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Fencing in Christchurch? Can I ask a neighbour to contribute to the cost of a new fence?

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Yes. Generally, if you want to build a fence on a common boundary with your neighbour, or upgrade an existing one, you can expect the neighbour to go halves on the bill for an "adequate" fence.

That is, one that is "reasonably satisfactory" for the purpose it is intended to serve.

Discuss your plans with your neighbour before you start putting in the fence-posts, though, and try to keep the proposal reasonable. They are entitled to object if they disagree about what is appropriate.

If you can not reach an agreement, or your neighbour refuses to pay half, there is a formal process you can follow. First, you must serve your neighbour with a "fencing notice".

What should the "fencing notice" say?

The notice should state that it is served under the Fencing Act 1978 and contain the names and addresses of both you and your neighbour. It must describe:

  • The boundary to be fenced.
  • The type of fence to be built.
  • Who will build the fence.
  • The estimated total cost.
  • How materials are to be purchased.
  • The start date for work.

It must also explain that your neighbour has 21 days to object to any aspect of the proposal and make any counter proposals. It must say that if your neighbour does not accept liability, you must be told within 21 days the reason why and be given the name and address of whoever your neighbour believes is liable.

The notice must also say that if your neighbour makes no communication within 21 days, they will be deemed to have agreed to the proposals and will have to share the cost.

Remember to sign and date the notice, and keep a copy for yourself. You can deliver it by registered letter or in person. This is called "serving notice".

If you have trouble preparing your notice, refer to a copy of the Fencing Act. A sample notice is included in the schedules to the Act, as are some useful descriptions of various different types of fences.

For information visit the Consumer NZ website. 


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