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VIC Council and Dividing Fences - Can Neighbour Demand Contribution?

Discussion in 'Property Law Forum' started by Jen_01, 19 May 2016.

  1. Jen_01

    Jen_01 Active Member

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    We received a fencing notice from one of our neighbours to change the dividing fence and asking us to contribute 50%. The fence was still in good enough condition and we found out from a phone call we made to our council that the fence needed to be made higher to be compliant for the neighbour's swimming pool according to Council's regulations as the dividing fence formed part of the pool barrier. The Council said they had sent a letter to the neighbours to make it higher.

    We do not have a swimming pool and we didn't need the fence changed. So we replied to the Fencing notice that the fence was still good enough for us and that if they needed to make changes to make it compliant according to Council pool law that's fine, but we will not be contributing towards costs.

    6 weeks later, without any advice from the neighbours, they removed the whole fence and installed a new one. A week later they sent us a letter asking us for 50% of the costs of the fence. We ignored the letter as we had already replied to them in the Fencing Notice that we did not agree to contributing.

    Now we were served a Complaints Form from the neighbours to go to Magistrates Court. We can either pay up or defend it in court. Since the neighbours went ahead with the refurbishment of the fence even though we replied to them in the Fencing Notice that we were not willing to contribute, do they have any right to seek payment?
     
  2. Paul Cott

    Paul Cott Well-Known Member

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    Jen, what the court will order in such a scenario is in their discretion. The court may order, if it gets as far as a hearing, a percentage contribution that can vary from 0 to 50 percent each up to a 100 percent, which is unlikely. So the result may be you have to pay some but perhaps not 50/50.

    Good luck.
     
  3. Jen_01

    Jen_01 Active Member

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    Thanks very much Paul
     

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