I've recently bought a unit in Brunswick East, Melbourne.
An urgent matter (ongoing for 5 years now) is trying to replace our entire Eastern fence line which is falling over. This fence line is shared with a house with rental tenants. We've tried serving the owner of the house a fencing notice and it was returned to sender twice. We have tried calling his number but its disconnected. We've talked with the tenants and they have zero contact with the owner, but heard he now lives in Greece & they want to know his contact details to address urgent repairs too. They apparently just pay a bank account and its been that way forever.
After 5 years and getting no where we've decided to just pay for the entire fence replacement ourselves, however upon taking some measurements I've realised the other property has actually built the previous fence 70cm into our property boundary! Meaning 5 of the units on that side have lost some pretty significant space in their already small courtyards. Unfortunately this fence has been in place for more than 15 years so we assume he now "owns" that land under the "Adverse possession" rules.
However, since we cant get onto the owner and he clearly doesn't care, we are considering just having the fencing contractors go in and build the fence back in the original position essentially claiming the land back by building the fence along the real boundary line. They're going to need to clear trees and rubbish on his side already just to put the fence back in its current position, so we figure we'll just have them move it back to the correct spot while they're at it.
What is the worst case scenario here if we did this? Since our land of subdivision shows this is our land (and his likely does too), would the owner of the neighboring property have a leg to stand on if he wanted to then try and claim it back after we put the fence back in, even after 5 years of us trying to contact him to resolve the fencing issues?
Interestingly there's also a hills hoist clothes line hanging over the current fenceline into our property about 20cm, so assuming the fence is put back to its correct position, this would hang almost 1m into our land too lol.