Boundary fencing

Boundary fencing

A building permit is required for some fences and you must notify neighbours of any fencing change.

What is a dividing (boundary) fence?

A dividing fence is a fence built to separate two pieces of adjoining land. It may or may not be located on the common boundary between the pieces of land. The location of the dividing fence depends on the agreement between neighbours. The dividing fence might be located off the common boundary if, for example, there is an obstruction or waterway on the common boundary.

A dividing fence:

  • is not a front boundary fence
  • does not include a retaining wall or any wall that is part of a house, garage or other building (although sometimes these types of walls may mean that a dividing fence is not needed for part of the boundary).

Do I need a permit?

Do I need a permit?

Dividing boundary fencing may require a building permit if it exceeds 2m in height.

For specific advice about your obligations contact the Building Department.

Submit a building enquiry

Who pays?

Who pays?

Under the Fences Act 1968, the property owner and the neighbour are equally responsible for any dividing fences. The Act outlines:

  • Who’ll pay for it
  • What type to build
  • What notices to send each other
  • How to resolve disputes

Please note, the above may not apply where properties are:

  • Adjacent to Crown land
  • Adjacent to “Roads”, including road reserves, footpaths, laneways, walkways and right of ways.
  • Adjacent to other authorities land such as Department of Environment, Land, Water & Planning (DELWP), Goulburn Murray Water, VicTrack etc

Contact your neighbour

Contact your neighbour

You can use a notice to fence form to set out your proposal for construction or repair of a dividing fence and request they contribute to the cost.

If the adjoining landowner doesn’t live at the property you can request ownership details from Council.  You can only use this information for the purpose of arranging the construction of a fence.

Fencing disputes

Fencing disputes

Victorian local councils cannot help with fencing disputes between neighbours.

The Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria offers a free, confidential service provided by the Department of Justice. You do not have to be in a dispute to use their services. They can provide information and advice prior to approaching your neighbour regarding a fencing issue. However, if you are in a dispute, they also provide a range of free resolution services.

Half cost fencing - If your property adjoins Council property

Half cost fencing - If your property adjoins Council property

In accordance with the Fences Act 1968 and Fences Amendment Act 2014, Council will contribute half the reasonable cost of constructing, repairing or replacing a sufficient dividing fence abutting a property with a building occupied by Council ie: Municipal Office, Depots.

Part 1 Section 4 (2)(c) of the Fences Act 1968 states that for the purposes of the ‘Act’ owner does not include — a municipal council, trustee or other person or body in respect of land owned by or vested in, or under the care, control or management of, the municipal Council, trustee, person or body for the purposes of a public park or public reserve.

Fencing contribution from Council

The ‘Act‘, excludes Council and others who own and manage land for the purposes of a public park or public reserve from contributing to the cost of a boundary fence.

These include:

  • Drainage reserves
  • Municipal and recreational reserves
  • Municipal car parks
  • Playgrounds
  • Roads and right-of-ways
  • Tree and plantation reserves

Council will not contribute to the cost of constructing, repairing or replacing the fencing abutting a public park or public reserve unless the exemption in this policy applies.

Council may choose to contribute in some circumstances, but the Fences Act does not require this.

Exemption for Pensioners’ Principal Place of Residence

Council will contribute half the reasonable cost of constructing, repairing or replacing the fencing abutting an open public reserve, excluding roads and right-of-ways, when the abutting private land is the principal place of residence of a homeowner eligible for the Municipal Rates Concession.

Pensioners and Veteran Affairs Gold Card holders are eligible for Municipal Rates Concession.

For half cost fencing enquiries email engineering@swanhill.vic.gov.au

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