Fences in Victoria are subject to the Building Regulations, the Fences Act, the Stonnington Planning Scheme and common law.
Fences and Building Applications
Victorian Building Regulations
The following building regulations specify the requirements for fence height, length and positioning:
Reg. 424 Front fence height.
Reg. 425 Fence setbacks from side and rear boundaries.
Reg. 426 Fences on or within 150mm of side or rear boundaries.
Reg. 427 Fences on street alignments.
Reg. 428 Fences and daylight to windows in existing dwelling.
Reg. 429 Fences and solar access to existing north-facing habitable room windows.
Reg. 430 Fences and overshadowing of recreational private open space.
Where a specific fence design does not meet the rules set out in the Regulations, you may be able to apply to us 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.
The Victorian Building Authority publishes a document that explains when you need a building permit, including the requirements for fences.
Title boundaries and adverse possession
The boundary formed by a fence or building may not be along the true property alignment as shown by a title document. It may be centimetres or even metres out (sometimes rows of properties are affected).
It is usually not possible to clearly identify this unless a land survey is carried out by a licensed land surveyor. In most cases neighbourly goodwill and agreements allow old fence lines to remain. Council generally does not become involved in civil disputes.
Where one person occupies a portion of another person's land for some time (usually 15+ years) – whether deliberately or by accident – that person may be able to claim adverse possession. That is, they may be able to claim ownership of that portion of land.
You should obtain legal advice if you intend to proceed with this process.
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, we may be able to track them down for you, subject to certain privacy rules.
Contact our Building and Local Law Services section for assistance.
Serving a notice to fence
If you cannot reach an agreement with your neighbour, you can serve a Notice to Fence. This is a legal document that formally advises your neighbour that you would like to build a new fence and that you would like your neighbour to share the cost.
Although it is a legal document, there is no set format for a Notice to Fence. You can download a simple notice here: Fencing Notice Ownership Application(DOC, 111KB).
View another version of a notice to fence.
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.
Declared roads in Stonnington
Refer to the VicRoads map of declared roads.