Help to resolve disputes over boundaries and fences

It is easier to come to an agreement with a neighbour if you are determined to approach the problem calmly.

Boundary disputes

A fence might not be on the boundary line. Its location does not alter the actual boundary or the legal rights to ownership of the land.

The boundary can only be determined by a licensed surveyor, who will physically mark the legal boundary. By law, you cannot move or remove a survey mark and doing so can result in legal action and fines.

Make sure the surveyor you choose is licensed in South Australia to certify boundary locations.

Fencing disputes

Discuss the options with your neighbour first and try to reach an agreement. You could consider:

  • how costs for the fence will be shared
  • who will carry out the work
  • the type of work required – for example, repair the fence rather than replace it
  • how and when to access the neighbour’s land to carry out the work.

Encroaching on land

An encroachment is when a structure intrudes onto another person's land, crossing the legal boundary. It can include buildings, driveways, eaves and balconies.

Hire a licensed surveyor to mark the legal boundary to confirm if an encroachment has occurred.

Help to resolve a dispute

An independent third party can act as a mediator and help you come up with a solution if you aren’t able to reach an agreement after initial discussion.

Contact Community Mediation Services

Legal action

If the issue is still unresolved you could take the matter to court but is it recommended you seek independent advice from a solicitor. Different courts will hear the dispute:

Related information

This website

Boundaries and fences

Other websites

About fences - Legal Services Commission

Encroachment - Legal Services Commission

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Page last updated 18 May 2022

Provided by:
Attorney-General's Department
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