Dividing Fences

The Dividing Fences Act 1961 alongside local government by-laws outline the regulations in relation to the construction and maintenance of dividing fences in Western Australia. The Act provides a process for sharing costs between neighbours, the determination of boundaries and a mechanism for courts to deal with disputes over dividing fences in specific instances. 

Any agreement, contract or covenant relating to dividing fences between owners of adjoining land overrides the provisions of the Act and in most cases a dispute between neighbours will be dealt with by the Magistrates Court. 

The Shire of Wongan-Ballidu does not manage any dispute regarding a diving fence between neighbours. More information and advice can be obtained from the Building Commission or Legal Aid in the event of a dispute. 

What is a dividing fence under the Act?

A dividing fence is a ‘sufficient fence’ that separates the land of different owners, whether on the common boundary of adjoining lands or in a line other than the common boundary.

A sufficient fence is described as:

  • a fence prescribed by a local law of the relevant local government; or
  • a fence agreed upon by adjoining owners provided that it complies with the relevant local law.

Where no local law exists or no agreement is made, a sufficient fence is:

  • a substantial fence that is ordinarily capable of resisting the trespass of cattle and sheep; or
  • a fence determined by a court.

If you erect a dividing fence of a higher standard than a sufficient fence before obtaining the agreement of the adjoining owner, you may only claim half the cost of erecting and maintaining a sufficient fence as defined above.