4 tips to help you resolve a neighbourhood dispute

Victorian neighbours resolve an issue
Melbourne neighbours resolve a dispute. © Fairfax

A fall-out with a neighbour over things like a fence, water damage or noise can quickly become unpleasant and stressful.

Here are our top tips for how to resolve a neighbourhood dispute if you're living in Victoria.

1. Talk it out

A good start for small disagreements is to try to resolve the problem with your neighbour yourself. Always keep your conversations informal and friendly and focus on the problem you want to resolve.

To get the best results with your neighbour:

  • Don’t be too quick to react – wait and see if there is a problem before taking action
  • Try to find a solution that is acceptable to both of you
  • Remember, there may not be an instant solution – try to be patient. It may take time to find a resolution both parties are happy with.

2. Contact your local council

If talking things over doesn't fix the problem, you could consider making a formal complaint to your local council. Your local council website provides useful information on how to make formal complaints about a range of neighbourhood issues and about how your council can respond to them.

3. Mediation

Mediation is another way you can try to resolve a disagreement with your neighbour without going to court. The Victorian government offers a free service called the Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria where mediators are available to help you. You can find out more about mediation here.

4. Legal action

If talking to your neighbour, mediation and council action have not resolved your neighbourhood dispute, you could consider legal advice to see if you have a case that you could pursue in the courts.

Taking legal action should be your last resort as it's often uncertain, costly and time consuming. It also runs the risk of damaging your relationship with your neighbour.

Find out more information: neighbours and housing

This information relates to laws in Victoria, Australia.

This page was last updated on November 07, 2016