A matter of land | How do we share the cost to construct a dividing fence?
Good day, readers. This week I respond to another reader who has a query.
Good day Mr Francis,
I find your articles very informative and helpful. They serve a very useful purpose in getting neighbours to live in peace and harmony as long as they follow the guidelines outlined in your articles.
My situation is this, my neighbour and I live in a duplex two-storey town house. The neighbour is in the process of making additions and I will be doing addition some time in the near future.
My question is about the shared wall. How do we arrive at the cost of the wall so that I can pay my 50 per cent of the cost? Do we need a surveyor to advise us or is there a formula that we can use to work out the numbers?
Good day D,
Thank you for continuing to read the column. We appreciate your continued support.
I am happy that both you and your neighbour are being guided by The Dividing Fences Act which states in Section 4: "Every occupier of land shall, as between himself and the occupier of the adjoining land, be liable to bear one-half of the expense of erecting and maintaining a sufficient dividing fence to separate their respective holdings.
"A 'dividing fence' means any fence which separates any holding from any other, and shall be deemed synonymous with the term line fence."
I would first advise that you ensure that a land surveyor establishes or verifies your boundary marks/monuments before you go about constructing any dividing fence between you and your neighbour.
This will ensure that where the fence is constructed is the actual place it is to be erected. This may seem redundant as it's a duplex town house, but I tell you I have seen it gone all wrong in these complexes before, where walls are incorrectly constructed and as such additions to buildings encroach on neighbour's property.
I would not want this to be your experience so please ensure the veracity of your boundary line before you proceed to construct a wall.
Being certain of the positions of your boundary marks, you can then proceed with fence construction. The correct way to construct your fence is first to ensure that during the construction, the boundary pegs are not disturbed. Many persons have a habit of removing the boundary pegs during the construction of their boundary fences. This should be avoided.
As to the means of arriving at a total so you can know how much is the 50 per cent you should pay, you can use several methods as there is no specific formula.
Yes, you may engage the services of a quantity surveyor to give you a costing or you may engage a certified builder/contractor who is going to erect the wall for you to work it out to include materials and labour.
When you have the figure from either you can then divide that in two to determine how much each person should pay.
I hope this was helpful to you. I hope you have a hassle-free construction.
Until next time, traverse well.
A MATTER OF LAND TOUR
We have started the A Matter of Land island tour and so far we have done in Kingston and Montego Bay. They have been tremendously received, which is a humbling experience for me. We are still continuing the tour so companies can contact us at the email provided so we can arrange to visit you with our presentations.
We have a mortgage specialist, a realtor, a land valuator and a commissioned land surveyor who will take part in the presentation, and we are looking to add an attorney-at-law in the near future. So please contact us via email with the caption 'A Matter of Land Presentations'.
- Craig Francis is a commissioned land surveyor and managing director of Precision Surveying Services Ltd. He can be contacted for questions or queries at firstname.lastname@example.org or Precision Surveying Services