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Neighbourhood Disputes (Dividing Fences and Trees) Act 2011 – 1 September 2015

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Neighbourhood Disputes (Dividing Fences and Trees) Act 2011 – 1 September 2015

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If there is no sufficient dividing fence between 2 parcels of land (other than agricultural land and other less common forms of land holding), an adjoining owner is liable to contribute to carrying out fencing work for a sufficient dividing fence. Generally neighbours must contribute equally. Exception: If one neighbour wants a higher standard fence above what is sufficient, they contribute to the extent necessary to deliver the higher standard fence. What is defined as a fence has a wide definition and can include a hedge, cattle grid and natural watercourse. A residential land dividing fence is to be generally between 0.5m and 1.8m in height. A pastoral land dividing fence is generally to be sufficient to restrain livestock.

  • Sections 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 16, 18, 20, 21

If a dividing fence is damaged or destroyed by a negligent or deliberate act of an owner of land or a person who has entered the owner’s land with their express consent, the owner must restore the dividing fence to a reasonable standard.

  • Section 26

Things that unreasonably alter or damage a dividing fence must not be attached to a dividing fence without the consent of the adjoining owner. ‘Things’ include carports, shade sails, signs, etc.

  • Section 27

If an owner wants an adjoining owner to contribute to fencing work, the owner must generally give a notice to contribute in the approved form to the adjoining owner. This notice is to be accompanied by a copy of at least 1 written quotation stating the estimated cost of the fencing work to be carried out.

  • Sections 30, 31, 32

If an owner constructs or demolishes a dividing fence without authorisation, the adjoining owner may apply to QCAT for an order requiring the owner to remove, modify or rectify the fence.

  • Section 39

Trees are to be properly cared for and maintained by the land’s owner. There is a responsibility to cut and remove branches that overhang a neighbour’s property. There is also a responsibility to ensure a tree does not cause serious injury to a person; serious damage to a person’s land or any property on a person’s land; or substantial, ongoing and unreasonable interference with a person’s use and enjoyment of the person’s land. A neighbour may provide a formal notice to a land’s owner to cut and remove overhanging branches (if the overhang is at least 50cm from the common boundary and 2.5m or less above the ground). This notice is to be accompanied by at least one written quotation stating the estimated cost of the work; and a copy of Chapter 3, Part 4 of this Act. If a neighbour’s land is (otherwise) affected by a tree, the neighbour may apply to QCAT for resolution of the issue. Note: this Act does not apply to trees situated on rural land or a parcel of land that is more than 4 hectares.

  • Sections 41, 42, 45, 46, 48, 49, 52, 53, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 62, 63, 65, 66, 70, 78

If a person is selling land affected by a QCAT tree application or order, the person must give the buyer a copy of the application or order before the buyer enters into a contract of sale for the land unless the person has a reasonable excuse. If notice is not given, the buyer may terminate the contract at any time before the contract settles by giving a signed, dated notice of termination (complying with section 86) to the seller or the seller’s agent. If the contract is terminated, the seller and the person who is acting for the seller and prepared the contract are liable to the buyer for the reasonable legal and other expenses incurred by the buyer in relation to the contract after the buyer signed the contract. If notice is not given and the contract settles, the seller remains liable to carry out work required under any pre-contract QCAT tree order.

  • Sections 4, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, Schedule

Pre-entry written notice of at least 7 days is generally required prior to a person (or their employee or agent) entering another person’s land to carry out fencing work or work relating to trees pursuant to an agreement or QCAT order.

  • Section 94
Reason for law

To provide rules about each neighbour’s responsibility for dividing fences and for trees so that neighbours are generally able to resolve issues about fences or trees without a dispute arising. (Section 3)

Relevant links

Settling Disputes Out of Court [Queensland Government]

Disputes about fences, trees and buildings [including Notice to neighbours]
Dividing fence disputes [Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal]
Tree disputes [Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal]
Tree orders register
Dividing fences [Department of Housing and Public Works]
Fencing and boundary disputes [Brisbane City Council]
Protected vegetation [Brisbane City Council]
(See your local government website for its policies/information)
Self Help Kits – Caxton Legal Centre Inc

Verge gardens (Brisbane City Council)

Critique

N/A

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PLEASE NOTE: The information published on this webpage may be out-of-date. Please compare the currency date of the Act/Regulation against that published on the Office of the Queensland Parliamentary Counsel website. If you require access to Commonwealth statute law, please visit the ComLaw website. If you require access to the local council laws (by-laws), please visit the Local laws database.

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