Man bills his neighbour for a fence he put up 17 years ago

Shannon Spencer at first thought her neighbour was joking when he handed her a $500 bill (Picture: Stock image / Getty Images)

A man has given his new neighbour a bill for more than $500 – for a fence built in 2005.

Shannon Spencer moved to Yanchep in Perth, Australia, last February after building a home there.

And last month her neighbour unexpectedly handed her an invoice for AU$506 (£282) for half of the cost of building the fence at the rear of her property.

Shannon told ABC Radio Perth: ‘It’s not a huge amount, but it’s just the fact that the fence has been there for 17 years and he’s held this receipt in his hand, this invoice in his hand… waiting for the perfect time to come and hand it over.’

The neighbour explained to her that all the other neighbours had paid for their part of the fence and that he had all the receipts to prove it.

At first Shannon thought it was a joke – but according to the Dividing Fences Act in Australia, property owners are required to share the costs of a ‘sufficient dividing fence’.

Although she has now acknowledged she needs to pay, she is disputing the amount as the fence is old and not in the best condition.

She added: ‘I know I’m legally required to pay for the fence, but I’m just disputing the fact that it’s been 17 years since it was built, and I moved 17 years later and he’s still asking for half of the cost of the fence.

Unfortunately Shannon will still have to pay for her part of the bill (Picture: Getty Images / iStockphoto)

‘The fence is rusted, it’s a different colour to all the rest of the fences, it’s not even the same height, it’s only 1500mm high instead of 1800mm high.

‘While I know I’m required to pay, I’m disputing how much I should pay given the depreciation over 17 years and the fact that the fence is rusted.’ 

Shannon said she wrote about her experience on Facebook and some people said they were ‘shocked’, with others calling the situation ‘absolutely ridiculous’.

ABC Radio spoke to lawyer Johnson Kitto, who confirmed Shannon needed to pay regardless of the age of the fence.

He said: ‘My advice to her is to simply pay it. I wouldn’t try to negotiate with him.

‘The law is on his side, as much as it pains me to say that, and he is entitled to half the cost of the construction back then.’

‘Imagine what the cost would be if constructing it [the fence] today. You’ve got to be fair about these things.’

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