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69 posts

Master Geek
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Topic # 240077 19-Aug-2018 14:16
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As per picture above, our new neighbour just moved in and his house shares boundary with three houses - A, B & C. My house is B. All properties are freehold title. 

House A owns the land that has part of the shared driveway, but they don't use the shared driveway at all - the house is linked to the road.

There is a retaining wall (about 1m high) along the shared driveway, our neighbour being on the higher side.

 

The current fence is a wire-mesh fence like this one. It's about 1m-12.m high. I think its condition is adequate but the new neighbour wants it replaced.

 

Click to see full size

 

 

 

Our new neighbour wants a new 1.8m wooden paling fence along the shared driveway.

 

My questions are:

 

1. Do I need to contribute to the cost of a new fence? I think the fence is adequate (there might be a couple of small holes but it's at least repairable)
2. If I need to pay for the new fence, how much do I need to pay? Does the owner of house A need to pay? He doesn't use the driveway but owns part of it?
3. In regards to the height of the fence. Normally you can build a fence up to 2m but our house being on the lower side of the retaining wall is already 1m lower, if we put a 1.8m fence that'd be 2.8 meter fence for me. I couldn't find anything on Auckland Council's website but this is what I could find online. Which side of the retaining wall do you measure that 2m height restriction? 

 

From here, and here

 

Any fence on top of, or a part of, a retaining wall. If the whole is over 2 metres, but less than 3 metres, you will also need your neighbour’s consent.

 

 

 

Thanks for reading!

 

 


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  Reply # 2075772 19-Aug-2018 14:26
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What part of the country is this in?

 

I ask because in Wellington the Aitchison case has gone a long way towards defining where the measurement for a fence begins, esp. important in this hilly city. I don't know the rules around other jurisdictions, and when you say 2m that sounds like akl.

 

Your post also said house A owns the shared driveway where the fence is? Do you mean to say that all house own their portion of the driveway, or you all have a shared interest in the driveway? I found that sentence confusing.

 

Generally with fencing there is a significant body of law in NZ around mutual shared obligations etc. They can build the fence and give you a bill for your portion - I know a few people that have had that happen - but they can't reasonably come onto your property and do it without your consent.

 

Refusing to engage or have a conversation over it is NOT defensible in court, and of course it's usually better to engage and have a conversation. If you genuinely don't have the money or can't afford it, I don't know what the rules are around hardship etc; no court will bankrupt you over a share of fencing costs.

 

 





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  Reply # 2075814 19-Aug-2018 15:09
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How is the driveway owned?  If each of A, B and C own a third share, then my understanding (from being in a similar position), is that between the three of you, you're up for one half of the cost of the fence, with your new neighbour paying the other half - so the cost to you is one sixth of the total.

 

But, I think you could argue that there is already a serviceable fence, so nothing extra is needed.  In my case, there was no fence so it seemed reasonable to build one.

 

Just my opinion and experience


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  Reply # 2075815 19-Aug-2018 15:10
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According to Consumer you can serve the neighbour a cross-notice opposing to all or part of the proposed fence. If there are still objections it can go to the Disputes Tribunal who will decide if the current fence is sufficient.

 

https://www.consumer.org.nz/articles/fencing-law

 

http://communitylaw.org.nz/community-law-manual/chapter-25-neighbourhood-life/fences/

 

Assuming all 3 of you guys on your side own part of the driveway than all 3 would need to be involved, you can each service a notice opposing. It's on the new neighnour to get the ball rolling by serving a notice on all 3 of you if you don't agree with the plans.


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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 2075816 19-Aug-2018 15:17
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1&2. Yes/No/It Depends.. You need to check the easement for the driveway(is it for BC or ABC to see who will share any possible cost). Check out consumer nz, ask for a fencing notice and give them a cross-notice with your objections(ie fence is adaquate/repairs are cheaper than building a new fence and the height behind higher than 1.8m including the retaining wall). How does Hosue C feel about this? They would be paying a higher portion than you typically.


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  Reply # 2075817 19-Aug-2018 15:18
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I cant figure out for the life of me why Auckland used this type of fencing (short / wire).  I cant think of anywhere else this was used widespread other than Auckland. 

 

 

 

I guessing the new neighbor wants to get some privacy...given at the moment the whole lane can see in. 

 

 


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  Reply # 2075819 19-Aug-2018 15:22
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I don't know but if I was in your situation my answers to the above would be:

 

 

 

1. Do I need to contribute to the cost of a new fence? No. 

 


2. If I need to pay for the new fence, how much do I need to pay? No. Does the owner of house A need to pay? No.

 


3. In regards to the height of the fence. Normally you can build a fence up to 2m but our house being on the lower side of the retaining wall is already 1m lower, if we put a 1.8m fence that'd be 2.8 meter fence for me. I couldn't find anything on Auckland Council's website but this is what I could find online. Which side of the retaining wall do you measure that 2m height restriction? Why does it matter? you are not paying for it.


mdf

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  Reply # 2075821 19-Aug-2018 15:27
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Huh. We're in almost exactly the same position as your new neighbour - on the higher side of a shared driveway, with a retaining wall along the line of the drive. I've just fixed (my labour and I paid for the materials) a section of the retaining wall that wasn't in great nick, and am about to build a fence along the top of it. I haven't dreamed of asking the neighbours to contribute to either. The retaining wall is on our property so I assumed it was my obligation to fix. And only we will benefit from the fence, so again, I wouldn't ask someone else to pay for that.


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  Reply # 2075863 19-Aug-2018 16:59
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I find your description and diagram confusing. You say House A owns the land which is the shared driveway (red outline) - but then you show your boundary (turquoise outline) intersecting the red rectangle.

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  Reply # 2075866 19-Aug-2018 17:09
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I think the 1st thing to establish is where the actual boundary is. Your neighbour can only ask for contribution to a boundary fence. If for example the retaining wall was on their property the fence at the top would be probably set back from the boundary and would be their fence required because their wall had a 1m drop.

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  Reply # 2075871 19-Aug-2018 17:26
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We have been though this recently, as we had a hedge, and the neighbour wanted a fence to keep their dog in, due to the hedge still letting the dog cross the boundary. So it would have benefited them entirely. The hedge provided all the privacy we needed. IANAL, but there are examples of an specimen fence, and a 3 horizontal bar timber fence, is apparently one of the suggestions. But it isn't just restricted to those examples, as iot all comes down to what a person wants the fence for. Combining what you have plus growing up hedging could be an option. Also look what other neighbours do in the area. You should be able to work out a solution with the neighbour.


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  Reply # 2075874 19-Aug-2018 17:35
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eracode: I find your description and diagram confusing. You say House A owns the land which is the shared driveway (red outline) - but then you show your boundary (turquoise outline) intersecting the red rectangle.

 

I read it that each house (ABC) owns the section of driveway up to the boundary of the "new neighbour's" house.

 

Not sure if I can add anything, except to suggest read the council district plan WRT fence heights and also re driveway widths and any other requirements.  Oh - and a suggestion, the new neighbour has a much bigger and grander looking place, do try to sort it out amicably, 'cause if it turns in to Holy War, matching his legal fund might be more that you three would want to face.  I wouldn't want to look at a wooden paling fence in that situation, I'd be prepared to dig into pockets and see if perhaps something nicer could be agreed upon - sharing some costs even if that's not strictly required.


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  Reply # 2075875 19-Aug-2018 17:40
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mattwnz:

 

We have been though this recently, as we had a hedge, and the neighbour wanted a fence to keep their dog in, due to the hedge still letting the dog cross the boundary. So it would have benefited them entirely. The hedge provided all the privacy we needed. IANAL, but there are examples of an specimen fence, and a 3 horizontal bar timber fence, is apparently one of the suggestions. But it isn't just restricted to those examples, as iot all comes down to what a person wants the fence for. Combining what you have plus growing up hedging could be an option. Also look what other neighbours do in the area. You should be able to work out a solution with the neighbour.

 

 

We dog-proofed our hedges (to council "responsible dog owner" status) simply by running 600mm high chain-link tied back into the hedge - with the occasional waratah in some places. Had to be a bit careful when trimming, but that lasted for ~20 years or so until our last dog went to the kennel in the sky.




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Master Geek
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  Reply # 2075877 19-Aug-2018 17:51
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eracode: I find your description and diagram confusing. You say House A owns the land which is the shared driveway (red outline) - but then you show your boundary (turquoise outline) intersecting the red rectangle.

 

 

 

House A owns part of the shared driveway. Easier to see from this picture.

 


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  Reply # 2075885 19-Aug-2018 18:43
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Fred99:

 

mattwnz:

 

We have been though this recently, as we had a hedge, and the neighbour wanted a fence to keep their dog in, due to the hedge still letting the dog cross the boundary. So it would have benefited them entirely. The hedge provided all the privacy we needed. IANAL, but there are examples of an specimen fence, and a 3 horizontal bar timber fence, is apparently one of the suggestions. But it isn't just restricted to those examples, as iot all comes down to what a person wants the fence for. Combining what you have plus growing up hedging could be an option. Also look what other neighbours do in the area. You should be able to work out a solution with the neighbour.

 

 

We dog-proofed our hedges (to council "responsible dog owner" status) simply by running 600mm high chain-link tied back into the hedge - with the occasional waratah in some places. Had to be a bit careful when trimming, but that lasted for ~20 years or so until our last dog went to the kennel in the sky.

 

 

 

 

That was going to be our suggestion, as their other boundaries are like that. But in the end we agreed to go halves on materials for the fence which they got someone in to build, and we agreed to trim the hedge back so the fence could be installed. There is some give and take with these things, and didn't want the stress of a dispute. 


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  Reply # 2075895 19-Aug-2018 19:45
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TLDR entire thread ;) Also been driving all day so brain not working......  please note all below is just my opinion and in no way infers any knowledge of council bylaws etc.

 

If it were me, Id be asking as to why they require the new fence - if its for a dog, then thats their problem, they can build it on their side, or replace existing at their cost. If its for privacy, then I could kinda see why they would approach the neighbors, but again, could just be built on their side of the existing fence.

 

Height wise, I think 2m is the max most councils allow without having to get permits etc - as long as it doesn't block someones view etc.

 

We have a fence that is on a shared drive way, and needs replacing, but Im not approaching the other users of the driveway for financial assistance (I could see them offering to chip in but its only because theyre good neighbors) , as its our choice to replace it to keep our dog safe. 

 

If they cant give a valid reason as to replacing the fence, Id have a chat with the council/CAB and see what they say.

 

 





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