Some Common Questions Regarding Nuisance

Disclaimer: This content has been prepared by third party lawyers, not by ARAG nor by the Insurer. It is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter and is not intended to constitute legal advice, and you should not rely on this information as a substitute for obtaining your own legal advice. If any of the below issues apply to you, then you should obtain legal advice about your specific circumstances. ARAG and the Insurer disclaim any liability for damages howsoever arising out of or in connection with the use and/or reference to any of this content.

Published on 01.07.2020.

My neighbour's cigarette smoke keeps drifting into my backyard where my children play. Can I ask them to stop smoking near our fence?

You should firstly let your neighbour know about the problem. They may be unaware that their habits are causing you concern. If this fails, you can contact the Community Justice Centre, or lodge a complaint with Council.

If you live within a strata scheme, you may have cause to take additional action. Your landlord can be fined for failing to provide a safe environment for their tenants. In the state of NSW, bylaws can be introduced by strata bodies to ensure a smoke-free environment for residents.

Can I get the people next door to stop playing their loud music?

The noise must unreasonably interfere with your comfort. You should document the nature of the noise and keep a record.

Certain types of noise are prohibited during different times of the day. If the noise occurs during a restricted period, you should contact Council or your local police. They may issue a warning to your neighbours, and if your neighbours breach the restriction again within 28 days, they may be given a fine.

I am trying to work from home and my neighbour's dog keeps barking. What can I do?

You should contact your neighbour to express your concerns in the first instance. Alternatively, you could contact the Community Justice Centre, which can provide a free mediation service for you and your neighbour.

If these methods fail, you should contact your Council to lodge a formal complaint. For barking to be considered a nuisance, it must be persistent and interfere with your peace, comfort or convenience.

My neighbours are burning their rubbish next door and the smell keeps coming into my backyard. Are they allowed to do this?

This depends on which local government area you live in, and whether your neighbours have been granted approval by the NSW Environment Protection Authority. More than half of the local government areas in NSW prohibit the burning of domestic waste without approval, with many also prohibiting the burning of vegetation without authorisation.

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