Good fences make good neighbours
GOOD fences make good neighbours, except when the fence blocks one neighbour’s access to their own property.
Neighbours at Inner Pocket, near Billinudgel, this week took their dispute about an access track to a new level when one neighbour put up a fence across the track, leaving the other landlocked.
Kath Vail had been accessing her property along a track through her neighbour’s property for 33 years.
Mrs Vail had an agreement with her neighbour to use the track to access her home because the crown road, leading to her property, ran directly through two houses on her neighbour’s property.
However, the neighbour with whom she had the agreement sold the property two years ago.
On Thursday the new neighbour put up an electric fence across the track.
Mrs Vail said she did not know why her neighbour had erected the fence.
Southern Cross University lecturer at the School of Law and Justice, Ralph James, said Mrs Vail may have the right to a ‘prescriptive easement’.
“It can be claimed by a person who travels across land owned by another for more than five years,” he said.
She may also be entitled to an ‘adverse possession’, according to Mr James.
“It is where a party continuously accesses land for more than 12 years,” he said.
Mr James said there were lots of properties with crown roads on them.
When buying a property, he said, it was important to check the zoning and planning certificates, sewerage easements, the official plan for the land, and copies of any documents that create easements, covenants or restrictions.
“Get a lawyer or a licensed conveyancer,” Mr James said.
“If you are going to do it yourself, be very diligent.”
The neighbours will now try to sort out their problems at a hearing of the Land Board on Tuesday.
It is a special tribunal set up by the NSW Land and Property Management Authority to resolve disputes between neighbours over fences and access roads.