The issue of fence repair can be complicated when you are not the one living in your property or the fence itself is on the property line. Making sure the right person is paying for the repair or replacement of a dividing fence or knowing when your tenant is liable and not you can make all the difference and avoid costly mistakes.
Dealing with Dividing Fences
Generally any damage caused to your dividing fence is shared between the 2 property owners and this makes sense. It doesn’t matter if you are an owner-occupier or an investor with tenants, any fence that borders the property line is the responsibility of both. There is even a set of laws for this situation which is appropriately named the Dividing Fences Act.
This act not only stipulates that both owners must kick in equal amounts for the repair of the fence but also for other situations such as re-alignment or re-erection. As with everything communication is key and its always best to discuss the situation with the neighbour to try and reach an amicable solution before it gets out of hand.
Disagreements Can & Will Happen
Sometimes a situation cant be resolved with every walking away happy and disputes between neighbours about fences is a pretty common occurrence. This can be a matter of who is to blame for damage or one party wanting to replace a fence while the other does not. If an agreement cannot be reached then it will need to go to a Magistrates Court to have the case heard there. This can be both costly and time consuming so again it’s always better to talk things out if possible.
Emergency Repair and Faults
Should damage occur suddenly to a fence by an event such as floods, winds or fire then an owner can replace or repair the fence straight away without any notice. This can be because the neighbour is away or there is ill will. Should you have to repair the fence without speaking to your neighbour first then you can take the issue to a Magistrates Court to have an order given for the neighbour to pay their half.
While this is a viable option it can be a lengthy and disruptive situation that can cause strain on the relationship with your neighbour. For these reasons we suggest always trying to talk with your neighbour first before going ahead with your plans.
Do Tenants Need To Pay?
If you are a property owner dealing with tenants and a damaged fence it can be a tricky situation. Unfortunately for you tenants are typically not responsible for the cost of repairing a shared fence however there is an exception. If the lease is for a period of 5 years or more then the tenant can be asked to pay for a quarter of the cost. While a 5 year lease is generally quite rare it’s still worth noting.
Play It Safe With Northside Fencing
If you are concerned about the cost of repairing a fence on your property then the best course of action is to give us a call to arrange for an obligation free quote. Once you have an idea of the costs involved it makes communicating with neighbours, fellow owners and tenants much more straightforward and can completely remove the chance of disagreements. Give us a call on (07) 3491 4100 or fill in our online contact form to have someone get in touch with you via email.