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Neighbour Fence Disputes. Victoria Fences Act.

Discussion in 'Property Law Forum' started by Ron, 3 July 2014.

  1. Ron

    Ron Member

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    I made the owner of a my neighbouring vacant block aware that I wished to construct a first fence next to my new home. He asked me to get quotes. I later informed him the cost to him would be about $1000 ( cheapest of three quotes ) He said Ok. He attended on the day the fence was built and measured the boundary. We had previously agreed on an end point at the property fronts. He even got the fencer to put a couple of pailings on his rear fence where they were missing.
    I made thr mistake of not getting him to sign the builders agreement document for 50%, Now he has decided he doesn't want to pay because he didn't sign and says he doesn't have to pay his share. I have since paid the fencer the total amount out of fairness to him. Am I shot or is my neighbour still liable for his share? Can I put a covernant on the vacant block for the unpaid amount? Thank you.
     
  2. John R

    John R Well-Known Member

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    Hi Ron,
    1. The aptly named Fences Act 1968 (Vic) covers fences.
    2. As a general rule, both neighbours should contribute 50/50 unless agreed by mediation or court.
    3. As a starting point to resolving the dispute, may want to consider sending a "Letter of Demand" to your neighbour asking him to "make good" on the verbal agreement to 50/50 cost split. If this is unsuccessful, then you may consider attempting to resolve via the Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria (DSCV).
    Hope this helps. Please keep us updated with your progress.
     
  3. Ron

    Ron Member

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    • Thankyou. John R.
    • He has already responded to a letter of demand saying bad luck because I didn't agree in writting, not paying.
    • His wife, co-title holder has sent an email saying she didn't know about it and wouldn't have agreed to pay. Mediation is toothless with people like these. They have drawn their line in the sand. Do they still have to pay is the simple question? Do we have a case? Is there any case law? Surely this hss hsppened 1000 times before?
     
  4. Ron

    Ron Member

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    Ps Thank you again.
     
  5. John R

    John R Well-Known Member

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    Hi Ron,
    50/50 is the general rule for fence contributions.
    If you haven't read it already, the Law Handbook has a good section on "Building fences - who pays?".
    I would encourage you to re-consider DSCV at your earliest opportunity. At a minimum, it's a free service (and the last "free" service before taking the next logical step of court) and your neighbours may be a bit more inclined to negotiate on costs after spending 2-3 hours in a meeting room with you and the mediator. Hope this helps.
     

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