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A Matter of Land | Help I want to keep my neighbours' goats off my property

Published:Friday | April 27, 2018 | 12:00 AMCraig Francis

Good day, readers. This week, I respond to another question from a reader.

Hello Mr Francis,

I would like to know what is the maximum height at which I can lawfully build my perimeter fence.

The present fence is too low and the neighbour’s goats keep jumping it and eating the plants in my yard. I would be bearing the entire cost to increase the height of the fence as the neighbour would not be involved.

Thank you for your help.



Good day ArdM,

Thanks for your question. It is something I get asked quite often by homeowners who are getting ready to construct their boundary fences.

This question, however, is not one that can be answered in one particular way, as there are several factors that will determine the height of your dividing fence.

The major factor in how high your boundary fence can be constructed is the restrictive covenants on your title. Most titles have restrictive covenants that state that the height of your wall should be to no more than four feet six inches (4 ft 6in) high within 20 feet of a road intersection.

So for you to know what height you can erect your perimeter fence, you will have to check the restrictive covenants on your title and see what it says about this.

Note, however, that goats are animals that are actually spoken about in Section 5 of the Dividing Fences Act.

“A fence shall be deemed ‘sufficient’ for the purpose of this act when it is high enough, strong enough and sufficient close enough to prevent ordinary animals, other than pigs and goats, of the kind kept on the one holding from trespassing on to the other.”

So to restrict the neighbour’s goats from trespassing on your property may require a discussion with your neighbour about control of his livestock or creativity on your part where the perimeter fence is concerned.

If that fails, you may need to take legal action against your neighbour for the damage his animals cause on your property.

So, first check your restrictive covenants to see what is the maximum height allowed. If none stipulated take your wall higher; however, be sure to consult with the local authority as well.

If it’s restricted you may need to have dialogue without neighbour about his animals. If all else fails, seek redress in court. If he is required to pay then he may actually control his animals better. All the best.

Keep sending your questions and comments and let’s continue to explore A Matter Land. until next time, traverse well.

- Craig Francis is a commissioned land surveyor and managing director of Precision Surveying Services Ltd. He can be contacted for questions or queries at or his Facebook page.