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Boundary Disputes

Boundary disputes have the potential to develop into more serious disputes and may trigger significant liability or costs.

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Boundary disputes - Why you need a lawyer

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Helping resolve boundary disputes

Boundary disputes have the potential to develop into more serious disputes and may trigger significant liability or costs. We can inform you of your position under law in order to form a proper view as to how the issue can be resolved, supporting you every step of the process.

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Explaining your options

Depending on the reason for the boundary dispute, there may be a range of options available. A lawyer can assess your individual situation and provide expert advice regarding your options. You may be unaware of what belongs to you and what belongs to the other party, and we can help you understand actual ownership limits which will reveal your options and avoid wrongful assumptions.

Dispute Resolution

Assisting you in negotiations

Property, boundary and encroachment issues can be sources of significant dispute and distress to affected land owners. Often these disputes may become aggressive quickly, which worsens the situation. We can take the stress out of the situation by negotiating with any other involved parties to help you reach an appropriate conclusion. We can also predict any arguments your neighbour might raise if they are trying to take possession of land.

Handling necessary documentation

You may be tempted to approach the other party yourself, but this can often worsen boundary disputes. A lawyer can help you manage all of the necessary documentation required during a boundary dispute that may describe elements such as boundary lines or who owns what land. These documents should be handled and analysed by a lawyer instead of putting yourself at risk of an argument, or in extreme cases, physical altercation.

Frequently asked questions

Property boundary disputes can arise for many reasons; however, the most common reasons relate to:

- Incorrect boundary line position;
- Encroaching property (structures built on a neighbouring lot);
- Dividing fences (cost, style or position of a fence);
- Positioning of retaining walls; and
- Encroachment of tree branches over a neighbouring lot.
You might be able to cut your neighbour’s tree branch back to your property’s boundary line, however you should ask their permission first as they may offer to cut the branch themselves. By asking your neighbour first, this reduces the likelihood of a dispute occurring if they find out you have taken matters into your own hands before raising it with them. If you have decided to cut the branch yourself, ensure the tree is not subject to a preservation order, ensure you have accurately determined where your boundary line is, and give your neighbour the branch or dispose of it with their consent.
Usually you can find out where your boundary line is by checking the title deeds to your property. If the title deeds to your property do not clearly show the boundary line, you should seek legal advice which may result in a survey being carried out by a surveyor to determine the boundary line.
If your neighbour has accused you of encroaching on their land, there are steps you can take to resolve the issue and avoid a bad altercation. You should firstly speak with your neighbour and listen to their concerns about the encroachment onto their property. It might then be helpful to have a surveyor discern where each of your boundaries are and map them accurately. These steps are helpful in clearing up any confusion so you and your neighbour are both aware of where your land begins and ends.
If you have plans to build a fence or a retaining wall between you and your neighbour’s properties, there is no legal obligation for your neighbour to pitch in. If you still decide to go ahead with the fence or retaining wall, you must give your neighbour notice before you begin so they can consent to the work. This is because you may need to enter their property to complete the job. You should ensure the fence or retaining wall is built in line with your property’s boundaries to avoid any future boundary disputes.
The Neighbourhood Disputes (Dividing Fences and Trees) Act 2011 manages the construction and repair of fences that divide adjoining land. The act includes rules about each neighbour’s responsibilities for dividing fences and trees and provides instructions on how to resolve any disputes that may arise between you and your neighbour.
The Neighbourhood Disputes (Dividing Fences and Trees) Act 2011 does not apply to disputes around all types of fences. The laws do not apply to fences around pools, state plantation forests, cropping land larger than half a hectare or any unallocated state lands.
A dividing fence is constructed in the common boundary line of adjoining land and is owned equally by adjoining neighbours, as long as it is built on their common boundary line. However, if the fence was built on one neighbour’s individual land, it is owned by them, even if the adjoining neighbour pitched in for the cost.

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We will tell you the truth at all times

We will be honest with you about your prospects of success, issues that arise or the commercial viability of your matter. The first time you come to see us, we will tell you whether you even need a lawyer.

We will respect you and your situation

Our job is not to judge anything you may have done. Our job is to guide your matter and actions moving forward to give you the best possible outcome for you, both legally and personally.

We will listen and understand your needs

We will hear not just what you want to achieve, but why you want to achieve it. We will tell you what you need to do to achieve the outcome you are after, legally, practically and emotionally.

We will stand by you all the way

Your matter doesn’t finish once a court order has been made. We will stay on your matter right up until all of the outstanding issues have been dealt with and the court orders are complied with.

We can help you through all aspects of property law

Forge Legal’s real estate and property lawyers are specialists in all areas of property law and can assist you with all property law matters.

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