Having a dispute with your neighbour? Your rights and course of action.
Given the current circumstances surrounding COVID-19 and self-isolation, people are spending larger amounts of their time at home. Whilst this has several benefits, it is not without disadvantages also.
One disadvantage might be increased tensions between yourself and your neighbours. Are you and your neighbour currently arguing over noise complaints such as loud music or a constantly barking dog? Or have you noticed that your neighbour’s branches are overhanging into your property?
Whatever the dispute may be between you and your neighbour, we are here to help!
How do you resolve an issue with your neighbour?
The quickest and cheapest way to try and fix a problem is to talk with your neighbour. We suggest approaching your neighbour in a friendly (and socially distant) manner, in order to discuss the problem. This will also help to maintain a positive relationship, making it easier to deal with other issues in the future.
If you and your neighbour can come to an agreement, you can put it in writing, and both sign it. The advantage of having the agreement in writing is that it can be used as evidence if the issue later proceeds further to a Court or a Tribunal.
What happens if you and your neighbour cannot come to an agreement?
If you and your neighbour cannot resolve the matter on your own, there are several options available to you: –
- Ask a third party for help: If you have talked to your neighbour and this has not resolved the issue, you can ask someone else to help. It is best to ask someone who is not emotionally involved in the dispute. This could include a friend or another neighbour.
- Mediation: You can contact Community Justice Centres (CJC) for help with free mediation. This is where an independent person called a mediator will help you and your neighbour discuss and resolve the dispute. This is a very successful method of resolving disputes with more than 80% of the disputes mediated on resulting in an agreement. You can call CJC ono 1800 990 777 to discuss your neighbour dispute with a CJC.
- Court: For most disputes between neighbours, court should be a last resort. It is important to know which Court your issue falls under as different Courts exercise different powers. For example, the NCAT, Land and Environment Court hears matters regarding environmental, development, building and planning disputes, while the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal will typically deal with residential property issues such as fencing.
Remember, Court should always be used as a last resort. Reaching an agreement with your neighbour outside of Court is cheaper, quicker and will help improve your relationship.
If you are currently having issues with your neighbours and require legal assistance, please feel free to contact us on 02 8999 9837. We can assist in directing you to the most appropriate course suitable for you and also assist in resolving the matter amicably and expeditiously.