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Neighbours and the law

Neighbours and the law

Cover image of Neighbours and the law, graphic image of people and houses

by Nadine Behan
2nd edition, published by the Legal Information Access Centre (LIAC), State Library of New South Wales, 2017

An easy to understand guide to the different areas of law that are involved in neighbourhood issues and disputes. Covers areas that commonly cause problems between neighbours including: dividing fences, retaining walls, overhanging branches, animals and noise.

The State Library of NSW acknowledges the contribution of The Francis Forbes Society for Australian Legal History which made the publication of this book possible.

Copies of this book are also freely available in the Find Legal Answers Tool Kit at your local public library.

The book can be purchased from the Library Shop.


Chapter six

Retaining walls

Retaining walls - law of support. 

Chapter seven

Dividing fences

Dividing Fences Act 1991 - fencing notice - reaching an agreement.

Chapter eight

Trees and plants

Noxious weeds - tree preservation orders - overhanging branches - invasive tree roots - tree disputes - Trees (Disputes Between Neighbours) Act 2006 - damage to property or injury to people - tree dispute principles - trees falling in a storm - high hedges.

Chapter nine

Noise, smells, smoke and garbage

Pollution - Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 - neighbourhood noise - smells - odour control - smoke - garbage. 

Chapter ten


Swimming pools - sewerage and drainage - drainage easements - entry of water - water pollution. 


Neighbours and the law by Nadine Behan. Published by the Legal Information Access Centre (LIAC), State Library of New South Wales.

The laws contained here are those that apply in New South Wales as at 1 January 2017. While every effort has been made to ensure the information is up-to-date and accurate, it is not a substitute for legal advice. Use this book as a guide only and wherever possible get legal advice for your particular problem.

© Library Council of New South Wales, 2017. Material contained herein may be copied for the non-commercial purpose of study or research subject to the provisions of the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth).