This article explains the processes around fence repairs and maintenance, and what to do if a tree gets in the way!
The regulations for fence repair and maintenance are very similar to the steps required for building a fence. If you haven’t already, read our Victorian Fencing Laws article here.
Trees are a common point of dispute between neighbours, so realise that you’re not alone when it comes to negotiating with your neighbour! If you wake up to your fence being damaged or destroyed by a fallen tree (or fire, for example) due to your neighbour’s neglect, it is generally your neighbour’s responsibility to cover the cost of the fence repairs or replacement.
Prevention is key
Spot the warning signs before tree damage drives a steak between you and your neighbour:
- Overhanging branches
- Encroaching roots
- Tall trees without strong supporting roots
- Weather damaged trees
- Local weather conditions
Once you have identified any warning signs, first talk to your neighbour about your concerns and try to discuss a strategy that you can work on together. While you may be legally entitled to cut away any branches or roots from a tree that protrudes onto your property, you are not allowed to enter your neighbour’s property to start any preventative works, or engage a tree lopper or landscaper, unless they have given you permission to do so. If you have trimmed any overhang from your neighbour’s tree, collect your clippings and considerately return them to your neighbour.
Generally, unless your neighbour agrees to contribute to the cost of employing someone to help with trees or fencing, fencing repairs or maintenance, you are responsible for covering the costs for the works performed. Ensure you get a quote for landscaping or fence repairs, and approving this with your neighbour, prior to starting works.
What if I can’t find my neighbour?
If you aren’t able to discuss trees or fencing repair and maintenance with your neighbour, consider delivering a fencing notice (Notice). The Notice should outline the works proposed, information about the dividing line, estimated cost and contributions. Obtain a cope of the Notice here. Mark your calendar, and if 30 days has gone by, you may proceed with the fence repairs and recover your neighbour’s share of the cost afterwards by bringing an action in the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria.
With more than 20 years of experience, let us help you!
We manage brush fence repairs and maintenance for both residential and commercial projects.
We take the stress out of fence damage, whether it has been caused by weather, plants, ageing, animals or your neighbour! Enjoy a clean, damage-free fence, with a longer fence life!
Common fence repairs
We find that the most common type of repair is a re-roll, where we replace the top of the brush fence. We assess your brush fence, gazebo, arbour or dividing walls to ascertain the remedy:
- Vandal or graffiti clean
- Height extension
- Broken framework repair
- Closing-over animal holes
Contact us for emergency works, insurance works, or simply for more information.