Fact sheet – Neighbourhood issues

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Noise can be the source of many neighbourhood complaints. Local councils can control noise from a variety of sources such as lawn mowers, chainsaws, power tools, air conditioners and heat pumps through legislation. In some situations, such as noisy parties late at night, the police can help. If you have an issue with noise coming from your neighbours' property, you should try talking to your neighbour about it first.


If the branches of a neighbour's tree hang over onto your property or tree roots from their tree grow through onto your property, the law says that you can prune or lop overhanging branches and cut invasive roots of a neighbours' tree. This is called a self-help remedy to abate a nuisance.

You are able to prune or cut back the offending branches or roots, without the owner of the tree preventing that action. You do not need to give notice to the owner of the tree first. However, it is a good idea to let your neighbour know before you do so. In contrast, there is no legal right to prune the branches of a neighbours' tree or cut back the roots, before they grow over the boundary, as a precautionary measure. You cannot simply rely on the fact that in the course of time the branches or roots would more than likely grow over onto your property.

Any lopped or pruned branches and cut roots should be returned to the owner, together with any fruit on them, as these are still their property. The right to lop branches and cut roots does not carry with it a right to claim ownership of the severed branches, roots or fruit.


A fence that divides your property with your neighbours' property is called a boundary fence. If a boundary fence needs repairing or replacing, both you and your neighbour are jointly responsible for the costs of repair or replacement of that fence.

If you would like your neighbour to share the costs of repairing or replacing a boundary fence, you should issue them with a notice to repair or replace. The notice should include how you intend to repair or replace the fence, the materials you intend using and the cost of carrying out the repairs or replacement. The best way to approach this is to contact your neighbour to discuss the repair or replacement of the fence and get a couple of quotes to carry out the work. Your neighbour then has an opportunity to agree to your proposals. If your neighbour wont agree to share the cost of repair or replacement of the boundary fence, then you will need to go to court to recover your neighbours share. To be successful, you need to have issued your neighbour with the required notice first. You will find more information on boundary fences and the relevant notices at: Boundary Fences - Self Help Kit.

If repairing or replacing a boundary fence, you are permitted to go on to your neighbour's property for this purpose, if access from your side is not possible. This also includes tradespeople you engage to carry out this work. Entry onto your neighbour's land must be reasonable at all times. You will be liable for any damage caused to your neighbours' property whilst you were entering it to replace or repair a boundary fence.


As far as the law is concerned, there are generally no rights of privacy between neighbours. Sometimes a neighbour will disagree with something that the other neighbour is doing entirely on his or her land, which involves no actual crossing of the boundary. For example, you might object a neighbour who seems to be always looking over your fence at what you are doing or listening to what is happening on your property. If you want to prevent your neighbour from being able to interfere, then putting up a higher fence, planting a tree or a hedge, installing curtains, a closed door or soundproofing are possible solutions. Any alterations you make to your property such as fencing or soundproofing may need to be approved by your local council.


It is against the law for a dog to be a nuisance to other neighbours by creating noise, such as barking. If your neighbour's dog is bothering you by barking, you should let your neighbour know. If your neighbour is not around during the time the dog is barking, they may not be aware of the problem. If the dog is still barking after you have alerted your neighbour, then you can complain to your local council who will investigate.


Drones fall within the definition of ‘aircraft’ under the Civil Aviation Act 1988 and are therefore subject to specific laws that govern their use. For more information on their use and operation in relation to privacy please see edotasmania’s fact sheet.


Last updated: 3-May-2021