When building a fence or retaining wall, you should consider the types of materials you could choose and how the fence’s location affects the use of materials and ownership, including costs shared with neighbours and maintenance.

Approvals

You will need development approval for a fence between a privately owned property and unleased Territory land (including areas such as parks, reserves, public access areas, street frontage, a laneway and other landscaped buffer areas) unless exempt from requiring an approval. All fences are built and maintained at the cost of the private property owner.

You will not need development approval for:

Most fences and walls are exempt from building approval but you may consider a survey to ensure the fence is built in the correct location and that no encroachments are made.

Restrictions

Even if no approval is required, restrictions may apply to your situation. For instance:

Ownership

Private property owners who share side or rear fences are each responsible for half the cost and maintenance of a basic urban fence. The basic urban fence is 1.5m high and made of hardwood palings. Other fence types can be erected if allowed and neighbours agree on the design and cost beforehand.

If you and your neighbour cannot agree, contact the Conflict Resolution Service or make an application to the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (ACAT)

More information

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