Finding it hard to love thy neighbour?

If you love your house but the neighbours are driving you mad, then this article is dedicated to you. 

Loud parties, cars parked in front of your driveway or on your nature strip, a cat that visits much too often, the small terrier that yaps whenever your neighbour goes out, and lawns being mowed at the crack of dawn.

It’s when the days get longer and the holiday season approaches that things can seem to get unpleasant between neighbours. That’s when some people decide to put their house on the market because they don’t want another noisy summer or year.

But selling up to get away from noisy neighbours is an extreme response – and not always the best solution.

What are your rights?
When you buy a house, townhouse or an apartment, you’re buying into a neighbourhood. Home-owners have a range of rights when it comes to their relationships with neighbours and to the peace and quiet they’re entitled to enjoy in their home, but few people are aware of these rights.

Rather than let a relationship degenerate to a point where it’s affecting your enjoyment of your home, it’s important to at least try to take steps to deal with it

The first step is to always try and resolve any dispute amicably, through discussion, and it is important to keep a record of these and of any agreement that has been reached – for example, that your neighbour will ensure music is turned down at 11 pm.

Often a neighbour genuinely has no idea how sound is carrying into your house or how often their cat is making unwelcome visits. A discussion can often result in simple solutions acceptable to both parties, and certainly your local council and police want to see that a real effort has been made to solve the problem.

However, with people being as they are, this is not always possible so you may have to take the next step.

What if a good mannered approach doesn’t work?
There is a range of different authorities that mediate disputes throughout Australia, depending on which state you live in. These centres provide free mediation and conflict management for warring neighbours and have a proven success rate in the majority of cases.

Sometimes though, an agreement can’t be reached and litigation may be the only answer. The Local Court is most commonly used to deal with neighbourhood disputes, although when you reach this point, it can be worthwhile seeking legal advice as to what the alternative options are – and what the possible outcomes and costs might be.

It’s in everyone’s interests to ensure the ambience and liveability of a neighbourhood is maintained. That’s why every area has area regulations and processes in place to protect the rights of you and your neighbours.

Have you experienced a problem with noisy neighbours and worked through it? Share you experience below.