Under the Fencing Act 1978, if a property owner chooses to build a new fence or refurbish an existing fence, the neighbouring property is expected to contribute 50% of the total price. The proposed fence must be “adequate” to reasonably satisfy its purpose. The neighbour is not expected to contribute 50% of the cost if the current or proposed fence is more than adequate to serve its purpose.
A fencing notice must be served on the neighbour 21 days before starting the build, and must include specific information. Neighbours can object to the proposed fence altogether, or to the type of fence being built. If an objection is raised, the neighbour must serve a cross-notice on the owner building the fence within 21 days of receiving the fencing notice.
If an objection is raised and the parties cannot agree, options include mediation, arbitration, the Disputes Tribunal or the District Court.
For more information, contact a lawyer who will be able to guide you through the process.