New fencing laws came into operation in September 2014; the Fences Amendment Act 2014 (Vic) (“FAA”) updated and amended the Fences Act 1968. The main changes made by the FAA are:
- One simplified process for all fencing and subsidiary work involving the construction of a new dividing fence or the repair of an existing dividing fence.
- Liability for undertaking fencing works and contribution to the costs of fencing works has shifted in most cases from the occupier to the owner of the land.
- Further guidance as to what constitutes a sufficient dividing fence.
- Where agreement has not been reached between owners, ultimately an owner must generally give notice to an adjoining owner before commencing work even if they did not want a financial contribution to the fencing works from their neighbour.
- Provisions as to urgent fencing works including subsequent notice requirements.
- Broader powers to the Magistrates’ Court as to orders in dispute.
- A process for the resolution of boundary disputes in the context of fencing works including provision for issuing a boundary survey notice.
- Clarification of the Magistrates’ Court’s power to hear and determine adverse possession claims that arise in the context of fencing disputes.
- Extension of the application of ‘give and take’ fences.
- General rules as to placement of fence rails and framing.
We strongly recommend that you seek legal advice before serving a fencing notice or taking any other legal steps.
For more information please contact our friendly and professional team at Peter Speakman & Co on 9822 8611.