There are a number of planning requirements for front, side and rear fences, and retaining walls.

Front fences

The planning scheme provisions for front fences vary from zone to zone. The front fence provisions apply to any fence or gate within 4.5m of the frontage (the front boundary with the road reserve).

Most residential properties in Hobart are located in the General Residential Zone or the Inner Residential Zone.

If your property is heritage listed, any style, height or type of front fence will need a planning permit. If your property is in a heritage precinct, but is not heritage listed, a front fence of any style or type (e.g. brick, picket, paling), is planning exempt if it is not more than 1.2m above natural ground level. Please contact our Duty Planner on 03 6238 2711 to find out the heritage status of your property. There are numerous heritage listed properties and heritage precincts throughout Hobart, so it is better to check first.

If your property is in the General or Inner Residential Zone, and is not heritage listed or in a heritage precinct, a front fence is exempt from requiring a planning permit if it meets the following:

  • A solid fence up to 1.2m in height above existing ground level (the footpath level). Examples of a 'solid' fence are a brick fence, paling fence, or any fence that is less than 30% transparent.
  • A fence up to 1.8m in height if above 1.2m, the fence has openings which provide a uniform transparency of at least 30% (excluding any posts or uprights). A common example of a fence that achieves 30% transparency is a picket fence with 70mm wide pickets and a 30mm gap in between each picket.

If your property is not in the Inner or General Residential Zones, please contact our Duty Planner on 03 6238 2711 to discuss your proposal. Some suburban areas not in these zones include Mount Nelson, Lower Sandy Bay, Ridgeway, Fern Tree and Tolmans Hill.

Side and rear boundary fences

Side and rear boundary fences are treated differently from front fences.

You will need a planning permit for a side or rear boundary fence if:

  • The fence within 4.5 metres of a frontage does not meet the exemption for a front boundary fence (all fences within 4.5m of a frontage are considered to be front fences).
  • The height of the fence beyond 4.5 metres of a frontage is higher than 2.1 metres above natural ground level.

If your property has more than one street frontage (e.g. it is a corner lot), then both of the fences along the boundary with the road are considered to be front fences.

Please note that if you live in Tolmans Hill, there are special provisions around side boundary fences, and how close they can be built to the street. These provisions are in the Tolmans Hill Local Plans. Please call our Development Appraisal Unit on 03 6238 2711 to discuss your proposal prior to undertaking any works.

Retaining walls

Any retaining wall located within 1.5 metres of any boundary, and/or any retaining wall that retains a difference in ground level of 1.0 metre or more, may require planning approval.

Contacting Council

If you are unsure if a planning permit is required, please call our our Duty Planner on 03 6238 2711 to discuss your proposal prior to undertaking any works.

Building and Plumbing approval

Building and plumbing permits may also be required for a fence or wall. Please contact a building surveyor to determine if these permits are required. Retaining walls, brick or masonry fences, or high fences are very likely to require building assessment.


The City of Hobart do not become involved in neighbour disputes regarding side and rear fences. If you cannot come to an agreement with your neighbour, you may need to obtain independent legal advice or Legal Aid. For more information, view Legal Aid's boundary fences fact sheet.