Fences facing a street, road or laneway

It is the property owner's responsibility to maintain and replace fences which face a road reserve. This includes streets, roads, laneways or rights-of-way.

Council is not responsible for sharing the cost of maintaining these fences.

The Building Regulations 2018 regulates what can be built and if a building permit is required. For example, a brick fence facing the street above 1.2 metres in height will require a building permit.

For further information about a permit for a fence facing a street or road, contact Council.

Properties which share a fence with Council-owned land or building

If a rear or side fence of a property adjoins Council land, such as a park, or a Council-owned building, the fencing cost is equally shared by Council and the property owner.

The property owner should obtain and submit two to three quotes to Council detailing the cost per metre of a treated pine paling fence, the cost of removal of the old fence and the GST amount. Email Council Building Maintenance or post the quotes to Merri-bek City Council, Locked Bag 10, Merri-bek 3058, attention Building Maintenance.

A fence facing the street, road, laneway or right-of-way is the property owner's responsibility to maintain and replace.

A boundary fence between properties

The fencing between adjoining properties provides the delineation and separation of the properties.

A fence is in joint ownership of the abutting property(s) owners and by law, people with a common boundary share the cost of building and maintaining appropriate fencing.

Owners usually share the cost of a standard fence.

If one owner wants a special fence, they may require a building permit to build the fence.

The Law Handbook has further information on boundary fences.

Boundary fence size requirements

A standard side or rear boundary fence between properties is a 1.8-metre-high timber paling fence.

A side or rear boundary fence above 2 metres high including lattice or any other attachment, requires a building permit under the Building Regulations 2018.

The law about fences in Victoria is contained in the Fences Act 1968 and the Building Regulations 2018

When neighbours disagree on a boundary fence

Council does not get involved in disputes between neighbours on concerns about the replacement or repair of shared boundary fencing.

These are civil matters between the adjoining property owner(s) and does not fall under the jurisdiction of Council. See the Magistrates Court for further information about fencing disputes and issuing a complaint.

Disputes may be referred to the Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria (see reference below).

Contact the Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria to discuss the fence and get a solution. The centre is an informal, independent, accessible and low cost dispute resolution service to all people in Victoria. The Centre can do free mediation between neighbours, give you extra information on a Fencing Notice, and show you how to get a court order to force your neighbour to help pay for the fence.

If the fence requires a building permit, then Council may be involved to ensure the fence complies with the building legislation.

Request for ownership information for fencing purposes

Council may be asked to provide a property owner(s) contact details with respect to the specific replacement or repair of fencing.

The Information Privacy Act allows us to provide this information when the request is made in writing.

If you need the contact details for the owner of a fence:

  1. Complete the Request for Address Particulars for Fencing Purposes form (DOC 48Kb) and,
  2. Email or post the form to Council or hand in person at a Council Customer Service Centre.

This information provided to a property owner or other authorised person must not be used for any other unrelated purposes.

Fencing of vacant land

All vacant land in Merri-bek must be fenced, in accordance with the Moreland City Council General Local Law 2018 (DOC 622Kb)

An owner or occupier of vacant land which is wholly or partially unfenced must ensure the land is fenced after being directed to do so by Council or an Authorised Officer.

Penalties apply to breaches of the Local Law, including a Notice to Comply, issuing of an infringement, or the matter may be referred to the Magistrates' Court.