Sydun & Co Solicitors

Breaking Down Boundaries: A Guide to Resolving Disputes with Your Neighbours

Living in close proximity to others is a reality for many Australians, and with that comes the potential for some tricky boundary disputes.      

These neighbour disputes can range from minor disagreements about overgrown shrubs to major legal battles over property lines.

Resolving these disputes in a timely, efficient and civil manner is crucial to maintaining a peaceful and harmonious neighbourhood. However, If the dispute escalates, as it sometimes does, you can get help by seeking a consultation from an experienced civil litigation lawyer or property lawyer in Sydney or Surry Hills.

In this blog, we’ll go over some common boundary disputes that arise between neighbours and the steps you can take to resolve them.

Common Boundary Disputes

  • Fences: One of the most common disputes between neighbours is regarding the location, height, and condition of fences. Disagreements can arise when one neighbour wants to build or repair a fence while the other disagrees with the location or the cost of the work.
  • Trees: Trees can also be a source of conflict between neighbours, especially if they are overhanging or their roots are encroaching onto the neighbouring property. Disagreements can arise about who is responsible for pruning the trees or the potential damage caused by their growth or damage to the tree in question.
  • Access: Neighbours may disagree about access to a shared driveway, pathway, or common area. Disputes can arise over who has the right to use the area, how it should be maintained, and who is responsible for any damage.

The Systemic Approach to Resolving Boundary Disputes

When it comes to resolving boundary disputes with your neighbour, it’s important to take a systematic and objective approach. A property lawyer in Sydney can help you with a streamlined and swift dispute resolution.

Here are the various steps you can take to resolve a boundary dispute:

  • Identify the problem: The first step is identifying the problem and gathering as much information as possible. Determine the exact location of the boundary line and what is causing the dispute.
  • Communicate with your neighbour: Once you have identified the problem, try to communicate with your neighbour in a calm and respectful manner. Explain your concerns and listen to their perspective. Together, you may be able to find a mutually acceptable solution.
  • Research local laws: Research the laws and regulations in your area, and determine if there are any local government or state planning requirements that need to be met before moving forward. You can always consider consulting a civil litigation lawyer experienced in land and environment law for extreme cases where a lawsuit might be inevitable.
  • Hire a surveyor: If the dispute involves the location of the boundary line, it may be necessary to hire a surveyor to determine the exact location. A surveyor can provide an objective assessment of the situation which always helps to resolve a dispute pretty swiftly.   
  • Consider mediation: If communication between both parties has broken down, and you are unable to reach a resolution on your own, consider seeking the assistance of a mediator. A mediator represents an impartial third party who can help facilitate a resolution that works for both of you. A similar service may be available through a community justice centre, depending on the nature of the dispute.
  • Seek legal advice: If all other attempts to resolve the dispute have failed, you may need legal advice. An experienced property lawyer in Sydney can help you understand your rights and obligations and provide guidance on the bestcourse of action.
  • File a complaint: If you are unable to reach a resolution on your own and legal action is necessary, you may need to file a complaint with a relevant authority, such as the local council, a tribunal or a court. The authority will investigate the dispute and may issue an order to resolve it.    

Wrapping Up

Boundary disputes with neighbours can be resolved successfully by maintaining open communication, respecting each other’s rights, and don’t wait until things have escalated before seeking help from a professional. The goal is to search for a solution that works for everyone, and with patience and understanding, it can be achieved.

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