Side or rear boundary fences

Side or rear fences which divide adjoining land are the responsibility of the property owners, who must agree on the construction details, cost and position of the fences. Council is not responsible for boundary fencing matters.

Generally boundary fences can be constructed to a height of two metres. For heights over two metres, a building permit is required with consent of both property owners. Check the land title for any covenants which may restrict fence heights.

The Fences Act governs the rights and responsibilities of property owners regarding the construction, alteration, maintenance and replacement of dividing fences. It includes procedures for notifying the adjoining owner of proposed fencing works and for settling of any disputes regarding the location, cost and type of any proposed fencing. Normally both owners would share the cost of a new fence unless one person wants a fence of greater quality or height.

If the owners can’t agree on the construction of the fence, there are a couple of options:

  • contact the Dispute Settlement Centre for assistance in resolving any dispute

  • file a complaint in the Magistrates’ Court

Council can assist with the following:

  • providing adjoining owner’s contact details

Fences abutting streets/footpaths are at the full cost of the property owner.

Fences near the street

The following matters must be considered for any proposed fence that faces a street or is within three metres of a street boundary:

  • type of fence construction – timber, metal, masonry or a combination of materials

  • allowable maximum heights

  • location of fence – front, side or corner

  • whether or not building and/or planning permits are required

The following height limits apply (unless Council consents to a greater height):

  • generally front fences can be erected to a height of 1.5 metres (check for any restrictive covenants and consider the safety of pedestrians)
  • on a declared road the permitted maximum height is two metres

  • fences setback at least three metres from the street boundary may be constructed with a maximum height of two metres

  • on corner blocks (with side street) a fence cannot be greater than 1000mm when within nine metres of the corner intersection of the allotment

Generally a building permit is required for:

  • a brick fence where any part of the brickwork exceeds 1.2 metres in height

  • other types of fences (e.g. timber, metal, lightweight construction) over 1.5 metres in height within three metres of the street boundary

  • all fences over two metres in height

The above information is general, and only applies in respect to the building regulations.

Please contact Council’s Town Planning Department to enquire if a planning permit is also required for your proposal.

Council’s Community Local Law also contains the following requirement:

  • an owner or occupier must not within four metres of a street alignment construct or allow to remain in place a side fence of height greater than 1.2 metres and which is beside a driveway or vehicle access way from a premises

For further information please contact Council’s Building or Town Planning Departments on 9932 1000 or email customerservice@hobsonsbay.vic.gov.au.