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NSW Who is Responsible for Replacing the Retaining Wall?

Discussion in 'Property Law Forum' started by Chris Jones, 4 June 2016.

  1. Chris Jones

    Chris Jones Member

    4 June 2016
    Likes Received:
    We own a property (built in the 70's) that is on a bit of a slope. Our neighbours behind have a nice flat backyard thanks to a retaining wall that sits on the boundary between us (they are uphill from us). I believe that our property is the original slope of the land and the adjoining properties suggest that I am correct.

    The retaining wall is very old and was built prior to either us or our neighbours buying our properties. The wall is not constructed properly (I am not a licensed builder but you decide - hollow cement blocks with no re-enforcing, concrete fill or concrete footings) and approximately 1.5m high at its highest point. The neighbours have a large tree on their boundary and the wall has now started to lean out towards us adjacent to the tree. A recent survey has the wall footings crossing the boundary from entirely on our side at one end to entirely on their side at the other end.

    I am concerned that if it collapses, we will have a very large tree through our roof and we could end up with their backyard in ours. We would be prepared to cover up to 50% of the costs but they are claiming it is our responsibility entirely.

    I have done a little research and have found that;

    "Since 2008, under amendments to the Dividing Fences Act 1991, section 3, an adjoining owner can seek a contribution for the carrying out of work to a retaining wall where the wall is necessary for the support and maintenance of a dividing fence." Retaining walls | Neighbours and the law

    Can anyone shed any more light on our situation?
  2. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

    27 May 2014
    Likes Received:
    Generally the owner who altered the slope of the land is responsible for 100%. If land level is altered on both sides, then both parties contribute. You may need old plans to work out who altered the land, or have a survey done.

    And if their tree is knocking over the wall, they are responsible for the damage it does.

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