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Fencing law

What are your rights and obligations when fencing your boundary?

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glenda c.
14 Mar 2022
Who pays for boundary fence

We have a boundary fence damaged in the storm. One of the properties has a single owner of that home and the other property has a block of 4 flats on it (all individually owned by different people). Does the invoice for the fence get divided between the two properties equally or divided by the collect number of owners i.e. 5 in this case? Thanks

Frank - Consumer staff
16 Mar 2022
Re: Who pays for boundary fence

Hi Glenda,

You pay 50% of the repair bill if you are the owner of the home on the single section.

Assuming that the flats are on the same title, the 4 flats should have some agreement on how their 50% share of the bill is divvied up between the flat owners.

Kind regards,
Frank - Consumer NZ staff

Suzanne J.
18 Jan 2022
New Subdivision on our Boundary

We have a 1 acre section with a house on it and next door was 6 acre paddock that has now been subdivided, awaiting Tiltles, for 26 houses. I have seen a copy of the covenant and it requires them to put up 1.83 fences with 1 metre at front of property and of certain materials. At the moment it is a wire & Post fence that had toi tois down it for screening, which has since been removed. I am concerned that I am going to have to pay for part of the boundary fence which runs 90m down my boundaries ( 2 1/2 sections).As this is a new subdivisions should the developer not have some responsibility for the outer boundary fences?

Dave Keyes
28 Dec 2021
New fence for privacy

We have been thinking about a new fence between us and our neighbours. The current one is a short white picket fence, only 1.2m and well maintained. They run a business and have a constant stream of people coming down the driveway every weekend, who have a full view into our garden, so we want something higher so that we can enjoy our garden without feeling like we’re in a zoo.
We approached our neighbours about this and they aren’t keen - they see nothing wrong with the existing one, actually quite like the view into our garden and worry that it will interfere with sun to their property. I’ve checked on SunCalc.net and it only makes a difference for a few months of winter.
What are our rights here on replacing what’s there if we have differing views on what is adequate?
Worth noting that we have a good relationship with our neighbours and don’t want to ruin this over a fence, but we do still need our privacy as it spoils our enjoyment of the garden.

03 Aug 2021
Shared driveway / boundary fence partly damaged in storm

We live on a shared driveway with two other properties (all three sharing the driveway to access properties from the road). The fence between this driveway and a neighbour (who has their own separate road access) has been damaged by wind in a storm.
Is it correct that half the cost of repair is borne by our neighbour (on one side of the fence) and the remaining half cost of repair would be shared between the three owners of the shared driveway including us (the other side of the fence)?

12 Jun 2021
Retaining Wall needed between 2 sections on a new subdivision. Who pays? How does this work??

Hello, There are 2 sections, both are next to each other, both are on sloping land, both have not had any building development on them as yet. We own the bottom 'undeveloped' section and the section above us had already been flattened out to allow a building to be built on it, before this top section was sold. Therefore between these 2 sections is a 'rise' that is roughly 2 M high, and about 11 to 12 M long at a guess. What is starting to happen is that the top edge of the section above is starting to erode away downwards. The soil is not going to stay there on this flattened section by itself. It seems obvious a Retaining Wall is needed, who pays for this? The top section is affected, a Lawyer suggested that we as owners of the bottom section would need to be paying for a Retaining Wall, that If it is eroding (it Is eroding) - it would affect where we want to develop our section. Because we would like to build a house not far down from the highest part of our section, which is below the higher section above us. Another suggested that the person that had done the subdivision should have taken care of this issue before the sections were sold, although I thought, at the time, it could be seen that a retaining Wall would be required to go in between the sections sometime in the future. We brought our section in 2017, the other section was sold 2016-2017. I've skimmed through the Fencing Act and I'm guessing a Retaining Wall would be classified as a type of fence - a Retaining Wall is not listed as a distinct 'type' of fence, the classifications are done by the materials that a fence is made by. Another angle; recently I noted that when a Builder puts in a Building Consent request for a house, for instance, that a Retaining Wall might be part of the Building Plans that could be needed to gain a Consent to build a house from a Council; so therefore maybe who ever builds first, if the Local Council deems a Retaining Wall is necessary for a Building Consent for a house to be granted to a Builder, it would be up to whoever is the first section owner to deal with the Retaining Wall issue (which that neighbour may then want to sort the cost and type of Retaining Wall out with a neighbour.)
(Another issue, but probably not that relevant, is that the Local Council have an Easement (in gross) for a drain for stormwater, which runs across at a slight downwards angle, across the top of our section and is about half a M in front of the rise. We are working towards getting this Easement removed or altered because it has never been maintained nor does it work properly, the water can go elsewhere, but that is a whole other issue. Soil will eventually erode into this Easement. )

Frank - Consumer staff
21 Jun 2021
Re: Retaining Wall needed between 2 sections on a new subdivision. Who pays? How does this work??

Hi MH,

I’m afraid this isn’t covered by the Fencing Act – you will need to talk this over with the council or the lawyer who did the conveyancing in 2017.

Kind regards,
Frank - Consumer NZ staff

Felicity S.
21 Mar 2021
corner fence

We have a fence that for about 2m has a different property owner to the rest of this side. Before we bought the property this portion of the fence which should have carried on to the boundary was changed to a dog leg angle within our property by about 1m to end further along the perpendicular boundary where according to the council plans and our discussions with a retired surveyer it shouldnt be. the neighbour has concreted steps on his side and tells us he has documentation that states thats where the fenceline should be. We have given him our details by post box to ask him to supply this documentation for us to see and he ignores our messages. We have visited his house and asked in person and he says not today. I would like to reestablish the fence so it is where it should be and not looking like a barrier having been put up in a hurry

Kawal B.
03 Mar 2021
Fence for privacy

Hi there, I am buliding new house and from corner of fence it is bit lower then 1.8 m, which will expose my master bedroom's privacy directly. I want to adjust height of fence to 1.8m from my side of boundary on my expenses. But still neighbour complaint about it. What should I do now.

Peter I.
17 Apr 2021
Add trellis panel to your side.

I would add a trellis panel to your side of the fence. Depending on the district plan for your area you may be able to go to a maximum height of 2m but some district councils have a 1.8m limit. Another option is to set the trellis panels 100mm away from the fence on their own posts. Then it becomes a separate structure and you likely have a 2.5m height recession plane limit. (Which becomes 2.6m at 100mm off the boundary). Again, your district plan may have different restrictions on structures built in your yard.

Tina S.
26 Feb 2021
Query Re Removal of Boundary Fence

We share a fence on our boundary - between boundary pegs - with one of our neighbours. I have seen him rocking the fence & another time checking out a corner that is shared with other neighbours. Is he legally allowed to remove the fence without our permission?

He deliberately uprooted a fence post installed legally by yet another neighbour, even though he was not asked to contribute to the cost.

He also piles all his lawn clippings against a wooden fence, which will over time rot the fence and attracts nesting mice & rats. We'd appreciate your advice. Thanks.

Seula K.
02 Feb 2021
Developer wants to eract 2m corrugated iron fence along the boundary for more privacy

Developer who purchased the property next door with plans to subdivide next to our rural property emailed advising they want to eract 2m high fence along the driveway and the backyard boundary using secondhand corrugated iron that was used for roofing. Theres already wire fencing in place but the reason for the proposed new fence is for more privacy. They said we can contribute to the cost for better type of material than the cheapest option they have chose . We don't have any issue with the current fencing for boundary marking. What is our responsibility in this case around the plan advised by the developer?

Craig B.
09 Jan 2021
Craig B

RE: Driveway fence

One side of our property’s boundary runs parallel with our neighbours driveway. Currently a selection of long established plants and trees act as divide between us. As we have a dog, we would like to put a fence along that boundary to fully enclose our property. The question I have is, are my neighbours required to contribute to the cost of the fence if we proceed, or is that our responsibility exclusively given there has never been a fence along that boundary?

Peter I.
17 Apr 2021
Where’s the boundary line?

Sounds like you may have a problem building a fence without uprooting trees etc. Interesting problem depending on whose property the trees sit.

05 Nov 2020
Building a fence on your side of boundary

A fence has been erected on my land close to the boundary and now the neighbours want it removed. What does the law say?

Frank - Consumer staff
06 Nov 2020
Re: Building a fence on your side of boundary

Hi Sarah,

It depends on where the fence has been built, the height and if there are any covenants on the land (e.g. some housing developments say no fences).

Feel free to contact our advisers with more details: https://www.consumer.org.nz/articles/consumer-advice-line/

Kind regards,
Frank - Consumer NZ staff

Deborah Y.
25 Oct 2020
Can my neighbour treat the gate to my property as if he still owns it because it sits in a boundary fence?

I live rurally and access to my property is an easement over my neighbours' land. The previous owner farms the land around me and tells me he has the right to use the gate to my property as and when he chooses as it sits within the boundary fence, becoming increasingly intimidating as he maintains this stance.

Is this correct? is he able to just bowl up and open and close my gate at his own will?
Surely when I purchased the property this would have included the gate to the property, which incidentally he actually had moved to sit on/within the boundary of my property prior to settlement.
He's very aggressive an ex lawyer, well known for the type of bullying I am experiencing and no rational conversation can be had with him about this.

Secondary to this, I would like to change the current gate to one that is stock proof as the one installed is inadequate for keeping his sheep from entering my property and my 2 lambs from escaping - am I within my right to do this?

Thanks for your thoughts on this situation

Consumer staff
28 Oct 2020
Re: Can my neighbour treat the gate to my property as if he still owns it because it sits in a boundary fence?

Hi Deborah,

Check the title of your property to see what the easement says, and consult the lawyer who did your conveyancing if necessary.

It depends on the terms of the easement that has been registered – it could be general with no limitations on use, or it could have restrictions on its use (e.g. who can use it/ time of use/area it covers).

You could also check to see who is responsible for the costs of maintaining the easement and fences/gate (e.g. if it’s 50/50 or if you are responsible for all of it).

Kind regards,
Maggie – Consumer NZ adviser

Leanne M.
19 Oct 2020
Fence bordering an alleyway.

I saw that the council is exempt regarding fences bordering parks, are alleyways in the same position?

Consumer staff
21 Oct 2020
Re: Fence bordering an alleyway

Hi Leanne,

Councils are exempt from sharing any fencing costs with properties adjoining roads, which for the purposes of the Fencing Act includes an alleyway.

Kind regards,
Paul - Consumer NZ adviser

Margaret S.
14 Sep 2020
My fence boarders onto council park who paids

My fence that boarders onto council park needs replacing. What do i need to do.?
and who pays - what?

Consumer staff
15 Sep 2020
Re: My fence boarders onto council park who paids

Hi Margaret,

Unfortunately the local authority is usually exempt in this situation under the Fencing Act as there is usually “a fencing covenant that protects a local authority from liability to contribute towards any work on a fence between a public reserve vested in or administered by that local authority and any adjoining land."

Kind regards,
Maggie - Consumer NZ adviser

Jay G.
22 Apr 2020
Roads Exempted

Based on this article, I contacted NZTA about a fence between our property and the State Highway which is in disrepair - asking them to cover half the cost of replacement. Not only was I told in their response that they are exempt from the Fencing Act, but I was also reminded that it was my responsibility to maintain the vegetation on the road frontage. If your neighbour is NZTA, save your breath in asking for help.

Richard C.
22 Apr 2020
Neighbouring is butchering hedge on his side of boundary - do I have any rights?

We have a tall hedge between our properties that is on our neighbour's property. We both maintain our sides and he does the top. Lately he has taken to cutting portions of it to different heights and cutting bits out entirely, so that it looks like a Lego wall with no consistent height. Do I have any rights in this regard?

Consumer staff
28 Apr 2020
Re: Neighbouring is butchering hedge on his side of boundary - do I have any rights?

Hi Richard,

Unfortunately in this case you have no rights. Feel free to get in touch with our advisers at 0800 266 786 or info@consumer.org.nz if you'd like further clarification.

Kind regards,
Frank - Consumer NZ staff

Timothy R.
16 Apr 2020
What is an adequate fence for urban properties

In the rural situation a 7 wire fence between neighbours is generally acceptable. However I cannot find any guidance for an adequate fence in the urban area. Is there any help on this issue?

19 Feb 2020
Boundary Fencing

We are currently putting in a pool.

We have fencing but it isn't high enough for pool regulations. The fence is also old and not built very well (its not straight and the neighbours have put trees up against it and it bends into our side of the property).

About 10 years ago we also built a garage on the same boundary line. We had the area surveyed and it turned out the fence wasn't in the correct place - its about 200mm over the boundary line in our section. A boundary peg is located at the corner of our garage, on the neighbours side of the fence, marking where the boundary line is.

The neighbours last year built a pool on their section but right over by there other boundary line but have put in a waste water pipe right on our existing fence line and they have also concreted a small area right up to the existing fence. Which we didn't realise at the time.

We had planned to rebuild the fence as it isn't adequate for purpose with the pool and it was an opportunity for move it to the correct boundary position. The neighbours aren't too happy about it as is means they have to dig up the pipe, get the concrete cut back and move the trees.

What are our rights in this situation?

Consumer staff
24 Feb 2020
Re: Boundary Fencing

Hi Helen,

You are entitled to ask the neighbour to share the costs of the fence (under the Fencing Act).

We can understand why the neighbours aren’t pleased about the situation but it would be best if you could reach agreement with them about the relocation of the concrete path and the pipe, because the alternative to reaching agreement is to apply to the District Court for an order that they are removed. You would probably need to engage a solicitor to take such action.

Kind regards,
Paul - Consumer NZ adviser

Irma R.
03 Feb 2020
Long drive on boundary

On one side of my property is a long driveway which leads to 13 apartments / flats. Some are owner occupied and some are rented.

The flats do not operate under a Body Corporate.

We brought the property in 2012. The boundary had an unmaintained hedge of Chinese Privat, Cape Honeysuckle, Japanese Honeysuckle and other weed plants. I have removed a lot of this hedge and replaced with Griselinia hedging with no complaints. I would now like the complete the job by builing a fence to replace the last 20 metres approx of hedge. What do I have to do to get the neighbouring apartment owners to pay.


Consumer staff
10 Feb 2020
Re: Long drive on boundary

Hi Irma,

The answer to your question depends on who owns the driveway.

The Fencing Act obliges neighbors to share the cost of any fence on the boundaries between their properties.

If you can’t informally come to an agreement, the Act requires that you serve a notice on the owner of the neighboring property, outlining details about the proposed fence.

If the neighbor objects they can make a counter-proposal. Ultimately you can go to the Disputes Tribunal if an agreement can’t be reached. Hope this helps.

Kind regards,
Paul - Consumer NZ staff

Angela C.
16 Dec 2019
Fence on shared driveway damaged by third party

Hi, have read through the article and there's no mention of insurance, so I have this question. A third party damaged the fence on our shared driveway (3 properties) and my insurer says that under the Fencing Act, they are all required to lodge a claim under their home insurance, so that the repair payout can be split 3 ways. My neighbours seem reluctant to lodge claims, so can I tell them they must? Or is it up to them whether they lodge a claim or pay it themselves and manually recover it from the third party? Thanks so much ...

07 Dec 2019
Unable to contact the neighbour

If the council will not release the details of the absent owner neighbour saying "privacy concerns" and the person wanting to erect a fence can find no way to serve a notice then how can it proceed? This happened recently in the Wakatipu.

03 Dec 2019
Hedge Fence Removal

We have part hedge and wooden fence along our boundary at our Waikanae beach bach. A new neighbour has cut back this marcrocarpa hedge, (very Waikanae Beach and handsome) albeit on his side, however it probably exposed the fact that the trunks could well be on his boundary. He is getting a survey done (at his expense), preparatory, I believe, to cutting them down totally and building a new wooden fence. We will not be happy as we will lose privacy and ascetics, we presently have a very verdant green well cut and managed hedge of some 2 plus meters. As we presently believe we have an existing adequate fence are we obliged to pay for a new fence if he cuts our old (probably 50 plus years) hedge down?

Consumer staff
05 Dec 2019
Re: Hedge Fence Removal

Hi Sam,

It depends on the results of the survey, and what sort of relationship you want with your new neighbour in the future.

We'd suggest making sure you have lots of photos of the current fence.

If the trunks are over their side, at least there will be no cost to you for getting them removed – it will be at the expense of the next door neighbour.

If you are served a notice, you could argue in your cross notice that there was a sufficient live fence so you do not need to pay 50% of a new one, and this could then be decided in the Disputes Tribunal.

But if you want a good relationship, then you might have to pay 50% of the cost of a reasonable replacement if asked – some options are in schedule 2 of the Fencing Act.

Kind regards,

Maggie - Consumer NZ Adviser

Janice A
26 May 2021
Lateral thought

Maybe if they do as you think, you can suggest a style of fence you'll like - at least have the discussion before letting yourself get stressed - maybe it'll be a good option in the end and you could make new friends.

Ben C.
21 Nov 2019
Cross lease fence

Hi—the paling fence separating our 2 Wellington townhouses is a paltry 1.2m high upon the top of a 2.4m high concrete block retaining wall. Our yard sits at the base of the retaining wall, and we’d like more privacy in our yard, from the neighbouring property, where it’s too easy to peer over their low fence. My question is, how high can we extend the height of wall to be within our rights, without building consent or approval from the neighbour?

Consumer staff
22 Nov 2019
Re: Cross lease fence

Hi Ben,

We'd suggest seeking legal advice for this. NZ Herald reported on a similar case in Wellington - the Roseneath fence case - which was also a combination of retaining wall and fence. It may be useful for you to talk to the successful lawyer involved. You can read more about the case and find the names of the lawyers here: https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12231791

Kind regards,

Natalie - Consumer NZ staff

Edward B.
03 Nov 2019
Third party fence drama

I have served both back and side neighbours with separate fencing notices to replace our side and back boundary fences. The side neighbour seems to be ok. The boundary was resurveyed a number of years ago and the boundary junction is approx 400mm out, so the back neighbour is "squatting" on some of our section. She has objected to the fencing notice - but has given no written reason...we have told her that the other fence is being built next week and that they need to remove the concrete they have poured around the boundary peg - or the builder will do it and we will pass the cost on to them - we also asked if it would be OK if the builder stepped on her land to allow them to place the fence post and she has said that under no circumstances will she allow this. At a bit of a loss how to proceed - and wonder if it is OK if I remove a small section of the old fence on our boundary (400mm inside our section) so that the builders can get to place the post. ?

23 Oct 2019
Fencing on our property next to council drain

The house we live in is a back section and the land that goes from it to the road is owned by us but has a council open drain running the length of it, our access is via a right of way across our neighbour's land. There is currently a fence on our land next to the drain to prevent anyone from falling into the drain at night (health and safety), but the fence needs replacing. Said fence is not there to mark between our land and the neighbour's land as it is fully on our land only. Is the council required to contribute to this as it would not be needed at all if their drain wasn't on the property? Also, is there any height minimum when there's a waterway/drain involved?

Consumer staff
24 Oct 2019
Re: Fencing on our property next to council drain

Hello Sewsable,

We'd recommend checking with your local council as to the minimum height needed, and checking your land title/land information memorandum for details of any council obligations towards fencing of the drain.

If you’re a Consumer member, our advisers can provide more personalised advice on 0800 266 786. Or if you’d like to join, more info is available here: https://www.consumer.org.nz/topics/learn-more

Kind regards,

Natalie - Consumer NZ staff

carol j.
20 Oct 2019
Neighbour has put up fence without consultation

My neighbour has erected a fence on our boundary without prior consultation with the 2 neighbours. I do not live at the property as it is a section I am planning to build on shortly and was only advised after the fence had been put up.
The fence is inadequate and unsightly and I would like to replace it with something of a better quality. Happy to pay the cost myself, but now there is an ugly fence on our boundary. I have emailed and messaged the neighbour but she hasnt replied, other than to tell me I have got a free fence!!
Looking for some advice please on what I can do. The neighbour who has erected the fence is clearly not interested in any consultation or mediation. Thanks.

Consumer staff
22 Oct 2019
Re: Neighbour has put up fence without consultation

Hello Carol,

One of our advisers has sent you an email regarding this.

Kind regards,

Natalie - Consumer NZ staff.

Bill Y.
24 Sep 2019
Rural boundary fence

Hi, we run stock on a property we lease and the neighbour has trees and no stock. The boundary fence (post and batten) was rundown and our stock got through into his property and then through his rundown road fence onto the road. Luckily no accidents. I asked if he would go halves in the fence but he doesn't see why he should pay anything as he doesn't have any stock. We've had to rebuild the fence at our cost following a second incident of stock getting onto the road through his property. Can we still serve him with a fencing notice and go through that process, even though we've rebuilt the fence?

Consumer staff
26 Sep 2019
Re: Rural boundary fence

Hi Bill,

One of our advisers has called you and left a voicemail on your answerphone in relation to this query.

Kind regards,

Natalie - Consumer NZ staff

Previous member
12 Sep 2019
Neighbours Don't Want Boundary Fence

Our neighbour doesn't want a fence! We've issued them with the fencing notice and they have objected to having a fence. We know we are entitled to a boundary fence and they have to pay half but what do we do now?

Consumer staff
13 Sep 2019
Re: Neighbours Don't Want Boundary Fence

Hi Anne,

If you can't agree between you, your options to resolve the dispute include mediation, arbitration, a Disputes Tribunal or a District Court. You can find more info here: https://www.consumer.org.nz/articles/fencing-law#article-resolving-a-dispute

Kind regards,
Frank - Consumer NZ staff

Aroha W.
05 Aug 2019

One of our neighbours has a yucca tree that is herniating into the fence and some of the
Wooden fence is now being
pushed toward us and nails are now exposed. I approached the neighbours and she said they shouldn’t be
Responsible and Ali that they did not have $5000 to sort it out. I said all the need was to trim base which is pushing the fence over. But since then part of the trunk is now nearly leaning and
Nearly touching the fence. I am worried that with spring nearby the yucca will grow
And cause more
Damage. Help please

Consumer staff
06 Aug 2019
Re: Fencing

Hi Aroha,

The Community Law website has further information on trees encroaching on a property. You might find their article on this useful:


If you need further help our advisers are always here to provide more information. Feel free to call them on 0800 266 786.

Kind regards,

Natalie - Consumer NZ staff

Liz O.
03 Jun 2019
Fencing modifications

Hi, we live next door to a privately owned early childhood center. They have been issued with an abatement notice due to excessive noise and council made recommendations as to how the existing fence should be modified in order to rectify the situation. The owners apparently indicated to council they were intending to cover the cost. If they notify us the night before that they were going to do work on the fence the following day (without providing any other details), are we within our rights to request information regarding the type of work, materials, duration and timing of this work? This is a shared fence and runs on either side of our baby’s room, built on the boundary. Seeing this is a shared fence and given the circumstances, can they proceed without consulting us, as they notified us (on very short notice) and they’re going to cover the cost? We just want to find out what our rights are. Any information would be appreciated.

Consumer staff
06 Jun 2019
Re: Fencing modifications

Hi Liz,

We think if they did tell you it would go a long way to building good neighbourly relations, but legally if they are not coming onto your property, and they are paying for the modifications, then they don’t have to provide you with the information unless it breaches your council’s by-laws and policies.

For example this is the Wellington City Council policy on construction noise in residential areas;


Our advisers are always here to provide more information, should you need it. Feel free to call them on 0800 266 786.

Kind regards,

Natalie - Consumer NZ staff

Baz K.
28 Apr 2019
Neighbours dog

Hi, we live on the backs of an estuary where there is lots of native timber along the bank behind the houses. The bank is steep and heavily bush clad so unusable in regard to human usage. There was a fence down there years ago, but this now old and rotten but also pretty much grown out by trees and native shrubs.
The neighbours dog comes onto our section regularlyand messes on the lawn, and the council have told them to contain it. They want us to share the cost of a fence that would still not contain the dog because of the terrain. Is this a fair request? And would we have to pay half. Cheers

Consumer staff
29 Apr 2019
Re: Neighbours dog

Hi Baz,

I am not sure if you are in a rural or urban area, so if you follow the links on our website, the Fencing Act gives examples of specimen type of fence.

If you are in a rural area, and you consider the native shrubs a suitable live fence, you could apply to the Disputes Tribunal that it is an adequate fence.

There has been a pre-existing fence, so from what you say, you would only have to replace that fence. It would be just along the boundary with the neighbour and would only need to be an ’adequate’’ fence – it doesn’t necessarily mean dog proof. It is for the dog’s ownér to arrange to make it dog proof at the side and back of their section. I am not sure if your neighbour has discussed the type of fence and cost with you yet?

If the notice and cross notice process has been followed, and you still haven’t settled on a suitable fence, then you can take that to the Disputes Tribunal as well.

Kind regards,

Maggie - Consumer NZ adviser

Julie O.
24 Apr 2019
Ugly trellis fence beside boundary fence

Our neighbors are erecting a trellis fence on their side of the boundary fence (not attached to the boundary fence itself, but a few centimeters in front of it). This extends about a meter above the boundary fence, so if you include the boundary fence and trellis it would be around 3 meters. Are they allowed to do this? This isn’t continuous along the length of the boundary fence, but in about 4 sections and different material used, so looks ugly. Can we do anything about this?

Consumer staff
29 Apr 2019
Re: Ugly trellis fence beside boundary fence

Hi Julie,

I suggest you contact your local council planning department – if the trellis is too close to the fence, a building consent may be required due to its height:


Kind regards,

Maggie - Consumer NZ adviser

Previous member
09 Apr 2019
New boundary fence to block access

My neighbour wants to put up a fence on our boundary, which is currently a shared driveway (no legal easement). My front door is on this boundary line, only 1 m from the boundary, and the only access to my backyard will then be along a 30 m long < 1 m wide corridor. It will be physically impossible to get furniture in/out of the house or backyard.
Do I have any grounds to fight this?

Consumer staff
10 Apr 2019
Re: New boundary fence to block access

Hi Genevieve,

Strictly speaking, the Fencing Act applies and a fence can be put on the boundary normally. However, given that your access way along the fence to your front door is less than a metre wide along the side boundary, this could do with further investigation as this is not a high density area.

Kind regards,

Natalie - Consumer NZ staff

Rebecca S.
21 Jan 2019
Section still unsold - developer owned

Hi, The section beside ours is still on the market and owned by the developers of the subdivision. Can we ask them to pay half the boundary fence cost? Regards Rebecca

Consumer staff
23 Jan 2019
Re: Section still unsold - developer owned

Hi Rebecca,

It depends. The developer of a subdivision will usually ensure there is a fencing covenant in place when they sell sections, so that they aren’t liable for contributing to the cost of adjoining fences. In the absence of such an agreement, they would be liable to contribute under the Fencing Act.

Kind regards,

Paul D - Consumer NZ adviser

Candice P.
13 Oct 2018
Road traffic noise fence

Hi I erected a 1.8m high timber fence which cut main road noise somewhat. It’s not good enough however. Can you please advise acoustic fencing solutions for a busy main road? I mistakenly removed a hill of dirt from same area whic allowed the noise to put in.

Consumer staff
15 Oct 2018
Re: Road traffic noise fence

Hi Candice,

A timber fence can still be an effective sound barrier but the construction is important. The first thing to eliminate are any cracks, gaps or any spaces at ground level, these let sound pass straight through. Overlapping the fence palings helps to eliminate any gaps in this situation. The fence also needs to have sufficient mass to help absorb sound, BRANZ recommends a minimum mass of 12kg per square metre.

If you are still finding that the noise is too much then the next step would be to either raise the fence height or look at putting in a more solid option such as a brick or concrete wall.

James - Consumer NZ writer

16 Sep 2018
Road Reserve Fence

Hi, I had a fence that was on the top of a bank which is Council Road Reserve and a slip due to the Council not fixing the problem. That has caused the fence to become un-repairable due to the bank subsidence. The council has used a mesh wire and anchorage system to support the bank after sending photos of th e problem for 8 years but refuses to make good the fence that requires a new build in parts and repair in others. The council says the land (driveway, path, and fence) are my asset but it is not on my house plans and clearly shows as being council land in their information. I am at a loss and do not know where to go to resolve this. Please can you advise the best course of action.
Many thanks

Consumer staff
17 Sep 2018
Re: Road Reserve Fence

Hi Richard,

One of our advisors will contact you privately about this issue. If you have any more questions, feel free to call our advice line which is available to members on 0800 266 786.

Frank - Consumer NZ staff

Audrey N.
26 Apr 2018
New fence

Hi there

Our house and the adjacent houses on either side haven’t had a fence since they were built in the 60s. Keen to follow your advise to request the neighbours to contribute as building a fence of 160 linear metres is just way too costly to do ourselves. Not feeling too confident though especially as they know that we’re thinking of adding a pool which requires fencing. Is there a more compelling argument to better position our request?

Also, any thoughts of the most cost effective material to build our large fence; love the colourbond material however that’s coming in at $30,000, and durafence at $35,000.

Many thanks

Consumer staff
02 May 2018
Re: New fence

Hi Audrey,

One of our advisors has contacted you privately about this issue. If you do have any more questions, feel free to call our advice line which is available to members on 0800 266 786.

Fonda - Consumer NZ staff

Maire S.
29 Oct 2017
Adequate fencing

The fencing article is interesting but would be much improved by examples of what counts as adequate.

Previous member
30 Oct 2017
Re: Adequate fencing

Hi Maire,

Thanks for your feedback. We've included a link to the Fencing Act's descriptions of different fence types:


Fonda – Consumer NZ staff

Denise G.
15 Jun 2017
My perfectly good fence was cut down

Hi, I have a neighbor with super sonic hearing. She cant stand the sound of the dehumidifier a friend is using in a cabin next to the fence and is constantly telling me to turn it off at night when my friend isn't here. She told me she was pricing up some 1.8m palings to put onto the fence (well that is what I thought she was planning to do and was implied in her email to me) and there was no mention of when she was planning to do the work nor any consultation about what she was planning. When I got up this morning I saw that she has had her brother hack out about 5m of my prefectly functional and stylish and modern fence and put up a 1.8m high fence made out of second hand black painted wood, the posts dont go to the ground and where they are nailed to my old fence posts the wood isnt even cut off evenly. It is a shocking abortion of a fence and I am furious. The council wont help me as I feel she has compromised the stability of the whole fence line now and that the new (made from secondhand wood) fence could blow over once the cabin is removed from beside it. What are my rights here? She has said I can ring her brother for a quote to re-attach the narrow corrugated iron onto my side of her horrible fence. I dont want that, I would NEVER let him loose with a hammer and saw again and I want the fence repaired to look as it did before her demo session.
Thank you,

Previous member
16 Jun 2017
Re: My perfectly good fence was cut down

Hi Denise,

One of our advisers will be in touch to get more info about your situation. You can also call our Consumer Advice Line on 0800 266 786 — your membership includes this.

Kind regards,
Fonda - Consumer NZ staff

Previous member
10 Dec 2016
Fence boundaries

Hi. The boundary markers are on the middle of the fence posts and the pailings are in my Neighbours side which is on a row, they say the pailings belong to them as the row is an easement over their property and they say they can dictate the color. Is this true?

Previous member
21 Dec 2016
Re: Fence boundaries

Hi Ross,

We've tried to get in touch but haven't been able to reach you. If you still need advice, you can give our advisers a call on 0800 266 786.

Kind regards,
Fonda - Consumer NZ staff

Mark G.
30 Nov 2016
Dispute over fence condition

Hi, is there any guidance on ways to settle whether a fence needs replacing or not without going through the courts? It seems odd that an arbitrator would have expertise on the worthiness of a fence. Does the building industry not have some sort of service whereby an objective tradesman can say whether a fence is worthy of staying or not?

Previous member
30 Nov 2016
Re: Dispute over fence condition

Hi Mark,

The suitability of a fence depends on its intended purpose. The Fencing Act defines an adequate fence 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”.

If you have any more questions, feel free to get in touch with our advisers on 0800 266 786 — this is included in your membership.

Kind regards,
Fonda - Consumer NZ staff

Rob F.
19 Nov 2016
Living Fence

Hi, Can a hedge be a fence 'a living fence'?
I.e. can an existing hedge be considered a suitable boundary fence.

Previous member
22 Nov 2016
Re: Living Fence

Hi Rob,

Yes, a hedge can be a suitable boundary fence. A hedge is a live (or living) fence.

The Fencing Act defines a fence as “a fence, whether or not continuous or extending along the whole boundary separating the lands of adjoining occupiers; and includes all gates, culverts, and channels that are part of or are incidental to a fence; and also includes any natural or artificial watercourse or live fence, or any ditch or channel or raised ground that serves as a dividing fence."

The suitability of a fence depends on its intended purpose. The Act defines an adequate fence 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”.

Kind regards,
Fonda - Consumer NZ staff

Previous member
18 Jul 2016
Insurance claim on fence

We have had a fire and the fence was partly burned. Our insurance company says they will only pay our for half the fence repair. The neighbour doesn't see the point of repairing a dated fence only wants to claim to his insurance for his half if they can upgrade it to something much more modern fancy with us possibly paying the difference. He says if he doesnt get to see a better fence why should he have to contribute...he didn't burn it down. Possibly he may be right ? (and we will look at costs etc that we have asked the neighbour to get for his ideas of what the new fence should look like....thats certainly not rules out). My question is - Why cant the insurance company pay out on the full fence....after all it says in here if we damage the fence we are responsible for replacing it ? Some help would be appreciated. Thanks

Previous member
25 Jul 2016
re: Insurance claim on fence

Hi Carla,

Insurance doesn’t necessarily cover you for all the damage you do or for all the loss that you have suffered. It sounds as if the fence is shared, rather than being your responsibility in full. You would need to check the terms and conditions of your policy — note that some insurance policies changed their cover for fences after the Christchurch earthquakes.

If you have a complaint, then every insurance company has an internal complaints process you can go through, followed by an external dispute resolution scheme if necessary.


Consumer NZ staff

Previous member
07 Jan 2016
Boundary fence

my neighbour is planning a fence which will totally take away my beautiful sea view I have enjoyed for 17 years, has anyone had any luck fighting this sort of thing?

Previous member
12 Jan 2016
Re: Boundary fence

Hi Bev, this is one to ask your local government about. The latest case was in Wellington in October last year: http://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/home-property/73289051/Wellingtons-view-blocking-fence-could-change-rules-for-capital-homeowners Kind regards, Kate - Consumer NZ staff