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Another fence question - flood edition!

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#1 asdf89

Posted 27 January 2013 - 11:22 AM

So.... my mother lives on a couple of acres on the side of a hill, at the foot of the hill the boundary fence is shared with standard 1/4 acre blocks.

She recently refenced her block (preparing to sell), just replacing the existing fence (star pickets and three wires). One part of the fence line runs along a creek. This morning, Mum walked the boundary to see the damage from the rains and noticed that one neighbour has put up wire netting (like sheep fencing) on his section of the fence. Unfortunately this is a section of the fence that goes along the creek, and the creek has burst its banks and the netting has caught all the debris from the creek and pulled the fence over. This is the only section of the fence along the creek that has come down.

Given that the rest of the creek fencing is still standing, I think it's safe to assume that the addition of the netting (which caught the debris, restricting water flow and adding weight to the fence) is why it came down.

Additionally, my mum doesn't have a good relationship with this neighbour, as his dogs came onto her land and killed some chickens. When confronted with his dog eating said poor chook, and the trail of feathers leading from mum's property to his, his reaction was 'Well they are free range chickens. What do you expect?'. Mum then rang the council and the dogs are now classed as dangerous and need to be kept inside a fenced area at all times.

So my questions are... who should pay for the fence to be repaired? And (assuming that the answer is the neighbour,or at least splitting the cost) how should mum tell this guy, given the difficult relationship?

#2 LittleMissPink

Posted 27 January 2013 - 11:31 AM

So the neighbours netting has damaged other poperties fencing as well as his own? I would get the council out to look at it and tell the neighbour

#3 JRA

Posted 27 January 2013 - 11:39 AM

Given a fence with star pickets and three wires doesn't really count as a fence, I think it is perfectly reasonable to put up netting. Sadly that does mean that for floods it causes problems - been there done that.

Generally something like that would be both people needing to pay for the fence.

ETA: But yes, talk to the council

Edited by JRA, 27 January 2013 - 11:40 AM.

#4 unicorn

Posted 27 January 2013 - 11:45 AM

He will have to fix it in order to keep his dogs contained wont he? For now your mum needs to ensure her chickens are safe and see what action the neighbour takes, if after a couple of days he doesn't do anything about it, contact council and see what they say, but give him time to fix it first.

#5 erindiv

Posted 27 January 2013 - 11:48 AM

Did he put up the mesh to keep his dogs in?

I wouldn't count star pickets and three strands of wire to be a good fence. Dogs could come and go through that as they please.

#6 JingleBlitzenBells

Posted 27 January 2013 - 01:56 PM

I would cut out/off the offending mesh and leave it on his side of the fence and re-wire the bits where the cuts are made and just replant the star pickets.   The would have fallen anyway if the ground was soft and if anything large came down, the 3 wires would have caught them too.  

As PP said, its not really a fence, just a division of boundary, as 3 wires dont keep the dogs out.

If he put the mesh up to keep the dogs in his yard, then he needs to know what happened so he can fix it.   I would ask him to build his own as the star pickets obviously dont cope with the weight of both fences.

As he is known to council, I would also call them for advice about what needs to be done.

#7 asdf89

Posted 27 January 2013 - 02:32 PM

It's a rural area, so star picket fences are pretty standard, as they are generally serving the purpose of keeping livestock in and then the majority of properties have houseyard fences to keep in the smaller animals/kids. The neighbour has a house yard where the dogs are kept, so the wire netting wasn't to keep the dogs in (and as it wasn't pinned/buried into the ground, it wouldn't have done that anyway). Also the chooks have been given to a friend so they aren't at risk/are now living a happy free range life again. I only told the dog v. chook story to give a background of the tensions in the neighbourly relations.

The fence won't be replaced until the ground dries out, so that could be a while. So the question is: given that the modifications he made to the fence is why it came down (given that it is the only section of the creek fence that came down - all the non-modified sections are still standing) should he foot the whole cost? Or in the interest of keeping the peace, should they split it?

(it's approx 30m of fence)

#8 Overtherainbow

Posted 27 January 2013 - 02:50 PM

The star pickets should still be fine so it woul only be wire cost.  I'd ask him to go halves in the wire.  I also wouldn't count 3 plain wires as a useful rural fence.  I can't see it keeping any animal out, so I expect it would be in his rights to ask for more wires to be placed in it at shared cost.

#9 JRA

Posted 27 January 2013 - 02:54 PM

It's a rural area, so star picket fences are pretty standard, as they are generally serving the purpose of keeping livestock in and then the majority of properties have houseyard fences to keep in the smaller animals/kids.

As a farm girl, I would not call star pickets and 3 wires a fence.  Sure a fence has droppers between posts, but 3 wires...  And that is the challenge always with fences that cross creeks.  How do you stop stock, and not have it run away in the flood.

But either way, I would expect both people to pay. But it doesn't sound a huge cost or effort to fix it either

#10 Fenrir

Posted 28 January 2013 - 01:57 PM

Given a fence with star pickets and three wires doesn't really count as a fence,

So using that logic star pickets and barbed wire between paddocks wouldn't count either yet may rural properties have this between neighbours. They may have slim posts at intervals but the majority of property fences are three to four strands of barbed.

Check with the council and the diving fences act in her state and take it from there.

#11 Crinkle cut

Posted 29 January 2013 - 07:20 AM

It is a fence, regardless of whether it keeps dogs out.  However, to keep the peace, I'd probably fix it myself.  Unless it is inside your mums property and not on the property line then it is his fence too and he can put mesh on it if he wants to.  If it is on your mum's property she is well within her rights to stop him putting mesh on it again.

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