This question is often asked, and there is no “one size fits all” answer to it. Each council has their own rules, and even council inspectors can have their own interpretation of the rules. However, there are some norms which run through all council expectations regarding fence heights in residential areas. These norms are what we will discuss below, however, they are not rules, they are merely intended to point you in the right direction and educate you on the general requirements for fence heights in Australia.
- The first point to clarify is, what is your intended use for the fence? If it is for pool safety, there are very strict rules in place that apply to these fences. You can access them here: https://screenlinesystems.com.au/resources/. If your intention is to increase privacy or security, you then fall back to the general rules regarding fencing.
- The number 1 secret to success in adding to your fence height without having problems later, is to get a friendly agreement with your neighbours! If both parties agree, the council will seldom intervene, assuming your fence is still in the realms of normality! Fun fact – A large percentage of claims in the small claims court involve disputes over dividing fences!
- Most councils have a stipulated maximum height of 2m for dividing fences. (you could easily confirm this by checking your local council website)
- The 2-meter rule applies mostly to solid fences, being without any holes, gaps etc. BUT, most councils will make allowance for a non-solid screen to be above the 2 meter limit. This allows for lattice, slats, trellis, creepers etc.
- Adding to your fence height is mostly beneficial to both neighbours, giving added privacy, security, shade or whatever the reason may be. Having said this, your neighbour is not obliged to pay half the cost of adding to the height of the fence. You will most likely need to pay this cost yourself. This adds to the point above, try to reach a happy agreement with your neighbour (if possible)