Boundary Fence again!

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2 years 7 months ago #555808 by P B
Boundary Fence again! was created by P B
Hi, I'm a new member, and have been reading many of your posts about boundary fences and the "Fencing Act 1978".

Forgive me if this has been answered before.

Our situation is as follows:

We live on 17 acres with a few of my own horses, and we graze a few horses for a small amount of money. I work hard to keep neighbourly relations positive.

We have been clearing gorse on our shared boundary, which has appalling fencing. The fence keeps our horses from going through to the neighbours, but last year their flock of about 50 sheep, jumped through the crumbing fence and grazed at ours on and off over summer. I met with the neighbours wife and explained we had horses grazing for money and their sheep needed to be moved or restricted. I also sent several increasingly desperate messages to the neighbour himself who mostly ignored me or got back to me at his leisure and said he would get onto it when he recovered from his recent operation.

When I finally got to talk to him, I suggested that we needed to get the boundary fence done. He said that they didn't have the money and that he would repair it, I suggested that they could pay us their share over the period of a year, he said he didn't want to be in debt.
Finally after weeks and weeks of their flock grazing at ours he moved them to another paddock. It also seems like he has strung one, loose, wire up the top of the fence which will obviously do nothing. I was working on our gorse over this most recent lockdown and noticed the sheep are back in the paddock neighbouring ours and will no doubt jump back through the fence any day now.

We ended up loosing our horse grazers over the winter period because the sheep had helped to eat all of our grass in that big paddock over the previous Summer and Autumn :(

Anyway, as you might be able to tell, I really dislike confrontation, and am wondering what to do. We are not the type to load up the sheep and sell them if/when they come back to ours. Any suggestions with what to do with wandering sheep that can't be contained would be appreciated.

These are my main questions:

1. I was thinking I might go ahead, and send our neighbours a tracked fencing notice. Has anyone been through this process with a neighbour that can't/won't pay, if so could you please tell me the steps that you took, and how it all turned out?

2. Is it better to just go directly to a lawyer and get their help with it? I feel uncomfortable communicating with our neighbour again about it. I feel as though I've done my best and have been ignored multiple times.

Thanks for you time and help,

P B
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2 years 7 months ago #555809 by LongRidge
Replied by LongRidge on topic Boundary Fence again!
It is absolutely illegal to sell someone elses domestic animal/s. It used to be called "rustling" :-).
You can impound them, or better still get the local Animal Control Officer employed by your local Council to impound them.
If you use the Fencing Act to get a fence erected you will need the help of a lawyer, and get the proper legal work done so that a notice is put on his property Title that you are to be repaid his portion of the fencing cost when he sells his property.
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2 years 7 months ago #555810 by P B
Replied by P B on topic Boundary Fence again!
Thanks so much for taking the time to reply :)
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2 years 7 months ago #555811 by Stikkibeek
Replied by Stikkibeek on topic Boundary Fence again!
I would not put a note on his title to repay the cost of his share of the fence. That could be too open to abuse and what if he never sells!? Get a fencing notice underway from your lawyer and give the neighbour a short but reasonable time to pay. If he doesn't cough up his share in this time, you have other methods of redress. You can take him to the small claims tribunal for instance and here your fencing notice will work in your favour. In the interests of good neighbourly relationships, you could drop a note in his letterbox, to advise that you will be seeking the help of Animal control to impound any sheep that stray back onto your land. The neighbour is obliged to keep his animals under control and that means a good fence. He has already cost you a portion of your income by the loss of the grazing horses.

Did you know, that what you thought I said, was not what I meant :S
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2 years 7 months ago #555813 by P B
Replied by P B on topic Boundary Fence again!
Thanks stikkibeek, this was very helpful, and I appreciate you taking the time to write. Hope you’re having a nice avo :)
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2 years 7 months ago #555814 by tonybaker
Replied by tonybaker on topic Boundary Fence again!
maybe i am missing something, but are you sure it is "his" fence?
If I were you, and for the sake of peace of mind, I would buy some sheep netting and put it over the old fence. It's quite easy to do and needs minimal tools/skills. If any posts are broken then get some steel standards, again these are easy to install.
You can never win with lawyers or courts, you would be lucky to get $10 a week out of him anyway.
What you must do now though is to write to him formally expressing your concern about his sheep and confirming your recent conversation with him.

5 acres, Ferguson 35X and implements, Hanmay pto shredder, BMW Z3, Countax ride on mower, chooks, Dorper and Wiltshire sheep. Bosky wood burning central heating stove and radiators. Retro caravan. Growing our own food and preserving it. Small vineyard, crap wine. :)
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2 years 7 months ago #555816 by LongRidge
Replied by LongRidge on topic Boundary Fence again!
Hi Tony. The neighbours stock (sheep, cattle, domestic goats , domestic pigs, horses, pine trees, or any other thing that he is growing) must not get into PBs place. So even if the fence is not on the exact boundary, he is not permitted to allow his stock to get into PBs place. If the fence is in PBs property, but it keeps PBs stock in, then PB is not responsible for the repairs. But if repairs are done by the neighbour and PBs stock break through, then PB must repair the fence to a standard that PBs stock will stay in.
I quite agree that if PB can afford it then he would save lots of hassle by suspending netting along the existing fence. That would mean that PB would be able to run sheep on his property if he decided to do this at any time.

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2 years 7 months ago #555817 by VioletFarmer
Replied by VioletFarmer on topic Boundary Fence again!
Hi poster, I know the fencing act says all the right things, and you are in the right here, you & your neighbour need to split the cost 50:50, to fix or replace the fence to a standard to keep your horses on your side & his sheep on his side. But, having been reading about all the disputes on this site, talking with friends & neighbours over the years about fencing/ boundary issues etc. I've come to the conclusion that I do not have the temperament, to battle an idiot neighbour through the courts for years over a fence. And then you will have a neighbour who hates your guts & may or may not step up the antagonistic behaviour to the level you need to involve the Police. I've seen it happen & heard about it often enough to know I would rather just set the fence just inside my boundary line & make it as stock proof as I can afford. What a crappy neighbour you have, I would have put something temporary up after the first time his sheep came visiting, that's not to say you are at fault for not doing so- just that I would not ever allow the neighbours sheep to do that again. We only have 5 acres here & every blade of grass counts, so that's what my remedy would have been. You just cannot rely on people to always do the right thing, and your neighbour would have known the sheep were out in your paddock, they are taking the mickey.
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2 years 7 months ago #555818 by P B
Replied by P B on topic Boundary Fence again!
Hi Tony, longride and Violetfarmer!

Thanks so much for all of your answers. It’s funny as soon as I read a reply I think that whatever the replier has said is an excellent idea, and then someone else will provide another good idea.

Tony, the fence is a boundary fence and he owns the property. The fence is in such terrible condition that I don’t think it’d even hold up sheep netting, but I really appreciated the idea.

Now I’m thinking that Violetfarmers approach might be best.

Thank you all, awesome food for thought :)
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2 years 7 months ago - 2 years 7 months ago #555825 by tonybaker
Replied by tonybaker on topic Boundary Fence again!
"the fence is a boundary fence and he owns the property" - not sure what you mean by this, is it not a fence between you and your neighbour then?
Sounds like you have to bite the bullet and go and get those steel standards and sheep netting!
One could be forgiven for thinking that it is the responsibility of the animal owner to make sure their animals are adequately fenced in at all times so they don’t cause damage to their neighbour’s land. But this is usually not the case. Under the Impounding Act 1955, to avoid damage, it is the responsibility of landowners to keep wandering animals out of their property by maintaining an adequate fence. If an animal does stray and cause damage to a neighbour’s property, the owner of the animal will not be liable unless that neighbour’s land was adequately fenced.

5 acres, Ferguson 35X and implements, Hanmay pto shredder, BMW Z3, Countax ride on mower, chooks, Dorper and Wiltshire sheep. Bosky wood burning central heating stove and radiators. Retro caravan. Growing our own food and preserving it. Small vineyard, crap wine. :)
Last edit: 2 years 7 months ago by tonybaker.
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2 years 7 months ago #555826 by P B
Replied by P B on topic Boundary Fence again!
Sorry, I’m a mum to a toddler who’s constantly at my feet when I’m replying :)

It’s a boundary fence between my neighbor (who has the sheep) and I (who have horses).

Thanks for your help and time :)
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2 years 7 months ago #555829 by tonybaker
Replied by tonybaker on topic Boundary Fence again!
that's ok, we are here to help! So what I found confusing was where you said it was "his fence" - when from your last post it is a shared fence so you both have responsibilities to maintain it. You can't win on this one so start planning to replace that fence, if you can get any contribution from the neighbour, consider it a bonus.

5 acres, Ferguson 35X and implements, Hanmay pto shredder, BMW Z3, Countax ride on mower, chooks, Dorper and Wiltshire sheep. Bosky wood burning central heating stove and radiators. Retro caravan. Growing our own food and preserving it. Small vineyard, crap wine. :)

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2 years 7 months ago #555832 by wizeowl
Replied by wizeowl on topic Boundary Fence again!
Hi Tony, I see you have got lots of options given on this issue. I trust you now have a plan of action.
I suggest you take photos of the fence and the stock on your place. It is wise to have a record of events should you choose to seek legal advise. WizeOwl101

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2 years 7 months ago #555833 by Muz1
Replied by Muz1 on topic Boundary Fence again!
Get some sheep or goats and return the problem. They will realize your frustrations quick enough.

Everything Must be Somewhere
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2 years 7 months ago #555834 by max2
Replied by max2 on topic Boundary Fence again!
Here's our experience. We are in the Waikato District council region as far as regulations go.

With the WDC Animals Act (or similar name, I have talked about this before on this forum), it is in the act an animal owner must restrain their animals on their property.

In saying this, when we had a rental in the region, it was acceptable to animal control that the neighbouring dog was tied to a boundary fence post which meant it could and did access our side of the property and not be contained as the boundary fence was virtually non-existant.

That was several years ago now, and I have enough age under my belt that if put in that situation again, I would take the matter further. A lot further.

However, being a boundary fence, if its life has expired, you have relief under the Fencing Act but the steps outlined must be followed to the letter. We also had rural neighbours who claimed they were broke and unable to afford 50% of the replacement cost of a boundary fence, so we issued them with a formal fencing notice along with the quote.

They gave it to their farm consultant, who wrote a stern letter outlining their distress at us not discussing the fence with them. They put their property on the market as they had built up debts elsewhere and as the fencing notice is a legal document, the real estate agent had to advise that this had been served.

We now have a new neighbour and a new boundary fence. :) Good fences make good neighbours.

In saying this, if you have an unfortunate neighbour, they certainly will not appreciate you anymore for NOT taking any action. Their feelings won't change. If you have gone about things in an initial polite way, then you need to step up (you don't need a lawyer to prepare a fencing notification, it's heard in the local court) and serve a notice under the fencing Act and go through with it.

Don't be a doormat to anyone! You have made the offer for the neighbour to make repayments and this has been refused. Ensure you include that in your notice and don't accept repayments unless you want to keep chasing them for arrears moving forward.


IMO too many people just put up with bad neighbours and fences and let things go. I have a LSB neighbour whose property is totally neglected, who says it's up to us as stock owners to replace the boundary fence, however, it's not and they are about to be served a fencing act notification. I don't expect to see a change in whether they ''like'' us or not and personally I don't care. The fence is stuffed.

Just don't be a doormat.
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