CCHistory has shown that disputes often arise over fences that divide separately owned properties.

A fence can be an asset that you share with people that you don’t know, don’t want to know, or didn’t know would be so unreasonable.

In a rural setting the cost of repairing fences is often significant.  The cost of not repairing fences can sometimes be even greater.

Who owns the fence, who wrecked it, who should fix it, to what standard and at what cost are all common dispute issues.

Thankfully, there is a piece of legislation which answers most of the above questions and provides a mechanism to resolve fencing disputes.

It is called the Dividing Fences Act and it applies to both rural and residential areas. It’s pretty straightforward to understand and easy to apply. However, most applications will require some time inside a court room and the production of evidence tailored to address specific issues raised by the act.

In some cases a dividing fence will simply be dilapidated by the rigors of time, weather and normal use.  Sometimes however, it might be the case that one party in particular has caused all or most of the damage to the fence.

Under the act a party can request another person to pay an equal amount for the fence to be fixed, or any other amount which reflects the parties’ proportionate liability for the fence’s damage.  The request must be set out in a particular manner and form.

If the requested party either does not respond to the request, or disputes some element of the request, an application can be made to the local court to have the dispute determined.  The proceedings are usually fairly quick and fairly cheap.

If, at court, you are the successful party, you can apply to have your costs paid by the other party.  However, you need to be careful when you commence the proceedings because if what you request is unreasonable or untenable and the court decides against you, you can be ordered to pay the other party’s costs.

If you, like many people, have a problem with a dividing fence, contact Everingham Solomons, because Helping You is Our Business.

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