Building or replacing a dividing fence

If you need to construct or replace a fence that divides two or more properties, follow these steps:

Step 1: Check if you need development approval

Not all fences require development approval. First refer to the NSW Planning Portal - Fences under Exempt to check if your fence is exempt development. If your fence is not exempt, you may be able to get development approval by applying for a complying development certificate (CDC) or lodging a development application (DA).

Development types - exempt development, complying development and development application

Step 2: Cost sharing

In certain situations you may be able to share the cost of a fence with your neighbour. NSW Law Access offers information about cost sharing.

You may need to get legal advice to help identify your rights and responsibilities under the Dividing Fences Act 1991.

Step 3: Serve a fence notice

If the Dividing Fences Act 1991 requires you to serve a fencing notice to your neighbour, use our Fencing Notice Form as a template.

View Fencing Notice Form(PDF, 7KB)

Resolving fencing disputes

Community Justice Centre and NSW Law Access help resolve fencing disputes between neighbours.

Does Council contribute towards dividing fences?

Public land not eligible for a Council contribution to dividing fences adjoining private properties

Council is exempt from contributing to the cost of dividing fences where the land held by Council is for the purposes of a public road, public park or public reserve including most drainage reserves and most public garden and recreation spaces - unless there are special circumstances.

Special circumstances are limited to cases of demonstrated hardship and where it is deemed in Council's own interest to have a boundary fence.

Public land eligible for Council contribution towards dividing fences adjoining private properties

Council generally will contribute up to 50% of the cost of a standard fence. This is applicable where a private property adjoins Council owned properties such as car parks, libraries, community centres and baby health centres - unless the land on which the facility is located is within a public reserve. A sufficient dividing fence is considered a timber paling fence with a maximum height of 1.8 metres. although applicants may construct more expensive fences. Council’s contribution will be limited to 50% of the cost of a standard fence. and applicants will be required to pay any additional costs.

Refer to Council's Fencing Policy(PDF, 261KB) for more information.

What is the process to request a contribution?

Applicants must submit their request in writing with a return address and/or email contact. If eligible, Council staff will inspect the condition of the fence and warrant for replacement within 5 working days.

The Council will advise you of the outcome of the inspection and ask you for three written quotes from recognised fencing contractors for our consideration.

Council will confirm in writing the acceptance of a quotation, after which construction of the fence can commence.

What if I require a fence of different standard?

Council will only contribute 50% of the cost of the lowest quote for a timber paling fence to a maximum height of 1.8 metre. Should applicants select a different type of fencing, they will be required to pay any additional costs.

When will payment occur?

Applicants must notify Council of the completion of the fence and arrange for an inspection.

We will conduct an inspection of the fence to ensure compliance. This inspection may be conducted with the applicant if you wish.

The applicant is required to notify the contractor to split the invoice as indicated in the written acceptance from Council. For probity reasons, Council is not permitted to pay monies to the public or owner directly.

On satisfactory completion, the applicant is responsible for payment to the contractor for their contribution. Council is responsible for payment of its agreed contribution directly to the contractor.