A COUPLE face having to sell their home to pay $163,000 worth of legal fees after neighbours took them to court over a fence.
Aussies, Jay and his wife Kirsty Hall, built their home in Sydney‘s northwest in 2018 and believed they were “on good terms” with their neighbours – before disaster struck.
ACAJay and his wife, Kirsty, may have to sell their home to pay for legal bills after a dispute with neighbours[/caption]
ACAJay had to re-build his fence as the neighbours were unhappy with it[/caption]
The pair say their neighbours gave them permission to build the wall.
Jay explained to A Current Affair: “The fence initially was constructed with a retaining wall attached to a metre high.
“And that retaining wall essentially was on a verbal agreement with the neighbours, we were on good terms at that point.”
But in 2020, the development application showed that the Hall’s fence had breached their neighbours’ property boundary.
Their neighbours had a survey done which found that the wall needed to be completely within Jay and Kirsty’s property and not encroach onto their land.
To the couple’s shock the council withdrew the final occupation certificate and ordered them to move their fence just seven centimetres back.
The pair complied, but the story didn’t end there.
Their neighbours ended up taking them to the Land and Environment Court.
This was because they were still left unsatisfied with the changes ordered by the council and thought the fence “wasn’t constructed correctly”.
Kirsty said: “We essentially have to sell our house to pay for those court fees and that’s really the devastating part because we built this house for ourselves.”
After the fence had been rebuilt and edged back onto the couple’s property in 2021, the council confirmed that no additional work was necessary.
Kirsty explained how she thought they were out of the woods and said: “I had this relief and thought, “OK, it’s finally over and we don’t have to ever worry about this again”.
The neighbours claim they never agreed for the fence to be built in the first place and in May this year, the Hall family received a letter from their lawyer.
The letter said a judgement had been handed down in their clients’ favour.
The judge had found the Halls’ fence had been built in breach of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act.
The couple were ordered to remove the wall and fence and replace it with a “structurally sound” timber retaining wall and fence.
They were also told to “install adequate draining measures”.
Not only will they now need to pay for the construction of a new fence, the Halls also have to pay the cost of legal proceedings which amounted to $163,424.
The couple were outraged, “It’s a fence like $163,000 for a fence is ridiculous,” said Jay.
He continued: “Council’s at fault, 100 per cent. We’re relying on them to be our certifier, we pay the fees.”
The council has said they had no reason to believe Mr Hall did not comply with the approved plans.
They added that because they were communicating with one of the parties they could not comment further.
The council offered the Halls $10,000 to help them to rebuild the fence.
ACAThe neighbours were still not happy with improvements made to the fence and took the couple to court[/caption]Leave a comment