The Fencing Act 1978 prescribes the steps that a person must take before building a fence on or near the boundary with a neighbour. It is a three step process:
1. Send a fencing notice
The neighbour wishing to build, replace or repair a boundary fence must notify the other neighbour(s) about the type of fence and materials to be used, the cost of the fence and the details of when the work will start and who will do it. The notice must also confirm that the neighbour(s) may object and make a proposal of their own or may refuse to accept liability (if good reasons exist to do so) for the cost of the fence.
The neighbour(s) to whom the fencing notice is given may object to any element of the proposal and may provide a counter proposal.
3. Build a fence or negotiate
If there is no objection (either because the neighbour does not respond or accept the proposal) within 21 days of the date of the fencing notice, the process is complete and the fence may be constructed as per the fencing notice and the costs split 50/50. However, if there is an objection, the parties must come to an agreement and if they cannot do so, either party may refer the matter to a mediator, adjudicator, the Disputes Tribunal or the District Court.