Simpson Law can advise you of your rights and courses of action for remedy in a dispute with neighbours. Once the legal questions are answered, you and your neighbour may be able to see your problem in a different light.

Simpson Law can also assist you with writing letters or completing forms that may be required when approaching government agencies.

In general, you should attempt to resolve any dispute with a neighbour by talking and trying to reach a solution satisfactory to each of you. After all, you may be living alongside one another for years to come and it is in both your interests to be on reasonable terms.

Taking disputes with neighbours to court can be expensive for both you and your neighbour and the outcome may leave the parties bitterly antagonistic to each other. In your own interests, do not take any action over a problem before talking the matter over with your neighbour, or, if necessary, obtaining legal advice about your rights and possible remedies.

My neighbour peers over the fence – do I have a right to privacy?

Legally there is no right to privacy and nothing you can do about a neighbour who looks into your property or listens to what is going on there. Apart from asking the neighbour not to look into your house, you could take action such as building a higher fence, planting screening trees or shrubs, or hanging heavier curtains. If the behaviour becomes more serious as to be intimidating or harassing, Simpson Law can help you seek a Personal Protection Order.

What can I do about overhanging branches?

Cutting back the branches and roots of your neighbour's tree that protrude on to your property would usually require the consent of your local council under its Tree Preservation Order.

Orders generally cover trees above three metres in height and may include large bushes, but regulations vary widely between different councils. You should check with your local council about their specific regulations before proceeding with any cutting back. Remember, if there is preservation order and you breach it, you could be prosecuted and fined.

If a neighbour's tree causes damage on your property, for instance by its roots lifting a driveway or a dead branch falling and knocking tiles off your roof, you may be able to sue for compensation. Simpson Law can advise your rights in this situation.

How can I stop my neighbour's noise?

The first thing to do is ask your neighbour to stop or reduce the noise or to make it only at certain times of day. If this approach fails, depending on the cause of the noise there are various steps you can take. For example, if you are being disturbed by a party late at night, you may complain to the police who can give a noise abatement direction to the noise makers.

There are regulations that restrict the use of certain noisy items, such as lawn mowers, power tools and air conditioners, to certain times on certain days. You should approach the local council or the Environment Protection Authority if you are troubled by noise from such items.

My neighbour's dog comes into my garden – is that allowed?

Not without your permission. If you don't give permission, or you give permission and later withdraw it, a dog on your land may be considered a trespasser and you should consider calling the local council to arrange for the dog to be removed by the dogcatcher. However, if no damage has been done, it is probably best to return the animal to your neighbour or ask the neighbour to retrieve it.

.... Simpson Law can assist you with these issues

Simpson Law Albury

524 Kiewa Street
Albury NSW 2640
P 02 6051 4000
F 02 6021 0777

Simpson Law Wodonga

91 Hume Street
Wodonga VIC 3690
P 02 6051 4000
F 02 6021 0777