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Who’s Responsible For Fences?

SSKB Strata Managers looks at who is responsible for fences.

Good fences make good neighbours, observed the poet Robert Frost.

The same can be said for strata communities, where keeping fences in good repair keeps the relationship between neighbours sweet.

So, whose responsibility is it to maintain fences?

In Queensland and New South Wales, it’s straight forward:

  • The fence between a lot and the common property is shared equally between the Lot Owner and the Body Corporate/Owners Corporation;
  • The fence between two lots is shared equally between the Lot Owners;
  • The boundary fence between a lot and an adjoining property is shared equally between the Body Corporate/Owners Corporation and the adjoining property owner because the fence is in essence the boundary of the scheme.

In Victoria, the situation with boundary fences is different.

If there is no common property between the Lot Owner’s fence and another property, then the Lot Owner, not the Owners Corporation, is responsible for that boundary fence. For example, a front fence that separates a lot from a Council-owned footpath is the responsibility of the Lot Owner and not the Owners Corporation.

However, you do need to check your by-laws or community rules because depending on your scheme, as there may be some other arrangement for fence maintenance.

What Is A Fence?

And to misquote Shakespeare: a fence, by any other name, still marks a boundary and it has to be maintained.

Under accepted definitions, a fence doesn’t necessarily have to be made of timber, Colourbond or chain link. It may also be made of brick or stone blocks – even a dividing hedge is considered a fence.

In general terms, structures which are not considered fences are:

  • Retaining walls, and;
  • Walls that form part of a building such as a house or garage.

Find out more about the legislation in your state here:

SSKB is Australia’s leading strata management company specialising delivering expert advice and management to Owners Corporation and Body Corporate communities.

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