March 26, 2019

Love thy neighbour: The number one cause of disputes between neighbours

Everyone wants to be good neighbours and when they aren’t, life can be hell. It’s not until something goes wrong with a tree, fence, noise or retaining wall that relationships can turn sour.

Statistics show that fences are the No.1 cause of disputes among neighbours.

A timber fence that was erected 40 years ago may now be showing signs of rot. According to the law, neighbours have to come to a solution on a “sufficient dividing fence” and pay half each. Disagreements arise when neighbours are deciding if it should be fixed, replaced, what the colour or height should be and the cost. One neighbour may think it would be fine to fix a few palings, while the other may want the whole side replaced.

Noise complaints come in second place as a cause for frustration for neighbours. In NSW, 18 per cent of all neighbourhood disputes handled by the Community Justice Centre were noise-related and of those, 57 per cent were barking dogs. If the noise is late at night or very loud and excessive, the police can be called. But what if the dog barks every morning when the owners leave for work?

What if the neighbour’s child starts to learn the drums and plays every afternoon when the nearby baby is trying to sleep? Power tools in the early morning and air-conditioners running all night are other causes of friction.

The third largest cause of friction among neighbours is
trees. In Victoria, complaints concerning trees account for 17 per cent of all disputes.There are no simple rules about who is responsible for pruning or cutting down a tree that affects neighbours, which can cause more disagreements.

The fourth, and the most difficult, dispute among neighbours is retaining walls. The lack of legislation and the expense to fix a retaining wall means neighbours can spend a long time in court trying to come to an amicable resolution.

So, keep smiling and love thy neighbour!
For further information, call Andrea Tucker on 0402 487 887