The Basics of Neighbourhood Disputes

There are a range of issues that can arise between neighbours – what are the major concerns and what can be done to resolve them?

What are the major concerns?

A range of issues can arise between neighbours:

  1. Boundary issues – including issues regarding:
    1. fences (such as replacing a fence, putting in a fence, the location of the fence and so on);
    2. retaining walls (including maintenance issues); and
    3. general boundary concerns (including the location of the boundary).
  2. Noise – including excessive noise or noise into the evening or night.
  3. View Loss – such as view loss from a proposed development, from trees, or from a new structure on the adjoining land.
  4. Access – including obtaining access to enable you to carry out maintenance or construction on your own property.
  5. Trees – such as trees that have caused or are likely to cause damage or injury, or hedges that have obstructed sunlight or views.
  6. Odours – including the nature and strength of smells.
  7. Development – such as concerns with a proposed development or concerns regarding matters during construction.
  8. Animals – including animals that cause excessive noise or damage.

What can be done?

The quickest and cheapest way to resolve neighbourhood disputes is to talk with your neighbour. If this has not worked, it may be helpful to ask a third party to help.

There are a range of free information and low-cost government services available to assist if you have been unable to resolve the situation informally with your neighbour. More information is available on the Department of Communities and Justice website.

It is important to note that each of the concerns above are governed by different legislation. If you are unable to resolve the matter directly with your neighbour it may be appropriate to seek legal advice on the appropriate steps to take.

If you require legal advice or assistance in relation to a neighbourhood dispute please contact us here.


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Alyce is a civil engineer and a practicing lawyer, who has a desire to share her insights on the legal and practical realities of the development industry.