Who Is Responsible for a Retaining Wall Between Properties in Queensland?

The Neighbourhood Disputes (Dividing Fences and Trees) Act 2011 deals only with dividing fences and trees. It does not deal with retaining walls, except in very limited circumstances. The Act does however state that a fence is not a retaining wall. This is because retaining walls serve a different purpose than fences.

They are engineered to support built-up or excavated earth. Retaining walls are not normally a matter of joint responsibility for neighbours because a retaining wall is usually of more benefit to one neighbour. Therefore equal contribution does not apply.

However, the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) can make orders about carrying out fencing work that includes work on a retaining wall if the repair of the fence is dependent on the work for the retaining wall.

In summary, the issue of retaining walls is a complex one involving detailed local council requirements so in all cases, both private legal and local council planning and development advice should be sought.