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Is there a law saying you aren’t allowed to build on someone else’s land?

By 19 April 2011 72

We have a wee problem with a neighbour. They’ve built a deck that extends past their boundary and onto our land.

After the usual argy-bargy, we lodged a complaint with ACTPLA (at the advice of ACTPLA, mind you) only to be told that it’s outside their authority. This is apparently because the structure was exempt from a DA.

Does this mean that in the ACT if you build a structure that doesn’t require a DA you can build it wherever you like? Is the onus then on the lessee of that land to go through the expense of a civil action to make you remove it? That doesn’t sound at all right to me.

Does anyone out there know anything about this?

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72 Responses to
Is there a law saying you aren’t allowed to build on someone else’s land?
c` 11:42 am
19 Apr 11
#1

trespass

Solidarity 11:49 am
19 Apr 11
#2

They built on your land, hence you can remove it from your land, right?

Smelly 11:52 am
19 Apr 11
#3

Trim the deck like an over hanging branch. Use a chainsaw.

BlackIce 11:55 am
19 Apr 11
#4

Well, if there’s a structure on your land, you can always use a chainsaw to remove it…

PBO 11:57 am
19 Apr 11
#5

Then get rid of it.

Treat it like an overhanging branch and cut it down.

If it is on your property then you are free to do what you like to maintain the longterm, aesthetic nature of your property. If the ACTPLA say that it is not their issue then you go to town son.

molongloid 12:27 pm
19 Apr 11
#6

How far past? Get a proper survey done and make allowance for error, i.e. be conservative. Be assertive, but don’t just go ahead and cut. In a matter-of-fact manner, with evidence in hand, advise neighbour. This is a technical issue that can be fixed by doing remedial work that can leave the neighbour with a decent deck and you with your land. Clearly the neighbour needs to pay for the work, but if they don’t wat to then they need to understand that the alternative is a fe minutes of chainsaw.

colourful sydney rac 12:29 pm
19 Apr 11
#7

I suggest you take off and nuke the site from orbit, it’s the only way to be sure.

troll-sniffer 12:46 pm
19 Apr 11
#8

Might be a case to make some of your rates money back. Assess the total percentage of your block that has been rendered unusable for your own purposes (all aesthetic and privacy concerns included) and offer to lease the affected area for a goodly percentage of your annual rates bill.

Oh and while we’re there, how about a photo of the transgression?

Keijidosha 12:49 pm
19 Apr 11
#9

I don’t disagree with the consensus that chainsaw revenge is the ticket, but if you don’t have access to a saw, then I suggest you simply claim the section of deck on your property and use it for your own purposes. Perhaps a quiet place to defecate every morning before breakfast?

Skidbladnir 12:50 pm
19 Apr 11
#10

Encroachments between lesees of two seperate titles are a private matter, not ACTPLA.
http://www.actpla.act.gov.au/topics/design_build/manage_construction/encroachments

Occupiers are responsible for care, or at least reasonably minimise the risk of injury, of anybody entering that land.
(IE: You can’t line your border with pitfalls, nor cover your section of the constructed deck with panji traps)

Thumper 12:54 pm
19 Apr 11
#11

Invite twenty mates around, get a keg and have a BBQ on the part of the deck that is over your property.

p1 12:58 pm
19 Apr 11
#12

BlackIce said :

Well, if there’s a structure on your land, you can always use a chainsaw to remove it…

Is it a nice deck? You could always put a BBQ and some chairs on the bit on your side of the line, invite some friends over and have a party?

colourful sydney rac 12:58 pm
19 Apr 11
#13

In all seriousness, try and deal with the nieghbour directly, the last thing you want is to have a toxic relationship with the people you live next door to.

welkin31 1:00 pm
19 Apr 11
#14

I would be very wary about starting the chainsaw unless you were “surveyor sure” where your boundary was.

Gerry-Built 1:02 pm
19 Apr 11
#15

the chainsaw option is going to do wonders for your relationship with your neighbour/s…

I can’t believe ACTPLA reckon this is out of their authority; whose do you need, the police? I’d be calling ACTPLA to ask for advice on what to do now… not a handful of ACT residents who jump straight to the chainsaw option – as amusing as that does sound ;-)

Of course, the Lt. Ripley method has it’s own attractions, too…

beejay76 2:47 pm
19 Apr 11
#16

Thanks Skidbladnir. I was clearly looking in the wrong place and didn’t know what to call it. So it would seem that you *are* allowed to build wherever the hell you like and then the owner of the property has to sort it out. How crap is that? Better hope no-one whacks something up every time you go on holidays, what?

While I don’t have access to a chainsaw, there is a power saw looking for a bit of action. Perhaps I should just ask Captn RAAF around.

Chop71 3:08 pm
19 Apr 11
#17

seems strange that you need approval to have a water tank within 1.5m of the boundary yet you can build a deck on someone elses land

p1 3:16 pm
19 Apr 11
#18

beejay76 said :

Thanks Skidbladnir. I was clearly looking in the wrong place and didn’t know what to call it. So it would seem that you *are* allowed to build wherever the hell you like and then the owner of the property has to sort it out….

Interesting. I wonder, had the offending structure been one which required a DA, would ACTPLA have fined you, because it is on your land…?

canberra_guy 3:48 pm
19 Apr 11
#19

Why is there not a fence protecting the extension of the deck onto your boundary? Was it build prior to the fence being errected?

EvanJames 4:03 pm
19 Apr 11
#20

Keijidosha said :

I suggest you simply claim the section of deck on your property and use it for your own purposes. Perhaps a quiet place to defecate every morning before breakfast?

I like this one the best.

We really need a picture of the problem, I think.

It’s pretty amazing that you need a DA and a yellow notice on a stick to erect a birdbath, but can build a dirty great structure over the boundary.

trevar 4:08 pm
19 Apr 11
#21

Why don’t you send them a nice thank you note for the deck and invite them to a bbq on it?

Skidbladnir 4:51 pm
19 Apr 11
#22

1- I am not a lawyer, and suggest you try and sort out neighbour issues amicably.
2- See 1.
3- Are you certain you’re aware of precisely where your land interest ends or common boundary exists? (Have you checked previous certified site surveys, and had everything re-surveyed by a registered surveyor to ascertain non-compliance or compliance? If not, proceed no further down the list, but click this link.)
4- See 1.
5- Was there a fence already, and has any ‘boundary repair’\’fence replacement’ been agreed to or reasonably considered by both parties with sufficient notice?
6- See 1.
7- Would you be willing to consider a private creation\transfer and grant of an easement as the servient party?
8- See 1.
9- Would you be willing to renounc your interest in the affected land in exchange for whatever recompense you require, in exchange for filing for a variation to the existing lease boundary with ACTPLA in your neighbour’s favour?
10- See 1.
11- The Take off and nuke the relationship from orbit response:
Would you be willing to consider civil action through ACAT if you were willing to accept a determination with total financial value less than $10k?
12- RE 11: See 1.

ACAT information available here, with application forms for various ACAT actions available here.

PS: This took about ten minutes of research and typing to achieve. Finding out your rights isn’t particularly hard, its mostly about working out which right to exercise

gazket 7:04 pm
19 Apr 11
#23

I just looked at the ACTPLA web site and its a useful as tits on a bull. most pathetic web site ever, links they give come up with a msg cannot be found.

Pandy 11:30 pm
19 Apr 11
#24

14: Take off and nuke from orbit and aim at Skidblanir. The tin foil hat wont mask the GPS transmitter implanted into his head.

It’s the only way to be sure.

2 birds, one nuke.

LSWCHP 12:19 am
20 Apr 11
#25

Pandy said :

14: Take off and nuke from orbit and aim at Skidblanir. The tin foil hat wont mask the GPS transmitter implanted into his head.

It’s the only way to be sure.

2 birds, one nuke.

Huh? Seriously. What’s that about? What’d Skid write that caused that?

wildturkeycanoe 6:20 am
20 Apr 11
#26

gazket said :

I just looked at the ACTPLA web site and its a useful as tits on a bull. most pathetic web site ever, links they give come up with a msg cannot be found.

100% agree. I tried to get them to elaborate on some of their rules about class 10A structures and DAs, they couldn’t/wouldn’t answer a question about their own web page and referred me to a building surveyor. He ended up telling me over the phone quite simply everything was fine [no DA required], with a “here we go again with ACTPLA” kind of tone. If ACTPLA can’t act or even make determinations using their own rules, what use are they except for raking in cash at everyone’s expense?
As for the deck dilemma, I say walk past it, hit your head “accidentally” on it and sue the pants of ‘em.

colourful sydney rac 9:21 am
20 Apr 11
#27

Pandy said :

14: Take off and nuke from orbit and aim at Skidblanir. The tin foil hat wont mask the GPS transmitter implanted into his head.

It’s the only way to be sure.

2 birds, one nuke.

what are you on about????

housebound 9:24 am
20 Apr 11
#28

Pandy said :

14: Take off and nuke from orbit and aim at Skidblanir. The tin foil hat wont mask the GPS transmitter implanted into his head.
It’s the only way to be sure.
2 birds, one nuke.

Um. It looked like good advice to me. You’re not the offending neighbour are you Pandy?

ACTPLAComms 2:03 pm
20 Apr 11
#29

Beejay76, we’re sorry to hear you received an unsatisfactory response to your query. If you could email ACTPLA_Communications@act.gov.au and provide us with your contact details, we’d like to be able to come back to you with a suggested course of action.

LSWCHP 2:45 pm
20 Apr 11
#30

ACTPLAComms said :

Beejay76, we’re sorry to hear you received an unsatisfactory response to your query. If you could email ACTPLA_Communications@act.gov.au and provide us with your contact details, we’d like to be able to come back to you with a suggested course of action.

I hope ACTPLAComms isn’t a confused apparatchik of the Communications arm of the ACT branch of the Peoples Liberation Army.

On the other hand, if this is fair dinkum then good on you, ACTPLAComms. In my experience it’s rare to see a government agency respond so positively to a problem. More power to you.

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