Dividing fences

The erection and maintenance of dividing fences is a civil matter. Dividing fences are governed through the Dividing Fences Act 1961 by the Building Commission. The Dividing Fences Act and Local Fencing Law combined regulate dividing fences.

For further detailed information, please see the Department of Mines, Industry Regulations and Safety's webpage 'Dividing Fences Matters - Overview' 

Important notes

  • Owners are liable to divide costs of the repairs to a dividing fence
  • It is recommended repairs and costs should be recorded in writing
  • All owners involved should sign and date written records
  • An owner proposing repairs should provide written notice to the adjoining owner. The written notification must outline the extent of proposed works
  • A mutual agreement between owners overrides the Dividing Fences Act
  • Private land owners are responsible for dividing fences between private property and land owned by the City

Dividing fence complaints

  • The City is unable to act on matters regarding dividing fences under the Dividing Fences Act 1961
  • The Building Commission provides general advice regarding dividing fences legislation
  • The City and the Building Commission do not have authority to provide rulings regarding neighbor disputes
  • Neighbors who cannot reach an agreement should seek independent or legal advice

A Certificate of Title can be purchased from Landgate. This can assist in identifying property boundaries. 


Permitted fences

The City applies the Local Fencing Law 2011 to regulate fencing within the City. 

A property's zoning dictates the type of fencing permitted. Refer to the City's Online Mapping (Intramaps) to find your property's zoning.

Masonry fencing must be certified by a structural engineer. This ensures the fence is structurally sound for the location and wind category.

Vegetation can have a detrimental effect on fencing of any kind. Consider future damage vegetation may cause at the time of planting. A property owner is responsible for maintaining vegetation.

For more information refer to the following documents.

Do I need approval for a fence?

Council approval is not required for fencing, providing a fence complies with the Local Fencing Law. If a proposed fence doesn't comply with the Local Fencing Law, a variation can be submitted.

Apply for a fencing variation

  1. Complete the ‘Variation to Local Fencing Law 2011’ application form (see below)
  2. Provide supporting documentation (site plan scale 1:200, elevations, materials and dimensions)
  3. Lodge your application in person or by post with the applicable fee (see below).

Lodging your application

Once you have completed the application form, your application can be submitted via email building@armadale.wa.gov.au. The applicable fee must be paid upon lodgement. A Building Services officer will contact you for credit card details via phone. Please do not enclose credit card information with emailed applications for security reasons. 

Alternatively, you can submit your application in person at the City's Administration office located at 7 Orchard Avenue, Armadale or via Australia Post. 

Retaining walls

​A retaining wall is a wall or structure designed and constructed to support soil at a slope steeper than can naturally be supported.

Retaining walls can be constructed using bricks, limestone/concrete blocks, post and panel, timber sleepers or stone pitching.

Requirements and permits

Retaining walls that retain more than 0.5m of soil must be setback a minimum of 1m from any boundary. 

If it is a requirement for a retaining wall to be closer than this, an application will need to be made to the City to vary the Residential Design Codes.

The Building Regulations 2012 states a building permit is not required in the following circumstances:

  • construction, erection, assembly or placement of a retaining wall that retains ground no more than 500mm in height
  • a retaining wall is not associated with any other building work or;
  • with the protection of land adjoining the land on which the retaining wall is proposed

Retaining walls along boundaries will require a Building Permit regardless of height. Visit the Building permit applications page for information on how to apply, including fees.

More information

For further information see visit the Building Commission's website. 

Page Last Reviewed 11 September 2023