Midland fence blocks residents’ access to own homes

Midland fence blocks residents’ access to own homes
Midland fence blocks residents’ access to own homes

A BOUNDARY fence in Midland erected by a property group has blocked seven families from accessing their properties from the rear – but no one seems able to do anything about it.

The fence, constructed by Vicus Property Group, was reportedly put up as part of a parking dispute with a local franchisee.

It was erected so close to the residential properties that the owners can no longer access their houses from the rear.

Lands Minister Terry Redman said the owners must seek legal advice from someone experienced in property law.

In a letter to one of the seven families affected by the fence, Mr Redman said “it would appear that the owners of the adjoining property are entitled to erect a boundary fence, even though it prevents rear access to your property”.

City of Swan Acting CEO Colin Cameron said the property owners did not come under the jurisdiction of the council, saying the Metropolitan Regional Authority managed the land at the back of the shops on Great Eastern Highway.

“Unfortunately it is nothing to do with us,” he said.

Ratepayer Joanne Deliu said she was frustrated with the inability of various government departments to help with the issue.

“This is where we are now for residents in the modern world,” she said.

“Nobody cares as long as they take your rates for their wages … it is not about the good citizens anymore.

“You are not looked after.”

Vicus Property Group has refused to meet the residents, instead sending a fencing contractor in its place.

Midland/Guildford Ward Councillor Daniel Parasiliti said he would speak to the residents and try to help them.

He said he was doing what he could to assist the landowners who were unable to find a resolution with the property management group.

Perth property lawyer Julius Skinner said it appeared the owners of the Byers Road properties had been denied their rights.

He said the fence had been erected without any consultation other than from the fencing contractor on the day it was installed.

Building Commissioner Peter Gow said the Dividing Fences Act provided a mechanism for private owners to agree on sharing the cost of building or maintaining a dividing fence, or in some circumstances to compel a contribution.

He said it did not bind the Crown, which included the MRA.

The Dividing Fences Act does not deal with permission to construct a fence – that is a matter for local laws or the Building Act.

Mr Gow said the Building Regulations generally did not require a building permit to erect a fence, unless it was a barrier to a private swimming pool.

“If the residents believe they have a right of access they should get their own legal advice,” he said.

Cr Parasiliti, a physiotherapist who is studying for a law degree part-time, said the Dividing Fences Act ruled that under the circumstances it was a civil matter for the residents involved.

He said the fence fell between the City of Swan and MRA land.

Cr Parasiliti said he was hopeful he could mediate a deal with the Vicus Property Group to allow the residents access through the rear of their properties.