Magistrates Court – Dividing Fences

The information in this fact sheet is intended for informational purposes only and should not be taken as legal advice.

In Western Australia, the Dividing Fences Act 1961 governs disputes arising between neighbours over a dividing fence.

If you are intending to erect or repair a dividing fence, you should first approach your neighbour to discuss and come to an agreement. It is important to give notice (through writing) to your neighbour about the intended works and cost. The notice must be served on a person by delivering it in person or sending it by registered mail to their primary place of residence.

The owner then has 21 days to respond to your proposal. If an agreement cannot be reached, you can commence action in the Magistrates Court. If successful, the Magistrates Court will order that your neighbour pay half the cost of the fence. However, it should be remembered that taking legal action against your neighbour should be a last resort given costs involved and the irreparable damage it will cause to your relationship with your neighbour.

Any agreement that you come to with your neighbour should be put in writing.

If you would like assistance in drafting a notice letter to your neighbour or are involved in a dispute over a dividing fence issue, please contact D’Angelo Legal on 9381 1147 or to book an appointment.