Retaining wall, who is responsible for costs?

Discussion in 'Legal Issues' started by jaybean, 14th Aug, 2017.

Join Australia's most dynamic and respected property investment community
  1. jaybean

    jaybean Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    20th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    1,537
    Location:
    Melbourne
    Is it like a fence where it's 50/50?

    Or the owner of the side that has the retaining wall?
     
  2. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    18th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    14,407
    Location:
    Sydney or NSW or Australia
    Generally, the property on the high side has the right of support and the lower property is burdened to provide that support. This is generally shown on a covenant (IIRC) - in most instances, the lower property has been excavated to change the lie of the land (some cases have been filled but the obligation will lie with the property on the low side). @lixas4
     
    lixas4 likes this.
  3. Kassy

    Kassy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    21st Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    528
    Location:
    Canberra
    Interesting. Neighbour had to pay for new retaining wall about 14years ago. My property is on the low side. The reason was the natural contour of the land - next door built up with soil and my property followed natural contour. This was Brisbane btw...
     
    bmc likes this.
  4. Brooke Colledge

    Brooke Colledge Member

    Joined:
    8th Feb, 2017
    Posts:
    17
    Location:
    QLD
    Retaining walls is tough one to answer as it is not the same as boundary fencing. However some instances both property owners agree to 50/50. The property owner is responsible for retaining their land from your property if it has been built up....

    Retaining walls are built to support built up or excavated earth. They are normally not a matter of joint responsibility for neighbours as they are usually benefit one neighbour more than the other.
     
    bmc likes this.
  5. bmc

    bmc Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    18th Oct, 2015
    Posts:
    346
    Location:
    Sydney
    i agree with Brooke,
    what was the original contour of the land, was you lot filled (retained) or excavated or were both lots altered from original contour.
    is the wall contained wholly within your lot
    is there any covenant or easement on your title in regards to "support"
    it is a bit of a grey area if no formal restriction has been noted on title.
    i have seen this in some subdivisions where the developer has benched all the lots and built cheap log retaining walls with no clear easements or restrictions set in place.
     
    Tom Rivera, lixas4 and Scott No Mates like this.
  6. Tom Rivera

    Tom Rivera Property Manager Business Member

    Joined:
    1st Jul, 2015
    Posts:
    1,442
    Location:
    South East Queensland
    This is the general rule, unless specific circumstances rule otherwise.
     
  7. Bonz

    Bonz Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    23rd Oct, 2015
    Posts:
    143
    Location:
    Fremantle
    Whoevers property the retaining wall is situated on will be responsible to maintain it. If the wall sits on the common boundary both owners will be jointly liable to maintain it.

    If you are excavating you will need to install a wall on your lot to support your neighbours land. If you are filling in your lot you will have to install a wall on your lot to stop your fill encroaching on your neighbor
     
    lixas4 likes this.
  8. bmc

    bmc Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    18th Oct, 2015
    Posts:
    346
    Location:
    Sydney
    Scott No Mates likes this.
  9. JDM

    JDM Property & Conveyancing Lawyer Business Member

    Joined:
    19th Jan, 2016
    Posts:
    435
    Location:
    Brisbane
    It will depend on the State the property is located in and who's lot the wall is located on. A retaining wall is not treated the same as a dividing fence.
     
  10. Nat12345

    Nat12345 New Member

    Joined:
    25th Aug, 2017
    Posts:
    3
    Location:
    Brisbane
    What if the upper property damages the wall through renovation? This has happened to me. They say I have the responsibility of the costs, even though they knowingly damaged it. They are now doing more renos that are going to do more damage and they won't tell me exactly what is happening.
     
  11. RPI

    RPI Property Lawyer, Town Planner Business Member

    Joined:
    19th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    1,517
    Location:
    Brisbane
    retaining walls are a lot more complex.

    was it because the low side cut that it was supported; or

    was it because the high side was filled; or

    is it a bit of both.

    sometimes it is obvious, others not.
     
    Tom Rivera likes this.