• Contact Us
  • Business News

Resolving disputes with neighbours

City Services
Health Services
Community and residents
Resolving disputes with neighbours

Our Health and Compliance team plays a significant role in protecting local amenity and public health and safety.

As part of that role, the team investigates complaints relating to noise, environmental pollution, food, asbestos handling, and untidy properties.

We all may use and enjoy our property as we please as long as we follow the law and respect other people’s property. This applies to tenants and property owners alike. Being a neighbour means there will be times when what you do on your property affects your neighbour, just as what your neighbour does can affect you.

We encourage you to talk with your neighbour before contacting the City about your issue. In most cases, your best option is to resolve it by talking with your neighbour and sorting it out in a friendly and informal way. The best way to maintain a good relationship is by working out problems together. This approach will hopefully result in the best solution for you both.

How to resolve neighbourhood disputes

Talking to your neighbour can help you resolve problems before they become too serious.

When talking with your neighbour, consider your neighbour’s point of view and accommodate any differences, such as personal background, working hours or stage of life. Always keep your conversations informal and friendly and focus on the problem you want to resolve. Let them know you are pleased you can get together to solve the problem.

Neighbourhood problems can be upsetting and generate emotion, so when talking to neighbours:

  1. Approach your neighbour politely. Remember, some people become defensive when approached, so it is essential to discuss the matter politely and without argument.
  2. Contact your neighbour to work out a suitable time and place to meet. Choose a time when neither of you is rushed. Choose a place where you can both sit comfortably and won’t be interrupted.
  3. Explain why the problem is created and ask the person for their help in resolving the matter. You may find it useful to show the person the issue. Remember to stay calm and avoid blaming words and name-calling.
  4. Give your neighbour a chance to tell their side of the story. Don’t interrupt them and show them you are listening by maintaining appropriate eye contact and acknowledging what they are saying.
  5. If you agree, allow the person time to make changes. It might be helpful to confirm the agreement in writing or make a follow-up meeting to check how things are going.
  6. If the person was receptive to your concerns but the problem has not been resolved, approach them again, as they may think they resolved it.
  7. If you cannot agree, lodge a request on the Issue and Request page or contact the appropriate authority from the list below.
  8. If you decide to lodge a request with the City, it helps to know what action you have taken and how the neighbour responded to your concerns. Please provide this information in your formal request.

What requests are not managed by the City?

The City cannot resolve all issues – sometimes your request will fall under another jurisdiction.

The City’s Public Health and Compliance team plays a significant role in protecting public health and safety. This includes investigating matters like noise, environmental pollution, food, unauthorised building, and land development.

There are matters the City does not have the power to resolve the issue. Please contact the appropriate authority for these requests:

Request Contact
Loud music and parties Police – 131 444
Hoons, burnouts and street racing Police – 131 444
Loud vehicles Police – 131 444
Aircraft noise Air Service Australia – 1800 802 584
Rail noise Public Transport Authority – 9326 2541
Road noise Public Transport Authority – 9326 2541
Domestic noises, children, yelling, swearing, or thumping Police – 131 444
Damage caused by overhanging trees or tree roots

Civil Matter – talk with your neighbour at first. If that doesn’t resolve the issue, you may wish to proceed with mediation services or legal action (more information below).

If overhanging branches or encroaching roots have damaged your property, write a letter to your neighbour that includes:

  • the specific damage their tree’s branches or roots have caused to your property
  • several quotes for the cost of repairing the damage
  • a request for your neighbour to pay those costs and how they’ll do that
  • a request that they fix the problem by removing parts of the tree if needed.

Send your neighbour the letter and keep a copy for yourself. Your neighbour has a legal obligation to respond to the letter within 21 days and fix the problem.

Dividing fence damage, maintenance and replacement Civil Matter – talk with your neighbour at first. If that doesn't resolve the issue, you may wish to proceed with mediation services or legal action (more information below).
Security cameras If you believe your property is being overlooked by security cameras, you can call Police on 131 444 to investigate.
Unsatisfactory building work

If you have a building dispute, contact the builder and try to come to an agreement or send a letter to the builder asking for a resolution.

If these attempts do not work, you may have to approach the Building and Energy Division of the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety.

Audible alarms (security or intruder) Police – 131 444

Resolving civil matters

If your issue hasn’t been resolved by talking with your neighbour, you may wish to utilise meditation or legal services to resolve civil matters:

Mediation services

Mediation is where a neutral third party assists two or more people in dispute to identify concerns and investigate options to agree. The mediator will not take sides or decide for you.

Visit the Legal Aid website for a list of mediation services in Western Australia.

Legal Aid WA

Legal Aid is a State Government organisation which provides legal help to Western Australians. Visit the Legal Aid website to find out what services are available to you.

Citizens Advice Bureau

Citizens Advice Bureau can provided advice, mediation services, and assistance with the next steps if mediation falls through. Visit the Citizens Advice Bureau website to learn more.

Perth Magistrates Court

The Perth Magistrates Court is available to resolve civil matters, for example, dividing fence matters.

Report an issue

If you cannot resolve the issue using the above methods, visit the Issue and Request page to lodge a request. Please select the topic that best suits the complaint.

Was this page helpful?

Thank you for your feedback!