Neighbours and the law

by Nadine Behan
Published by the Legal Information Access Centre (LIAC), State Library of New South Wales, 2012

An easy to understand guide to the different areas of law that are involved in neighbourhood issues and disputes. Covers areas that commonly cause problems between neighbours including: dividing fences, retaining walls, overhanging branches, animals and noise.

The online version of Neighbours and the law was updated in January 2014. Changes include the introduction of the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) which replaced Local Land Boards on 1 January 2014.

Copies of this book are also available in the Tool Kit at your local public library.

neighbours and the law

Disputes and how to resolve them

Mediation - Community Justice Centres - legal action

Property rights and neighbours

Ownership - freehold - strata title - community title - company title - who is the owner of a property - caveats - co-ownership - leasehold - tenancy - residential parks - licence - retirement villages

Entry, access and privacy

Trespass - nuisance - negligence - entry for fencing work - access orders - Access to Neighbouring Land Act 2000 - easements - rights of way - privacy


Boundary disputes - encroaching buildings - adverse possession

Retaining walls

Retaining walls - law of support - case study

Dividing fences

Dividing Fences Act 1991 - fencing notice - reaching an agreement - case studies

Trees and plants

Noxious weeds - tree preservation orders - overhanging branches - invasive tree roots - tree disputes - Trees (Disputes Between Neighbours) Act 2006 - damage to property or injury to people - case studies

Noise, smells, smoke and garbage

Pollution - Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 - neighbourhood noise - smells - odour control - smoke - garbage


Swimming pools - sewerage and drainage - drainage easements - entry of water - water pollution - case study


Companion Animals Act 1998 - animals

Land use and development

Environmental planning instruments - private rights of adjoining owners

Violence, harassment and intimidation

Apprehended personal violence orders (APVO) - applying for an APVO

Neighbours and the law by Nadine Behan. Published by the Legal Information Access Centre (LIAC), State Library of New South Wales.

© Library Council of New South Wales, 2012. Material contained herein may be copied for the non-commercial purpose of study or research subject to the provisions of the Copyright Act 1969 (Cth).

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