A ‘dividing fence’ is usually a fence that separates two privately owned properties. It does not include:
- A fence running along the boundary of a road (see street fences)
- A fence adjoining public open space
- A retaining wall.
Sufficient dividing fence between neighbours
The City of Joondalup’s Fencing Local Law 2014 defines a sufficient residential fence as:
‘A fence constructed of corrugated fibre reinforced pressed cement and erected in accordance with manufacturer’s specifications and which satisfies the following specifications:
- A minimum in-ground depth of 25% of the total length of the sheet, but in any case shall have a minimum in-ground depth of 600 millimetres
- The total height and depth of the fence to consist of a single continuous fibre reinforced cement sheet
- The sheets to be lapped and capped with extruded snap-fit type capping in accordance with the manufacturer’s written instructions
- The height of the fence to be 1.8 metres except with respect to a fence within the street setback area
Refer to the Fencing Local Law 2014 for sufficient fencing requirements for commercial and industrial fencing.
The sufficient fence requirements of the Local Law are for the purposes of defining a sufficient fence under the Dividing Fences Act 1961. Disputes relating to dividing fences (including alterations without neighbours consent) is a civil matter between two parties, with the Dividing Fences Act 1961 providing a mechanism for courts to deal with disputes over dividing fences. In a civil court action the Magistrate will use the City’s Local Law to determine what is considered a sufficient fence and will use those laws in making their determination.
Building, repairing or replacing a dividing fence
Owners looking to construct, repair or replace a dividing fence are strongly advised to find out their obligations and responsibilities as defined in the Dividing Fences Act 1961.
A booklet titled Dividing fences: A Guide from the Building Commission provides detailed information on owner responsibilities. This also contains the contact details for the Building Commission should you require further assistance.
Building permit application requirements
Any dividing fence that is masonry and more than 750mm in height requires a building permit.
Any dividing fence made of materials other than masonry, up to 1.8m in height does not require a building permit.
Dividing fences higher than 1.8m
A dividing fence more than 1.8m in height requires agreement with the adjoining neighbour (in the form of written neighbours consent) and requires a building permit.