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  1. #1
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    Default Advice regarding neighbours and boundary fencing issues

    As the title says, I need some advice regarding our neighbours (not family members) and boundary fencing - in particular retaining walls. (if this is in the wrong section I apologise, wasnt sure where to post it).

    We bought our house 6 years ago, within about 12 months of being here our houdini of a dog managed to figure out that the retaining wall into our neighbours yard was not installed properly, and dug her way through it. This has happened a few times now, (once when we were on holidays) and our neighbour leaves his side gate open and just lets our dog run off, doesnt even bother to try to contain her until we get home that day. We put temporary measures on our side of the fence to stop her from getting through, (chicken wire so she cant dig) but this wears away over time and she gets out again.

    The whole street has had the same dodgy retaining walls put in, and over the years we have seen all the homes along the street replacing them. We have approached the guy next door about replacing his 4 times now, offered to pay for half, and he always says he will get quotes and get back to us but never does.

    The wall has now gotten so bad that the aluminium fence sitting on top of it has nothing left underneath it, and the only thing holding it up is the attachment to the rear boundary fence. It is leaning very badly in his direction and looks like it will fall at any time. Aside from the issues with my dog, his grandchildren live with him and play out in the yard and Im worried that the fence will fall down and hurt one of them and I refuse to let my DS out in our yard because it is a safety hazard.

    We are on the high side of the wall, meaning that the retaining wall is in his yard, anyone who was to replace it would have to gain access through his house. As I said, we have contacted him on 4 separate occasions over the past 5 years and he just refuses to have anything to do with fixing it. My hubby contacted the council last week, they came out to have a look but said its a private matter and they want nothing to do with it.

    So, does anyone have any advice for me, on who is actually legally responsible for the wall (him or us), and how I can force him to get it fixed? Ill also add that in the 5 years since all this has happened, he has built a garden shed in the back yard and a pergola on the back of his house so it obviously isnt a cashflow problem

    Sorry for the long post, but I have no idea what to do.

  2. #2
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    in wa you have to write them a letter of you intentions. Include that the fence is a safety issue, that you have 3 quotes (incl a photocopy) and a time frame for them to respond in writing. You need to do a first letter, a 2nd letter with something along the lines of if we do not hear from you in regards to the fence being repaired we will be forced into taking legal action. The final step is to go o small claims court and sue them for half the cost of fence. Make sure you have photos of the damage to support your claim and also any documentation of any contact you have had. You are both required to pay 50% for the fencing if it is in the condition you say. Hes had 5 years to save for it. Goodluck

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    DmansMummy  (21-07-2013)

  4. #3
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    Why can't you get the quotes? And then let him know the prices and go halves in it?

    Over the years, my parents have had to replaced 3 lots of fencing (each side and the back fence).
    My dad got quotes for 2 lots and the went halved with that neighbour. The last one, they got quotes for materials & built it themselves with the neighbour (sharing the cost of materials)

    Edit: I hope the above doesn't sound rude! Didn't intend it to be
    Last edited by trying4no2; 21-07-2013 at 19:38.

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    Retaining walls can be very expensive, we replaced one at a rental this year, standard town block, and it was $10,000, which is obviously a lot of money, he is probably not super pumped about the cost.

    I would get the quotes myself so you know the score, and go from there. Retaining walls seem to be a bit of a grey area, it is not as straight forward as fences seem to be. Good luck.

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  7. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by trying4no2 View Post
    Why can't you get the quotes? And then let him know the prices and go halves in it?

    Over the years, my parents have had to replaced 3 lots of fencing (each side and the back fence).
    My dad got quotes for 2 lots and the went halved with that neighbour. The last one, they got quotes for materials & built it themselves with the neighbour (sharing the cost of materials)

    Edit: I hope the above doesn't sound rude! Didn't intend it to be
    Not rude at all

    We have tried getting quotes, he always says that he wants to get his own as well to compare, and never does. It is a bit hard for us to get them as well, as the retaining wall is in his yard, therefore whoever is doing the quoting needs to get access into his yard to see what they are quoting for.

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    Quote Originally Posted by onkybear View Post
    in wa you have to write them a letter of you intentions. Include that the fence is a safety issue, that you have 3 quotes (incl a photocopy) and a time frame for them to respond in writing. You need to do a first letter, a 2nd letter with something along the lines of if we do not hear from you in regards to the fence being repaired we will be forced into taking legal action. The final step is to go o small claims court and sue them for half the cost of fence. Make sure you have photos of the damage to support your claim and also any documentation of any contact you have had. You are both required to pay 50% for the fencing if it is in the condition you say. Hes had 5 years to save for it. Goodluck
    Thanks for that, I am in NSW but approaching him in writing with copies of quotes might be a good way to go.

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    If it's along the boundary line I'm pretty sure you can just replace it and he has to pay half.

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    Blessedwith3boys  (22-07-2013)

  11. #8
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    If its part of the adjoining fence you can have it done yourself, provide him with half of the cost. He has to pay it. If he doesn't you take him to court.
    You do not need to get 3 quotes, just the receipt of the cost once done.
    I suggest taking photos too. We went through all this with our neighbour years back, we got the advice of a lawyer who advised what I have mentioned.

  12. #9
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    Subbing. We have the same sort of problem, only no retaining wall, just regular fences.

  13. #10
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    I've just had issues with our neighbour regarding a fence which ended up in court.
    I'd suggest before you try legal action try contacting the Community Justice Centre to organize independent mediation between you two. He may refuse to and has the right to but then when you do have to go to court it makes it look like you have done everything you can to work it out before you got to court. It's a free service. Take with you some quotes so you are ready to go.
    If he still plays up when you go to court the magistrate will look in your favour for initiating it.
    If you go to court without it, that's exactly where the magistrate will send you anyway.
    If he's agreeable it might save you the hassle of court.
    If he is anything like my neighbour you will be in and out of court with him for years


 

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