This page contains information about property owners responsibilities for fencing.

If you are building a fence it is wise to plan carefully so that your fence adds to your property rather than detracting from it.

Resource and Building Consent

The Tasman Resource Management Plan allows a maximum height of 1.8m, any higher and resource consent is required. 

Under the Building Act 2004, Schedule 1: Fencing is listed as Exempt Building Work which allows fences 2m high to be built before Building Consent is required.  Property owners building a fence must comply with both requirements.

Neighbours and Fencing

Whether you live in rural or urban areas, disputes over boundary fences are a common fallout between neighbours. However your legal rights are clear cut and covered by the Fencing Act 1978.

The basic rule is that occupiers of adjoining land which is not divided by an adequate fence must contribute equally to work on the fence. For some owners, a suitable solution may be that one owner provides the labour while the other supplies the materials.

When Neighbours Disagree About a Fence

Problems arise when one owner won't agree to contribute toward the costs of the fence, or where owners are unable to agree on the type of construction the fence should be.

There are also potential hassles when one owner's desire to build a high or specially designed fence (like those for swimming pools), goes beyond the justification for a full half share of the fence by the other party. 

Another conflict can arise if the fence is not built exactly on the boundary line. It may have to be removed and rebuilt. If the boundary pegs cannot be found, it will be necessary to employ a surveyor who will locate the pegs or re-peg the boundary for you.

To avoid getting into a legal battle - try and reach a compromise. If you reach agreement, put the details in writing and ensure both parties have a copy.

In the agreement specify:

  • which part of the boundary is to be fenced
  • the design (a diagram will suffice)
  •  the type of materials to be used
  •  how much each is paying for the cost of the work
  •  who is doing the work
  •  when the work is to be carried out

If these details are covered in a written agreement and your neighbour attempts to back out, you should be able to enforce the agreement in court.

When Reason Fails

If the parties are unable to reach agreement over the fence do not start any work.

There is a procedure to follow and this is outlined in the Fencing Act.

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