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A fence is a structure, ditch or embankment, or a hedge or similar vegetative barrier, enclosing or bounding land, whether or not continuous or extending along the whole of the boundary separating the land of adjoining owners.

Dividing fences
A dividing fence is a fence which separates the land of adjoining owners, whether on the common boundary of adjoining lands or on a line other than the common boundary.

Fences may not require approval from Council if they are of a location and height that satisfies the requirements of the NSW State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008.

Approval is required for all other fences, through either the development application process or complying development process.

Disputes about fences
Disputes between neighbours about dividing fences are among the most common neighborhood disputes. The NSW Government has specific laws that set out dividing fence requirements and processes which control and regulate dividing fences under the Dividing Fences Act 1991.

What role does Council play?
Council’s role is to assess development applications and complying development applications when approval is required to erect the fence.

Who pays for a dividing fence?
Adjoining neighbours pay half the costs of erecting a sufficient dividing fence between each property.

Exemptions to this include:

: Council does not give legal advice about who pays for any fence in any circumstance.

Resolving fence disputes
For help with legal advice on some matters like dividing fences, you can ask for information from the Chamber Magistrate at the Local Court Singleton.

For further advice about dividing fences visit NSW Land and Property information or look at the brochure titled: "Dividing Fences Law".

Will Council or the Crown pay half the costs of a dividing fence?
No - In respect to dividing fences, the Dividing Fences Act 1991 does not impose any liability, or confer any rights on:
  • The Crown;
  • The Council of a local government area;
  • Any trustee of any public land;
  • A roads authority; and
  • Others as provided by the Act or Regulations.

This means that if you have a common boundary, with any government authority, that authority is not required to share the costs of erecting dividing fences.

Singleton Council
PO Box 314 Singleton NSW 2330
Ph: 02 6578 7290