How much does the Council contribute?
We will contribute to the costs of erecting a common boundary fence on reserves or general Council property (excludes roads as per the fencing Act 1978 - see below). Our half share will be based upon actual costs and the current average industry rate (e.g. for post and rail fences the amount payable will be half the cost of the supplied written quote).
Do we have to get the Council’s approval before building the fence?
Yes, the Fencing Act requires that claims are made before any work is done. Please do not start work until we have inspected the site and notified you of our decision regarding a contribution. If you have not obtained our agreement before you start your fence, we are not required to contribute towards the costs of the fence (Schedule 2 Fencing Act 1978).
Unless immediate work is required due to damage caused by a sudden accident, written approval must be obtained from us prior to works proceeding for us to contribute.
Will the Council assist with the construction?
No. The Council does not get involved with the construction of the fence.
What is a fencing covenant?
A fencing covenant is an agreement that one neighbour does not have to contribute toward the cost of a fence between two neighbouring properties.
How to claim from the Council for a fencing contribution
1. Check a current copy of your property title to ensure that there is no fencing covenant registered that precludes the Council from contributing. You can obtain a copy of your property title from Land Information New Zealand.
2. Find out how much the work is likely to cost.
- If the fence is being built by a contractor/builder, get a quote for the work.
- If you are building the fence, provide a quote for materials and the boundary measurements.
3. Complete an application form for fencing contribution and submit to us with the following:
- Copy of the property title.
- Clear recent photo showing the requirement for a new or replacement fence, or repair of the existing fence.
- Evidence of the boundary line along which the work is to be done and proposed line of fence.
- Copy of the quote for the work or materials and information concerning the proposed method of construction.
4. We will review your application. You will be notified of the outcome within 21 days after we receive your application. If we have concerns regarding the application we will issue a cross-notice making a counter-proposal.
What happens next?
If your application is approved and the fence has been installed, contact us for an inspection. A Council Officer will inspect the fence to make sure it is on your true legal boundary and is structurally sound.
When will the money be paid out?
Once the inspection has been carried out, submit to us the invoice/receipts for the work done/material purchased, quoting the application address. We will pay the pre-agreed share either by cheque or by direct debit into your nominated bank account.
If you have further questions, you can contact us on 06-759 6060 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What constitutes an “adequate fence” for the purposes of the Fencing Act?
A fence must be “adequate”. This is defined as a fence that “as to its nature, condition, and state of repair is reasonably satisfactory for the purpose that it serves or is intended to serve”. This is a question of fact in each case and also includes a qualitative aspect; a fence that has become an eyesore that no reasonable person would endure cannot be said to be “reasonably satisfactory”.
Specimen fences are set out in Schedule 2 Fencing Act 1978 as examples and are not appropriate for all circumstances.
Other factors to consider are:
- The fence must be built to a tradesman-like standard and comply with the New Zealand Building Code (e.g. treated timber, wind sturdy, structurally sound).
- The design, choice of materials and colour should ideally be in keeping with its surrounds.
- The fence must be built on the correct legal boundary line.
- Fences higher than 2.5m require a building consent - the cost of which are yours. Fences higher than 2m must meet the requirements of the District Plan. All fences, regardless of height, must comply with the New Zealand Building Code.
- To be eligible for replacements costs where there is an existing fence/hedge it must have reached a point where it is at the end of its practical life.
Under the Fencing Act 1978, the general rule is that neighbours are obliged to contribute to the cost of an adequate fence between their properties provided the procedures in the Act are followed.
The Fencing Act does not apply to, among other things:
- Land that is a marginal strip within the meaning of the Conservation Act 1987.
- Land that is an esplanade reserve or an esplanade strip within the meaning of the Resource Management Act 1991.