How to Handle a Neighbour Who Doesn't Want a Fence: 5 Tips for Peaceful Resolution to Avoid a Dispute
One of our most common questions (aside from "Do I need a permit for my fence?" is "do I need permission from my neighbour to build a fence"?.
Neighbourly disputes are not uncommon, unfortunately, but thankfully there is pretty clear legislation that makes sure you can protect your property with a boundary fence. Mornington Peninsula Fences has seen fence disputes in every suburb from Portsea Fences and Sorrento Fences at the pointy end as well as Fences in Rye and Brighton Fences.
In Victoria, which of course includes on the Mornington Peninsula and Melbourne - the areas Mornington Peninsula Fences services - if your neighbour does not want a fence, you can follow these steps:
Check local regulations: Familiarize yourself with the fencing regulations in Victoria. The Fences Act 1968 is the legislation that governs fencing matters in the state. It outlines the rights and obligations of property owners regarding the construction, repair, and maintenance of fences.
Serve a Notice to Fence: According to the Fences Act 1968, you can serve a Notice to Fence to your neighbour. This document officially requests your neighbour to contribute to the cost of constructing or repairing a fence between the properties. The Notice to Fence must include details such as the type of fence, materials to be used, and an estimate of the cost.
Negotiation and mediation: After serving the Notice to Fence, you should engage in negotiation with your neighbour. Try to find a mutually agreeable solution, taking into account factors like cost, materials, and design. If you cannot reach an agreement, you can suggest mediation. The Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria provides free mediation services to help resolve disputes.
Local council assistance: If negotiation and mediation are unsuccessful, you can seek assistance from your local council. Some councils have fencing guidelines or dispute resolution services to help resolve conflicts between neighbours. Contact your local council to inquire about any resources or assistance they may offer.
Legal action: As a last resort, you can take legal action through the Magistrates' Court of Victoria. This would involve filing an application to the court, which will assess the case and make a decision based on the Fences Act 1968 and any other relevant factors.
If you still can’t get a resolution it is recommended to seek legal advice from a solicitor or lawyer who specializes in property law to understand your rights and obligations under the Fences Act and to guide you through the process specific to your situation in Victoria.
Of course Mornington Peninsula Fences is happy to help guide you if you use us to build a Mornington Peninsula Fence or Melbourne Fence as we’ve seen our fair share of fence disputes and there is usually a good resolution for everyone involved.