VIC Retaining Wall Responsibility

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qyang

Member
29 January 2021
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1
We bought a property a year ago. After we moved in, our neighbour asked us to fix our retaining wall. It's just within our fence and it's pushing the fence towards our neighbour's property. Here is some information about the retaining wall:
  1. The land surveyor report to us that the retaining wall is just within our boundary.
  2. There is no record of who built the retaining wall and we are not sure if the neighbour did any excavation.
  3. Our property is on the higher ground.
  4. Our property was built before our neighbour's property but our neighbour's property was first subdivided.
  5. The fence of our property is shared with a few neighbours and the retaining wall extends all the way to the end of our property and it goes further to the end of our next-door neighbour's property.
Can we conclude based on this information that we are 100% responsible for the retaining wall? Does our neighbour share any responsibility, hence cost to fix the retaining wall?
 

Harry De Elle

Well-Known Member
11 February 2017
58
3
199
It should be established why the wall is failing and apportion repair costs accordingly.
 

Rod

Lawyer
LawTap Verified
27 May 2014
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Go back to council records to see who altered the land.

The fact the wall is on your property though is not looking good for you.
 

Harry De Elle

Well-Known Member
11 February 2017
58
3
199
Hi Rod, notwithstanding who altered the land should'nt it be established why the wall is not performing as it should be ? What (information) case law and legal principles apply in this instance?
 

Rod

Lawyer
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27 May 2014
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qyang

Member
29 January 2021
2
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1
Hi Rod and Harry,

Thank you for your replies and sorry for the late reply. The retaining wall is failing probably due to ageing since it was built at least 20 years ago.
I contacted the council but the council told me that there is no way to know who altered the land. The council does not have that information. The fact that the retaining wall is in my fence and my property was first built probably indicates that it was built by my property's developer.

What I don't understand is why my property's developer decided to cut the land on my neighbour's property to make their land flat and spent more money building a single retaining wall for both of our properties. Could it be possible that my property's developer negotiated with the neighbour landowner to share the cost of building the retaining wall? If that's the case, would my neighbour by partially responsible for the cost of repair?
 

Rod

Lawyer
LawTap Verified
27 May 2014
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All possible, but without plans you job is very hard.

I'd be fronting up to council and say they need to search again for the plans THEY APPROVED.