Neighbourhood Disputes


What can you do when your neighbour is causing you a problem? You have tried to politely raise the issue with them across the fence, but they won’t talk to you, or fob you off. What do you do then?

Always, it is best to talk through issues and try to achieve a resolution. If that doesn’t work, your ultimate rights will depend on what is causing the problem. Some of the most common neighbour problems arise in relation to trees, fences, animals, noise or water run-off. Before we look at some of these, there is one more step you can try first.

Deliver a letter to your neighbour (in person if they have not been abusive) inviting them to attend Neighbourhood Mediation at the North Queensland Dispute Resolution Centre. Explain briefly in the letter, what the issue is and what you think your neighbour could easily do to resolve the issue. Keep a copy of the letter and note on that copy, the date you delivered it. If they agree, ring that Centre to arrange the mediation. If mediation does not work, the fact that you have sought mediation will help your cause if you need to take more formal steps.

Dispute Resolution Centres offer free mediation services to help you manage neighbourhood disputes. They help arrange a face-to-face meeting with your neighbour and one or two mediators, who will act as an impartial third party to guide you and your neighbour through a structured mediation process. They help keep discussion on track and make sure both sides get a fair say. If you reach an agreement, the mediators write it down and read it back to you, so you’re both clear about what you’ve agreed. Neighbourhood Mediation is free and confidential.

Fence and tree disputes are very common. Firstly, Google “Step-by-step guide to resolving tree and fence disputes qld” and look at the Queensland Government guide listed. Understand the rules about trees and fences, then work through that guide. You can lodge a complaint with QCAT, who will seek to mediate and ultimately determine a resolution to the dispute.

How to resolving complaints about noise, will depend on what type of noise. Google “Complain about noisy neighbours qld”, and look at the Queensland Government guide listed, to see who you need to complain to.

Your local Council is likely to be the best place to start when complaining about water run-off, or animals. Just ring the Council and ask them to explain how to make a formal complaint. Make sure you put it in writing. Follow them up to make sure you get a formal notification that they are investigating the complaint.

If you are having difficulty resolving your problem, or simply require assistance preparing your complaint, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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