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Neighbourhood Property Disputes


Nuisance in relation to neighbourhood disputes refers to when there is an interference with the use and enjoyment of land.  For example, a nuisance may occur where someone has caused persistent and excessive noise that impacts a neighbour.  A claim of nuisance requires consideration of various factors and can be resolved either in or outside of work.  Some legal remedies available in a nuisance claim include damages and injunctions.


Trespass in the context of neighbourhood property disputes refers to the interference with another persons’ property without any legal justification.  For example, trespass may occur where a person is using part of of a neighbour’s property as a thoroughfare.  Some legal remedies that may be available in a trespass claim include damages and injunctions.  In addition, there are various statutory penalties that apply when people trespass upon other people’s land.


Property disputes also arise between neighbours regarding boundaries between land.  For example, a boundary dispute regarding the fencing between the properties of neighbours.  Boundary disputes in NSW can be resolved in a variety of ways including making a boundary dispute application to the NSW Land Registry Services and by contacting the relevant local and state authorities.  They can also be resolve through an alternative dispute resolution method such as mediation and conciliation.


Trees are often the cause of disputes between neighbours.  In some unfortunate instances neighbours use trees as a means of antagonising their neighbour.  The Trees (Disputes between Neighbours Act) 2006 NSW provides that where trees create a severe obstruction of sunlight to a window of a dwelling or any view from a dwelling, the effected neighbour may apply to the court for an order to have the trees trimmed or removed to remedy the obstruction.

How can a Property Dispute Lawyer Help?

If you are involved in a property dispute with a neighbour, there are several ways that a property dispute lawyer can help:

Legal Advice

The property dispute lawyers at Brander Smith McKnight can advise you of your legal rights and obligations in relation to the neighbour property dispute.  We can also explain the various pieces of legislation relevant to the dispute.  This includes:

  • Dividing Fences Act 1991 (NSW)
  • Conveyancing Act 1919 (NSW)
  • Real Property Act 1900 (NSW)
  • Encroachment of Buildings Act 1992 (NSW)
  • Inclosed Lands Protection Act 1901 (NSW)
  • Access to Neighbouring Land Act 2000 (NSW)
  • Trees (Disputes between Neighbours) Act 2006 (NSW)

Dispute Resolution Options to avoid Court

This can save you time, money and stress when resolving a neighbourhood property dispute.  The lawyers at Brander Smith McKnight can explain the options that are available, the advantages and disadvantages of different options and advocate on your behalf to use these techniques. These include:

  • Informal Agreement.  The simple method of directly contacting the neighbour can be an efficient way of resolving the dispute
  • Contacting the Relevant Authorities.  Disputes involving noise or rubbish can sometimes be resolved by contacting the relevant local council or police.
  • Mediation.  Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution option where an independent mediator helps disputing parties settle their dispute among themselves.  This is done by the mediator facilitating discussion between the parties with the aim of achieving a mutually beneficial solution. Mediation is confidential and mediators do not take sides or make decision in relation to your dispute.
  • Conciliation.  This is another dispute resolution technique using an independent and impartial person called a conciliator. The conciliator can suggest options for resolving the dispute, provide relevant information and encourage the pursuit of an agreement.  Your property lawyer can help you prepare for and can represent you during conciliation. They can also explain alternatives if an agreement is not reached during conciliation.
  • Arbitration.  Arbitration is another alternative dispute resolution technique which allows disputing parties to have their dispute decided by an independent, neutral decision maker, called an arbitrator. In arbitration, the disputing parties put forward arguments and evidence that the arbitrator will assess and make a decision on. The process is private and subject to the parties’ agreement, can be confidential. It is the most formal alternative to litigation. The decision made by the arbitrator, called an award, is legally binding and enforceable. Your property lawyer can help you prepare for and represent you during this process.
  • Litigation.  Litigation is the process of resolving a dispute in court.  During litigation, both parties to the dispute will argue their case before a judge or magistrate. They will determine how to resolve the dispute based on the evidence and the arguments of both parties. The property dispute lawyers at Brander Smith McKnight lawyers are expert litigators and will advocate effectively for you in court.

Development Applications

Some developments require legal consent to be carried out, this consent is requested through a development application.  Our property lawyers are very experienced at assisting you with development applications. We also have extensive experience in disputing development applications.

Why BSM Lawyers?

We have a very strong team of lawyers with over 30 combined years of experience in property disputes.  We are proud to say that we resolve the vast majority of property disputes without the need for litigation, saving you time and money in legal fees. We have extensive experience in all types of alternative dispute resolution and achieve excellent results. If litigation is required our property dispute lawyers have outstanding advocacy experience in all tribunals and courts, including the NCAT and the Local, District and Supreme courts.

We have offices conveniently located in Sutherland, Parramatta, Wollongong and Sydney CBD.

Call us to arrange a free 20 minute no obligation consultation that includes case evaluation and cost estimate.


chevronWhat is Abatement?

Abatement refers to the removal of the source of a property dispute.  It is a simple remedy to common neighbourhood property disputes such as disputes relating to nuisance.

chevronWhat is an Easement?

Easements are registered interests on land that grant specific rights to parties who do not own the land to use it for a particular purpose.  A common example of an easement is where a landowner has the right to access their property through the use of a shared driveway.  An easement may also exist where part of a person’s property is used commonly as a thoroughfare for pedestrians.  A property and conveyancing lawyer can identify whether any easements exist in relation to a property and also help you dispute the existence of an easement.

chevronWhat is a caveat?

In the context of property, it applies to where someone holds an interest in land and that interest can be documented and registered to be legally protected.  Caveats apply to Torrens Title land.

chevronWhat is the difference between public and private nuisance?

Private nuisance refers to unlawful and unreasonable interferences with another person’s land.  Whereas public nuisance refers to an unlawful act that generally threatens the public’s life, health, property morals or comfort.

chevronWhat is the Trees (Disputes between Neighbours) Act 2006 (NSW)?

This piece of legislation largely governs the resolution of disputes between neighbours relating to trees.  For example, where trees damage a property, cause injury or obstruct a neighbour’s view.  The friendly property lawyers at Brander Smith McKnight are happy to advice you on the specifics of this legislation.

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