Backyard ban­ter

Central Leader - - NEWS - By SARAH MOORE

Brought to you by neigh­bourly.co.nz Think­ing about build­ing a new fence?

Some­times it’s eas­ier said than done and it’s not usu­ally a de­ci­sion you can make on your own.

What you can and can’t do is pretty clear un­der the Fenc­ing Act 1978 if you share a fence with neigh­bours.

The act is black and white – stat­ing cat­e­gor­i­cally that all af­fected neigh­bours should split the bill for an ‘‘ad­e­quate’’ bound­ary fence that is ‘‘rea­son­ably sat­is­fac­tory’’.

That means it’s high time for a chat if your neigh­bour wants to erect a gold-plated fence but you think a clas­sic wooden model would do the job just as well.

It’s es­sen­tial to dis­cuss shared bound­ary fenc­ing plans be­fore you get too far ahead of your­self.

All go­ing well, both par­ties will agree to split the bill down the mid­dle and that’s the end of the story.

But there is an of­fi­cial process to fol­low if some­one ob­jects to the pro­posal.

A ‘fenc­ing no­tice’ (see the Fenc­ing Act for a tem­plate) gives both par­ties room to ap­peal and ne­go­ti­ate.

An of­fi­cial fenc­ing no­tice should state that it’s served un­der the Fenc­ing Act 1978; in­clude the full name and ad­dresses of all the peo­ple af­fected; the type of bound­ary fence you want to build; who will build it, how much it will cost, and when con­struc­tion will start.

It also needs to give your neigh­bours 21 days to for­mally ob­ject to the pro­posal and the chance, if they don’t want to help pay for it, to say who should and why.

The no­tice should also clearly state that if your neigh­bours don’t come back to you within 21 days they agree to the pro­posal by de­fault, ef­fec­tively lose their right to com­plain and will have to split the cost as pro­posed.

A neigh­bour ob­ject­ing to your pro­posal or not want­ing a new fence should serve you with a cross­no­tice, out­lin­ing ex­actly why they ob­ject, sug­gest­ing al­ter­na­tive op­tions, and reach­ing you within 21 days.

The point of the fence no­tice process is to get both par­ties’ ob­jec­tions out on the ta­ble in or­der to come up with a so­lu­tion that ev­ery­one agrees on.

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