My elder neighbour has set up a sprinkler system along our common timber paling fence. – Kate, NSW
Q: My elder neighbour has set up a sprinkler system along our common timber paling fence.
She runs it every day for 20mins. The ground on my side of the fence is water-logged and boggy (the western side in shadow), as it does not get a chance to dry out when it rains the water pools in my yard and does not drain away.
I am concerned about possible termite invasion and possible building movement due to the excess wetness. The body corporate dismisses my complaint – ongoing for 4 years – with photos. The elderly lady tells them she either forgot and left the hose running or that she only had it on for 10mins “the other day”. Where do I turn?
A: Sometimes the best way to resolve issues with neighbours and enhance your community living experience is by having open communication with them.
If you haven’t already, try talking to your neighbour and letting her know that her sprinkler system is causing your strata property some issues. You’ll find that a lot of the time, people may simply be unaware that their actions are affecting others and will happily compromise.
If you are unable to resolve the issue through talks and find that your body corporate are not cooperating, try bringing the issue up with your strata manager. A good strata manager will listen and try to resolve your issue.
If all these steps fail, Fair Trading NSW provides a free mediation service which may assist in dispute resolution. Though it’s worth noting that this should only be used as a last resort. You can read more about that in this article: https://picagroup.com.au/contravention-notices/
You may also wish to have a by-law drafted and registered that will limit how long someone is allowed to run the sprinkler system for during the day. This means that there will be official rules in place, as well as consequences such as warnings, and ultimately fines if they are broken. Make sure that you have your by-laws drafted by professionals, to ensure that they are clear and well-written. This will help any avoid confusion and contention in future. If you’re interested, we provide by-law drafting and registering which you can get by visiting: https://picagroup.com.au/services/by-laws-drafting/