Recently a client contacted us concerned about how to erect a fence on the boundary line between their property and their neighbour’s. Our client explained;
“I have a young child and for safety reasons, I think a fence should be in place. I have raised the issue casually with my neighbour and even offered to pay for all the costs. My neighbour is not sure what to do as there has been no fence between the properties for over 25 years. We have been neighbours for almost five years and have lived peacefully the entire time. I don’t want to rock the boat with my neighbour, but I don’t want to compromise my child’s safety either. What can I do to resolve the issue?”
The Fences Act 1968 contains rules about who pays for a dividing fence, the type of fence to be built, notices that neighbours need to give one another and how to resolve disputes that come up between parties when negotiating fencing work and any other subsidiary works.
Before taking any legal action, it is strongly recommended that the parties seek advice and/or mediation through the Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria (DSCV). The DSCV offers a free service that is conducted by an experienced and accredited mediator who remains impartial throughout the mediation process.
Mediations are confidential and participation is voluntary for all parties. However; before embarking on mediation, consideration should be given to the following:
- Whether parties are prepared to enter the mediation in good faith and have a genuine desire to resolve the dispute;
- Whether the parties are able to understand and participate in the mediation process;
- Whether any parties are affected by mental health issues or are vulnerable in some other capacity;
- Whether there has been any history of violence between the parties;
- Whether there have been any previous failed attempts at mediation; and
- Whether the issue is substantial enough to mediate.
At the mediation, the mediator will assist the parties in exploring the live issues in the dispute, develop options and consider alternatives in an attempt to reach a resolution.
If the dispute does not resolve at mediation, the matter can still be taken to court.
For further information on property disputes, please contact Lynda Lim for a full and frank discussion.
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