Do you know who is responsible for the fencing at your property? Is it the Body Corporate, the lot owners, or the neighbour?
Fencing is an item that, as Body Corporate Managers, we deal with on a very regular basis including obtaining quotes for replacement or repairs, completion of forms to neighbours, responding to queries on who is responsible for contributing to replacement or repairs etc.
Whilst the Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997 is relevant to determining responsibility for building and maintaining dividing fences to the extent that it clarified which persons are considered adjoining owners under the Neighbourhood Disputes Resolution Act 2011, any disputes about dividing fences are covered under the Neighbourhood Disputes Resolution act 2011 and this is the legislation that should be referred to when dealing with fencing.
The adjudicators order that we have reviewed this month was lodged by a lot owner against the Body Corporate and an order was sought that the Body Corporate seek reimbursement from another lot owner for half of the cost of replacing the dividing fence between the lot and the common property.
To clarify, if a fence separates two lots the cost of replacement or repair is equally shared between the 2 lot owners, if a fence separates a lot from common property the cost of replacement or repaired is equally shared between the lot owner and the body corporate and if the fence separates the body corporate from a neighbouring property the cost of replacement or repair is equally shared between the body corporate and the neighbouring owner.
The applicant in this instance noted in the application that the body corporate resolved to accept a quote from a contractor for replacement of the dividing fence between Unit 8 and the common property which was in a state of disrepair – however the body corporate had paid the full replacement and had not sought reimbursement from the lot owner for their share of the replacement.
The adjudicator, having reviewed survey plans of the complex, confirmed that the dividing fence was the boundary between Unit 8 and the common property and further noted that maintenance of the fence between lot 8 and common property is the joint responsibility of the owner of lot 8 and the body corporate. Therefore, the cost of repairs to the fence dividing lot 8 from the common property, should be shared equally by the owner of lot 8 and the body corporate.
A ruling was therefore made that, within 30 days of the date of this order the body corporate is to take action to recover the amount from the lot owner for the cost of their share of the replacement dividing fence.
The full order can be read here.
More information about dividing fences can be read here