This week, lawyer Savina Yang and I discuss how strata buildings might go about solving a boundary fence dispute with their adjoining neighbour

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54 Responses

  1. Hi , what rights does an owner have erecting a front property fence to secure the common property from the road. Our common property has no boundary fence and the other Lot owner does not want one. I have seen an unauthorized male on the property, one Lot is used for short term rental, which means children of paying guests are on the unfenced common property and I also have a young child. Adults are responsible for children on the property but accidents happen which is why pool fences are mandatory. As the fence neighbor would be council do I need to get council consent. Thankyou Britt

  2. Hi Britt,

    You will need the other owner’s consent to build that fence (section 108, Strata Schemes Management Act).

    If you want to build the fence at your own cost and be responsible for its ongoing repair and maintenance, then you need to first:

    • Look at the by-laws of your strata scheme. Some strata schemes have by-laws that permit owners to install structures on common property to prevent harm to children, without the consent of the owners corporation.

    • If there is no by-law to the above effect, then you may seek the Owners Corporation’s approval to allow you to build a fence. This can be done by proposing a by-law which sets out the proposed works, as well as specifying that you bear the responsibility of the ongoing maintenance of the fence. This is also covered under section 108 of the Strata Schemes Management Act.

    Amanda (with thanks to Savina Yang for her assistance with this response).

    1. Thankyou Amanda and Savina your reply was very helpful. My strata was registered in 1985 so we have 19 model bylaws which are automatically ours .( your Strata manager podcast guest Melissa pointed this out to me) by law 5 (3) (c) : Damage to common property : which allows an owner to install any structure or device to prevent harm to children. By law 5 (4) states any such structure or device must be installed in a competent and proper manner and must be in keeping with the appearance of the rest of the building.
      I look forward to your next podcast

  3. Hi there, What are my rights with regards to a boundary fence which is also acting as a pool fence.. it is in desperate need of repair. There are 2 properties on one lot but the pool is not common property?

    1. Hi S, pool fences that are in part boundary fences (or vice versa) must comply with both the pool fencing and boundary fencing requirements: eg they must be at least 1800m high (otherwise 1200mm for a pool fence that is not a boundary fence). This is a helpful place to start:
      I am not sure if it’s you or your neighbour who has the pool, but any extra expense for the boundary fence as a result of the pool must be met by the owner of the property that contains the pool. See Swimming Pools Act 1992, section 33:

      1. Hi Amanda, I’m in need of clarification.. so I do not have the pool, the pool is in my neighbors yard and on the boundary fence dividing our properties… in reading your attachments.. I understand it as being my neighbor who is responsible for paying for the fence… we do not have a body corporate.. we are under a strata scheme.. so when the 2 properties where built the owner left the existing pool so we have a very skinny path down the side of the pool to access our yard.. we have the pool filtration on our property so there is a gate for access at the back of the pool so they can have pool men work and clean pool.. anyway I’m at the point now of paying up thousands of dollars (40m of fencing!!!) or fighting this.. but I need sufficient information detailing what or if we should or should not be paying.. my husband believes we should not as it was a tree on her property which started this off.. could you please advise or provide me with clarity ASAP.. I need to respond to her tomorrow. Kind regards, S

        1. Unfortunately, Amanda is not able to assist via this website with the level of detail you require. We recommend you obtain your own legal advice.

  4. hi, would like to enquire if we have a dividing fence between our backyard garden to a Reserve, is it part of Strata schemes?

    1. Hi Ling, thanks for your question. It’s not possible for me to answer that without knowing more about your property. The applicable plans will tell us whether or not the property is part of a strata scheme.

  5. Hi, Amanda. I need to fence up my titled land area for the protection of my kids. One part of the fence would be between the common property and my land . My neighbor is not giving me the consent for that part due to some stange reason which is not clear. Can I build the fence without his consent??

    1. Hi Pubudu,

      Thanks for the question. I cannot answer with certainty without seeing your by-laws and strata plan, but if your strata scheme has a by-law in place that permits owners to install a “structure or safety device to prevent harm to children” without the approval of the owners corporation, then you can go ahead without that approval, on the basis the fence is proposed to ensure the safety of your kids.

  6. Our lot property faces the road and does not have a fence for privacy. In front of our unit, there is a strip of our lot land between our unit and the common property and the road. Are we able to erect a fence between our lot and the common property?

    1. Hi Gil, as the fence will be changing the external appearance of the building, you will need approval from the Owners Corporation. I suggest write to the secretary (or strata manager) if you have one, let them know what you plan to do and ask them what their requirements are.

  7. I am in a Strata Plan , we have no back fence , which is on a Boundry that would normaly be the responsiblity of the Body Corp, with someone outside of our srata plan , my Strata people say a bylaw was passed saying that each indivdual lot owner is responsible for their own boundry fence , when I asked to see that Bylaw ,it could not be cited anywhere, it was said long ago that each lot owner was responsible for their Boundry fence

  8. Hi
    What are the responsibilities of and legal standing of owners/strata body for changes to front fences of lots adjoining council land? The front boundary fence has two lots met with common property (driveway and remote gate) in the middle.
    Thank you

    1. Hi Stefanie, I’d suggest your first enquiry should be with your local council. Some will have requirements when it comes to changing the external appearance of the property. Others won’t. Also, if access to council land is required in order to do the work, Council probably needs to be notified and will have some guidelines around that.

  9. Hi,
    I am renting a unit in an apartment on the ground floor where the fencing facing the road is only 1.2 metres tall as such any car or person walking by has clear vision into my unit, invading me privacy and sense of securityity. Am I allowed to erect a larger screen to block vision or notify the owners corporations to renovate and extend their fencing?

    1. Hi Sam, as this will no doubt affect the external appearance of the property, it’s likely you will require the approval of your owners corporation before erecting a larger screen. You’d probably get away with some plantings if a screen/fence is not approved. Would that help?

  10. I own one of four strata title units with joining walls and would like to erect a fence less than 2 metres on my lot seperating it from a common land driveway running past all four units. This is for privacy reasons and will match the fence at the front of the units. Do I need permission from body corporate or manager

  11. Hi
    We are a private residence who shares a boundary fence with a large group of villas. The boundary fence has rot, termite damage and about 10% of fence palings missing. We have 3 quotes for a replacement fence but the strata manager says the body corporate is happy with the fence because on their side of the fence they have plants hiding it. However, on our side we have no privacy as we can see through the plants, we can’t keep our small dogs in the yard because they walk through the gaps. We don’t feel safe. The strata manager is adamant that they don’t have to pay for a replacement. Is this true? I have applied for mediation with Community and Justice and waiting. However, whilst I have read the fencing act, I’m not a lawyer. What do you think I should do?
    Kind regards

  12. My Lot has exclusive use of a courtyard, bordered by common property and public footpath. I am the only ground floor Lot, the others have balconies. The fence around the courtyard also is a safety barrier as it property is considerably lower than the the public footpath that runs along it’s length and also security to my front door (in courtyard) from public access. The fence is badly in need of replacement. Some years back the body corporate approved the fence to be replaced but was put off for more immediate common property repairs.
    Question: is the cost of replacement the responsibility of the body corporate?

    1. Hi Noelene, if the fence is common property, it should be maintained by the body corporate. You may need to check the strata plan and any relevant by-laws to be sure that the fence is common property.

  13. Question….At a recent strata committee meeting a motion was put to decide whether the fence between a lot and the common property should be lattice or paling. Three of the six owners voted for palings. One owner has refused to accept the decision and is seeking mediation. I have read that the dividing fences act does not apply in this situation. Is this correct? Secondly the decision has been deferred and will be discussed again at the AGM. At this meeting am I correct in saying a poll vote could be called? In this event the three owners in favour of the palings hold 51% of the unit entitlements. Would this decision then be binding on all owners? Appreciate your assistance. Thank you

    1. Hi Paul, yes it’s correct the Dividing Fences act does not apply in the context of a fence dividing lot property from common property. Yes, you can call for a poll vote when the motion is next considered. Is this new fence replacing an existing? If it is work that can be described as “repair and maintenance” then yes, you only need a majority of unit entitlements to vote in favour of the paling fence, the motion will pass and the decision binding. However, if this new fence is an ‘upgrade’ on the old, then a special resolution will be required: the motion will not pass if more than 25% vote against it, calculated on a unit entitlement basis.

  14. Hi,

    I owned a unit in a strata titled properties. My neighbour wants to build a dividing fence along with the common property between our 2 units. The common area is a narrow strip, 2 meters in width, 7 meters in length (roughly). The neighbours want it to add more privacy and security to her unit. We don’t want it because the fence will block access of our bins to our backyard. When we move the bins to our backyard, we walk through the common area to the backyard. The fence will also block sun from our sun windows.

    Can she build a fence without my consent? Shall I talk to the Body Corp or strata manager about it? Does she need an approval from the Body Corp to do the work?

  15. Hi We have a draconian body corporate that insists we cannot put a screen on our side of our fence on the balcony or even use cable ties to hold some fake plant screens for privacy. The excuse is changing appearance but its on the property and below fence height – these fences are see through and completely useless for privacy. A neighbour got told off for using cable ties to hold some fake screening on their side being told they are not allowed to put it there. Another neighbour was told they can not have storage on their balcony. the only by law being references is preserving the integrity of the design (which is ugly). Another neighbour wants to secure a post onto his property tiles but is told he cannot screw anything into the tiles on the ground or on the walls even on his side. Noone should be looking in but the property manager goes around like a peeping tom. This seems to be too literal and overt an interpretation of the bylaws and is abusing privacy rights of apartment owners. Is there a precedent for this? Ive never come across something like this and we are not talking about cheap apartments but very expensive overpriced ones.

  16. I share a dividing fence with a neighbour in a strata townhouse complex. Are they allowed to to hang something on their side of the fence BUT have the attaching hooks over the fence on my side? It now make my side of the fence look rather unappealing.

    1. Hi Deborah, your neighbour should not be hanging anything on their side that then encroaches in any way on your side. Have a chat to your neighbour about it, perhaps they don’t realise how it looks from your side.

  17. Re: retain wall’s maintenance responsibility

    could you answer me retain wall maintenance.
    the fence is standing on the retain wall.
    retainwall hight about 1000mm high.

    My house stand on low place and his on higher

    The upper side house owner always careful of lower liver.
    If it’s collaspes brings big trouble.

    The Retain wall is old and made by logs.
    Retained Soil looks soften. It maybe rain water gutters trouble.
    The pave blocks are laying on the soil.
    The layed pave block are messed and my side retain wall is crumbleed
    little by little.

    Last week, he organized retain wall renovation worked.
    The work takes couple of days.
    The New wooden retain wall is replaced.
    1000mm x 7000mm sized New wooden retain wall installed by timber pole and timber pannels.

    Adjoiner demand me $1300.00 half of total cost.
    I think Retain wall maintenance is fully adjoiners resposibilty.
    Do I have to pay?
    If pay, how much money?

    30 jan 2022.

    best regards,

  18. Hi Amanda, I’m wondering if you can clear up the rules around the fence responsibility.

    In the strata drawings there are thick lines represents a common wall and therefore the responsibility of the Owner’s corporation. There are also thin lines which are treated in accordance with the Dividing Fences Act. For my complex the thick lines are drawn in between 2 lots only on the fences within the property whereas all the perimeter fence is a thick line.

    Do the strata lines (thick) trump the Dividing fences act or is it the other way around?

    1. Hi Sam, not sure if there is a typo in the above. You mention “the thick lines are drawn in between 2 lots only on the fences within the property whereas all the perimeter fence is a thick line”. Is one of those “thick”s meant to be a “thin”?
      Whether or not the Dividing Fences Act is relevant depends on whether the fence divides lot property from common property (in which case, the strata legislation applies, not the Dividing Fences Act) or whether the fence divides lot/common property from a neighbouring property that is not part of the strata plan. In that case, Dividing Fences Act applies.


  19. Hi Amanda, thanks for the reply. No there is no typo. There are both thin and thick lines on our strata plan however where you would typically see a thin line there is a thick line instead ie. Between 2 lots the strata plan has a thick line instead of a thin line.

    From your comment it looks like since there are both thick and thin lines our strata plan does divide lot property from common property. In our case it would then mean that the strata legislation applies not the Dividing Fences Act.

    Have you come across any situations where the owners corporation has fixed fences based on the Dividing Fences Act but didn’t realise the Strata plan denoted other responsibility/ownership? I’m asking this because in the past the owners corporation has fixed the fences which they are not responsible for not realising that the Strata plan states a different set of fence repair responsibilities. Does this set a precedence for having to continually fix them even though the right way is to follow the Strata plan legislation ie thick and thin lines?

  20. Hi Amanda,
    If I own both (all) units included in the strata, can I erect a fence on common land, which will prevent access of property 1 to a small strip of common land, if this is the only way to safely fence the yard of lot 2 to protect children from drive way traffic?
    How do I get this formally agreed upon by our (lapsed) strata prior to putting the houses up for sale. And who could advise me on this? Thanks, Emma

    1. Hi Emma, yes, you should create a by-law making clear that the Owners Corporation has erected the fence and that it is responsible for its future repair and maintenance. I can help you with this. Just email for a quote. Be sure to send us your strata plan number and address.

  21. If you live beside a council block or a little park land who has to pay for the fencing is it half council and half owner

  22. Can you tell me if a neighbour can build above the top of a fence with a privacy fence and paint it in a different colour to the strata scheme. She wishes to block out our extension which has been there for 12 years. It’s going to be 8 feet long by 2 foot high

    1. Hi Barbara, generally speaking, the owner of a strata lot cannot change the external appearance of the lot without first seeking the approval of the Owners Corporation.
      These are the types of questions I am assisting members of our online community with every day. I hope you’ll consider joining us on the inside? More info and instant access over here:


  23. Hi Amanda,
    I have a ground floor apartment with a courtyard that faces into a common garden/children’s playground. My courtyard also directly backs a thoroughfare that is used as access to the entrance/exit of the building and the gym. It is a high traffic walkway and a frequently used playground. My fence includes a gate with access to the garden but the height is only 1.4 metres and slatted so essentially everyone that passes can see directly into my courtyard and subsequently my lounge and bedroom. I have ask strata if I could extend the fence up to 1.8m but apparently its a lengthy/pricey process. Is there anyway I can extend the fenceline without going through strata or is strata responsible for increasing the height at all given my privacy is reduced. I just want to be able to sit in my yard without worrying that everyone that passes will look in. I note that the other properties with courtyards have 1.4m high fences but do not have anywhere near the passing traffic as mine does/they don’t back walkways. I also note that originally a built-in planter box with hedges was supposed to create the extra height but this had to be removed as it was causing water damage to the property. Apologies for the lengthy question and thanks in advance for any assistance.

    1. Demelza, this is quite a question! To be able to provide you with accurate guidance, I would need some more detail. The best place for us to continue this discussion is over in our members-only Q&A forum. You can get immediate access here For now, what I can say is that if you are changing the external appearance of your lot, you will almost certainly require your owners corporation’s approval.

  24. Hi, Our strata removed a fence which was on boundary of our land in tile and the next Strata stage. This fence was bringing privacy to our house entry and now we are exposed to the next door apartment windows on house entry. This has been done without our agreement. can they do this? We are in NSW. thanks for your help!

    1. Hi Beh, if the fence was common property, it’s possible that a special resolution needed to be passed at a general meeting before the fence was removed. It’s hard to say without further details about your specific situation.

      The best place for us to continue to discuss this is in the QandA Forum, which is part of our online membership community. Your immediate access is here:


  25. Hi Amanda- we have seven lots facing a small council park. There are no existing boundary fences. If 3 owners want to erect a boundary fence who is responsible for the cost & ongoing maintenance? in NSW
    Thank you

  26. Hi Amanda,

    Our by-laws include the following under cosmetic work not needing the approval of the Owners Corporation:

    (ix) installing any locking or other safety device to improve safety within your apartment,
    (x) installing any locking or other safety device for protection of your apartment against intruders,
    (xi) installing any screen or other device to prevent entry of animals or insects on your apartment,
    (xii) installing any structure or device to prevent harm to children,

    The front of our single story, fully detached, villa property faces the street with direct access to our daughter’s and our bedroom windows. We would like install a fence along the private boundary dividing fence with our neighbours (who have agreed to pay half) and to continue it across the front of our property which is common property and then common property dividing with council street frontage to protect our daughters and home from the road.

    Does this by-law cover that?

    Look forward to hearing from you.

    1. Hi A, you’ll probably find that that by-law is subject to the installation not impacting the external appearance of the lot or the building. It may not permit you to erect a fence.
      With more information, I can provide further guidance. The best place for that is inside our online membership community. You can join us here:


  27. Hello Amanada,
    I am a owner of a apartment in a strata unit block. We have a yard on the back and front of our title which is not common area. It is not in our bylaws that its to be available to other users as is the balconies of the units above us and on the second unit block.
    The land is ours and we would like to inprove the front on the unit and install a fence for privacy 1.75 high in a light weight rendered wall with timber panels to match the exsisting structures around us. We have approached the council and they donot need approval for this wall as there are no foundations as its light weight hebel. What requirements do we need to get from the strata and can they stop me from putting this wall up on my land (YARD) marked on the title. I would appreciate any help you can give me. There is 3 lower units and 3 upper units in the 1st group of appartments seperate from the other groups. the other 2 unit holders want to put the walls up too but are waiting for me to apply first.

    1. Hi Mary Jane, if your new fence is going to change the external appearance of your lot or of the building, it’s very likely you will require the approval of the owners corporation before you install it. You should check the building’s by-laws to see what, if anything, is said about structures that change the external appearance. Check in with your strata manager and/or strata committee, letting them know what you are proposing and seek their guidance.
      The best place to get my further assistance is inside my online membership community. You can find out more and join us here now:


  28. Hi Amanda,
    I live in a strata complex of 16 villa’s
    the existing fence is asbestos (I ask the strata over the last 29 years to replace it because health risk and the fence undersized so I don’t have any privacy on my backyard. The answer was , it will be only get replaced if is broken.
    Now 20 years later, the owners received an email regarding fence replacement.
    One side of the complex already had replaced fence in cream colour (all fixtures are cream colour) but now on my side of the complex the strata want to replace the fence with heritage green colour!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I don’t want green colour fence when everything is cream colour.
    Can I OBJECT????
    I do not want different colour just because one owner replaced her backyard with the dark green fence.
    What are my rights?
    thank you

  29. I live in a townhouse complex
    Recently the boundary fence has been refurbished with brushwood
    The fence is approximately 1.5 metres from my home
    Is this safe or even legal?

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