Problems can arise with neighbours in a range of situations including excessive or annoying noise, water run-off, and where cars are parked.
It is always best to see if you can work out any problems with your neighbours in a friendly way. Legal action against neighbours can cause bad relationships that cannot be repaired. Legal action should be a last resort once all other options have been tried.
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This information will help you to understand your rights and what to do with some common problems.
- if you can refuse to let your neighbour enter your property?
- what is a nuisance
- what are your legal rights about a nuisance
- what your local government can do about a noise problem
- what you can do about excessive noise from a tavern, night club or pub.
Can I refuse to let my neighbour enter my property?
As the occupier (owner or tenant) of property, you have certain rights including the right to quiet enjoyment of your land.
Certain people are allowed by law to come on to your land (such as the owner, certain government or council officers, etc). Apart from them, you can refuse to let people come on to your property, and you can ask any person who is already on your property to leave. If someone refuses to leave after you have asked them to, you may call the police.
What is a nuisance?
You are entitled to enjoy your property without interference from a neighbour. The law protects your rights to enjoy your land.
A private nuisance is where someone stops your use or enjoyment of your land or any rights you have linked to your land. It can include overhanging tree branches, air and noise pollution, and water run-off from a neighbouring property.
What are my legal rights about a nuisance?
If interference is so bad that it causes damage to property, injury to health or badly affects your quality of life, you may be able to apply to court for an order making the neighbour stop. You can ask for compensation (damages). As the law in this area can be complicated and court actions can be expensive, get legal advice before starting legal action to see whether you have a good case and what damages you could claim.
If you have a problem, talk to your neighbour first to try to sort it out.
What can my local government do about a noise problem?
Local governments can prosecute anyone making unreasonable noise or breaching a local government direction or notice. An environmental health officer will usually first visit the owner of the property where the noise is occurring and advise them of the complaint. If this meeting does not solve the problem, arrangements may be made for noise readings to be taken. This will help work out if the noise is above the limit.
What can I do about excessive noise from a tavern, night club or pub?
Strict rules apply to the licensing of nightclubs, hotels, etc about the amount of noise that can be made in residential areas.
You can make a complaint where you believe that:
- the use or enjoyment, quiet or good order of the neighbourhood of the licensed property is often unduly disturbed by an activity happening on the property, or
- the noise coming from the licensed property is excessively offensive, annoying, disturbing or inconvenient.
Other similar situations involving noise may be covered as well.
The Department of Racing, Gaming and Liquor Licensing has a policy for dealing with complaints (see under the heading ‘Complaints Lodged under Section 117 of the Liquor Control Act 1988’.).
Reviewed: 21 September 2022