Dividing Fences Policy
Last published 01 May 2021
NSW Land and Housing Corporation (LAHC) and Aboriginal Housing Office (AHO) properties with backyards will be enclosed by fencing.
This policy applies to NSW Land and Housing Corporation (LAHC) or the Aboriginal Housing Office (AHO) properties whose tenancies are managed by Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ).
3. Policy statement
LAHC will negotiate with adjoining private owners to erect or repair a common dividing fence.
When an adjoining private owner wants to replace a dividing fence, they can download and complete a Dividing Fences Agreement form or collect one from any local DCJ Housing office.
Some information required to complete the Dividing Fences Agreement includes:
- the address of both parties
- the proposed boundary to be fenced/repaired
- length and height of the proposed fence
- type of fencing material proposed
- at least two competitive quotes from licensed fencing contractors
- evidence that the existing fence is no longer fit for purpose e.g. photos
LAHC Asset Performance Standards, specify that all fencing must meet the following safety, function and appearance benchmarks:
The fence must not pose any hazards or possess any sharp edges and it must be structurally sound. Sharp metal edges including fence stapling should not be exposed.
The fence structure must be generally sound and provide a reasonable level of security to restrict access by people and animals. It must be straight and with gaps no greater than 100mm. Rails should be true and straight and the posts/masonry upright.
The fence surface should be clean and free from holes - other than minor indentations. Some loose palings or dented panels are acceptable.
- LAHC standard fence height is 1500mm or 1800mm.
- Materials used can include timber, metal, masonry (brick), mixed or composite.
Minimum fencing requirements
A dividing fence is considered fit for purpose if it:
- Fulfills the purpose or use for which it was intended
- Provides privacy from adjoining owners
- Is made of material typical in the locality
- Complies with all relevant policies or codes in the Local Government Area as well as any relevant environmental planning instrument.
Where a dividing fence does not meet these minimum requirements LAHC will either agree to co-fund a fence replacement requested by an adjoining owner or request an adjoining owner contribute to half the cost of a fence repair or replacement.
Fencing material and height
- LAHC will approve the use of a variety of fencing materials that will be jointly agreed to with the neighbour. Some factors LAHC will consider in reaching a decision include maintaining consistency with local area fencing, a private owner’s preferences, termite risk and risk of damage (e.g. installed next to a driveway).
- LAHC will generally match the height of the existing fence unless otherwise negotiated with 1500mm or 1800mm being the standard.
Managing the work
All fencing work initiated by a private adjoining owner must be undertaken by qualified fencing contractors and at least 7 days notice provided to LAHC prior to the commencement of work.
Cost of dividing fencing
Under Section 25 of the Dividing Fences Act, Crown owners (as is the case for LAHC) are not legally required to contribute towards the cost of erecting/maintaining dividing fencing.
LAHC will generally pay up to 50% of the cost of erecting sufficient fencing and follow the relevant part of the Act which states the following:
- Under the Dividing Fences Act, each neighbour must contribute towards the cost of erecting sufficient fencing to satisfy the requirements detailed above.
- Adjoining owners must share the cost of the fencing, except in the following circumstances:
- an owner must pay the additional cost if they want a dividing fence of a higher standard than is required under the definition of ‘sufficient fencing’. LAHC’s contribution will be limited to the half the cost of a ‘sufficient dividing fence’.
- public authorities with control over crown lands, parks, reserves etc. do not have to contribute towards fencing costs. However, LAHC (and an owner of crown land and parks etc.) may negotiate with the adjoining private owners for half cost contribution.
- If urgent fencing work is required due to safety or security issues, then adjoining owners must still contribute to the work
- Where LAHC occupies one or multiple dwellings in a block of units in conjunction with private owners, the body corporate will proportionally contribute to the associated costs of fence repairs/replacements.
- If a private owner erects a replacement fence without written approval from LAHC, the private owner is not entitled to recover any costs associated with the fencing work.
- If a dividing fence is damaged or destroyed by a private owner, their household member, pet or visitor, the private owner alone is expected to restore the dividing fence.
4. Legislation and compliance
Dividing fences with adjoining private properties will be managed in accordance with: