Do I need Council approval to build a fence?
Standard 1800mm (1.8 metre) timber or colour-bonded metal dividing fences generally do not require Council approval.
Subdivision 17, 18 and 19 of the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development) Code establish development standards that permit certain fencing to be erected without the need to obtain an approval. Fencing that does not meet the development standards will require Council approval.
Read the Code
Dividing Fence Legislation
Dividing fences are a matter between adjoining landowners and not within Council's jurisdiction.
The State Government's Dividing Fences Act, 1991 addresses how the cost of a dividing fence is shared between adjoining land owners, where an owner wants to erect a dividing fence or wants work done on an existing dividing fence.
The Act also sets out the procedure for resolving disputes involving the cost, type and position of a fence.
The Crown Lands Division is the State Government department charged with the administration of the Dividing Fences Act 1991. However, their responsibility is limited to administration matters. It does not include the provision of advice relating to fencing disputes nor does it include providing specific legal advice relating to the provisions of the Act. This advice should be sought from other sources such as LawAssist NSW.
Dividing Fences Act 1991
Fences adjoining public lands/roads
The NSW Dividing Fences Act 1991 does not impose any liability on a council to contribute to dividing fences on land owned or managed by the council for any other public purpose including public reserves, public parks and public roads. Coffs Harbour City Council does not generally contribute to boundary fences adjoining lands defined by Section 25(1) of the Dividing Fences Act 1991, including but not limited to:
- Public reserves
- Drainage reserves
- Public Roads
- Crown Land managed by Council
- Crown Land under Trust managed by Council
How do I ask my Neighbour to share the cost of a Dividing Fence?
An owner wanting an adjoining owner to share in the cost of a dividing fence must first serve a Fencing Notice on that adjoining owner (personally or by post). Unless urgent fencing work is required, no fencing work for which a land owner seeks a contribution from an adjoining owner should be done until agreement is reached or an order is made by the local land board or local court.
In accordance with the Dividing Fences Act 1991, an owner wanting an adjoining owner to share in the cost of a dividing fence must first serve a Fencing Notice on that adjoining owner (personally or by post). Unless urgent fencing work is required, no fencing work for which a land owner seeks a contribution from an adjoining owner should be done until agreement is reached.
To assist property owner’s contact their adjoining neighbours, who do not reside on their property or whereby the property is vacant land, Council will forward their completed Fencing Notice on their behalf.
Completed Fencing Notices can be addressed to 'The Rates Section' and returned to Council via fax (02) 6648 4199 or posted. Alternatively, scanned forms (with an owner's signature) can be emailed to Council.
Please Note: Council will forward a Fencing Notice(s) to the postal address of the adjoining property owner(s) but accepts no responsibility for the receipt or outcome of the notice(s).
If you require assistance in completing this form please contact Council's Rates Section on (02) 6648 4444 during business hours.
Fencing Notice (State Government Form)
Can Council give me the contact details of my neighbour so I can serve a Fencing Notice?
NO - Property ownership details are held on Council's Rates Register. This register is not a public register and ownership details are used for the purpose of issuing rates and charges pursuant to the Local Government Act.
However, to assist property owner's contact their adjoining neighbours, who do not reside on their property or whereby the property is vacant land, Council will forward their completed Fencing Notice on their behalf.
Information contained herein is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Advice from a professional adviser (such as a solicitor) should be sought if there is doubt as to the applicability of this information to individual circumstances.