WA man requests new neighbour pay him half the cost of 17-year-old fence

Home Economy WA man requests new neighbour pay him half the cost of 17-year-old fence
WA man requests new neighbour pay him half the cost of 17-year-old fence

A West Australian man has requested his new neighbour pay half the cost of a boundary fence that was built 17 years ago.

Shannon Spencer moved into a new build home in Yanchep, north of Perth, in February and recently had a visit from the man who lives in the house behind her.

“My neighbour from behind me has come around and given me an invoice and a letter requesting payment for the rear fence that was built in 2005,” she told ABC Radio Perth on Thursday.

“The fence is rusted, it’s a different colour to all the rest of the fences, it’s not even the same height, it’s only 1500mm high instead of 1800mm high.”

Ms Spencer said she knew she was required to pay but wanted to dispute the amount she had to pay given it was so old.

“He’s only asking for $506, which is half of what he paid for the fence back then,” she said.

“It’s not a huge amount, but it’s just the fact that the fence has been there for 17 years and he’s held this receipt in his hand, this invoice in his hand … waiting for the perfect time to come and hand it over.”

Ms Spencer said she asked if the man was joking when he gave it to her and he said no, all the other neighbours around him had paid and she was the last to do so.

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Under the WA Dividing Fences Act 1961, a landowner who constructs a dividing fence can give owners of the adjoining block – when they complete a substantial building or structure – a notice claiming the payment of half the value of the fence “as estimated at the date of the claim”.

A lawyer also appeared on the radio program to discuss the issue and said it was not worth disputing.

“The law is on his side, as much as it pains me to say that, and he is entitled to half the cost of the construction back then,” lawyer Johnson Kitto said.

“She’s getting a benefit because if he built the damn thing today it would probably be three or four times that amount.”

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