Dividing Fences
  • Last updated:
  • 30 May 2016

The Neighbourhood Disputes Resolution Act began on 1 November 2011. It provides ways for neighbours to resolve disputes about dividing fences. The Act names the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal as who deals with these matters. The Act is available on the Queensland Legislation website. Council does not become involved.

Existing legislation

The Act includes:

  • definitions of the terms 'fence' and 'sufficient dividing fence'
  • a single notice for contribution to fencing work form
  • clarification of ownership of a dividing fence on a common boundary is shared
  • the distinction between a retaining wall and a fence
  • clear rules for pastoral and agricultural fences.

Approval to build a fence

If you plan to build a fence, over two metres high you must obtain a building development approval from a private building certifier. In addition, the Act requires fencing to be:

  • associated with an existing dwelling
  • not part of retaining wall
  • not part of a swimming pool fence
  • does not restrict or concentrate storm water runoff.

The private certifier will refer the application to council for assessment against the Queensland Development Code.

Locating a private building certifier

You can locate a private building certifier in the Yellow Pages under ‘Private Certifier’.

Corner allotments

A fence, screen, retaining wall or similar structure must allow traffic to have a clear line of vision around the corner. Refer to the Queensland Development Code for fence heights on corner blocks.

Where to go for help

  • Speak to your neighbour first. Many people do not realise the problem is occurring and are happy to cooperate.
  • Department of Justice and Attorney General website for a copy of the Act, forms and FAQs.
  • A solicitor can assist with other aspects, such as legal considerations between neighbours, including liability and damages.

If you and your neighbour cannot resolve the problem, the State Justice Department Dispute Resolution Centre can provide mediation without legal action.