSW State Library - Find Legal Answers

Community Justice Centres


Does NCAT have jurisdiction?

NCAT can only hear matters where legislation gives it the power to do so. To decide whether your matter can be dealt with by NCAT, view the list of legislation which gives this Division jurisdiction.

If you are thinking about lodging a claim in the Consumer and Commercial Division and both you and the other party are natural persons (not a company or government agency) and one of you is a permanent resident of a State other than NSW, NCAT may not be able to decide your case.

Before lodging any claim, you should contact LawAccess NSW or get other legal advice.