Legal action should only be a last resort to problems between neighbours. Trees often cause friction. Lighting fires is subject to regulation. Trespassing can include dumping rubbish. Neighbours are responsible for the costs of building or repairing fences. The Water Act covers drainage matters between neighbours. Drainage rights can be obtained over a neighbour’s land. Owners of domestic animals can be responsible for any harm they cause others, such as if your dog escapes and bites someone. Dog bites should be reported to the police or local council. Restricted breed dogs include Pit Bull Terriers. Residents can complain of noise to their local council. The use of lawn mowers, power tools, record players and musical instruments may be banned at certain times. Regulations on the music from pubs, cabarets, community halls and entertainment venues seek to balance the interests of all parties. Noise standards also cover cars, motor cycles, mini bikes, go karts and trail bikes.


Peter Cotter

Solicitor, Leo Cussen Centre for Law

Neighbour disputes: Contacts

Animal law legal advice clinic
Fitzroy Legal Service (in partnership with Lawyers for Animals),
Fitzroy Town Hall, Level 4, enter via the laneway and courtyard, 126 Moor Street, Fitzroy Vic 3065
Tel: 9419 3744

The animal law clinic is open every Wednesday night from 6.30 pm. An appointment is required.

Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria (DSCV)
Level 4, 456 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne Vic 3000
Tel: 1300 372 888

The DSCV has offices in metropolitan and regional Victoria; see DSCV’s website for addresses.

Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA)
200 Victoria Street, Carlton Vic 3053
Tel: 1300 372 842 (24/7)

Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT)
Tel: 1300 018 228

VCAT hears matters at venues in metropolitan and regional Victoria; see VCAT’s website for addresses.

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