Fences in Victoria are subject to the Building Regulations, the Fences Act, Title covenants and common law. So if you’re considering checking, changing or building a fence, please read on.
Fences and Building Applications
Victorian Building Regulations
The following building regulations specify the requirements for fence height, length and positioning :
- Reg 89 (2) Front fence height
- Reg 90 (2) Fence setbacks from side and rear boundaries (previously Reg.425)
- Reg 91 (5) Fences on or within 150mm of side or rear boundaries (previously Reg.426)
- Reg 92 (2) Fences on street alignments (previously Reg.427)
- Reg 94 (6) Fences and daylight to windows in existing dwelling (previously Reg.428)
- Reg 95 (3) Fences and solar access to existing north-facing habitable room windows (previously Reg.429)
- Reg 96 (3) Fences and overshadowing of recreational private open space (previously Reg.430)
Where a specific fence design does not meet the rules set out in the Regulations, you may be able to apply to Council for consent to get the design approved. Refer to our Report and Consent page.
Check with your builder, building surveyor or architect if you are not sure if a specific design meets the applicable regulation. Also your property Title may have a covenant that outlines the type of fencing permitted in your sub-division.
The Victorian Building Authority publishes a booklet on when is a building permit required which includes the requirements for fences.
Fences and neighbours
The Fences Act states that neighbours are jointly responsible for the cost of building or maintaining a fence.
In the interests of neighbourly goodwill, if you intend to build a fence you should try to talk to your neighbour first and (if possible) agree on the fence type, shared costs and so on.
If you are unable to contact the neighbour, use the Ownership Details for Fencing Purposes form to contact Council for assistance.
If there is a dispute about the construction of the fence, its cost or the proportion of costs to be met, the matter may be referred to the Magistrates Court. The Dispute Settlement Centre can also be invited to assist in order to avoid court. Council does not become involved in such disputes.
See also good plain English information about fences in the Law Handbook.