If your neighbour has approached you about a problem that you think isn’t your responsibility, there can still be benefits to getting involved. Benefits of dealing with the problem nowYour relationship with your neighbour is likely to be ongoing, so it’s worth responding to your neighbour’s concerns. If you deal with the situation as soon as possible, you may avoid larger problems later on. Additionally, you may need your neighbour’s help in future, so offering to help them now can build goodwill. You may have a legal obligationEven though you may not think a matter should be your responsibility, you may have a legal obligation. For example if the fence is in need of repair, you and your neighbour have a joint responsibility to repair it or share in the cost of a new fence. If you need legal advice or information about your responsibilities visit our Know Your Rights page for more information. Understanding your neighbour’s point of viewEven if you don't think something is a problem your neighbour may consider the matter to be important. It’s a good idea to make sure you understand their point of view, because seeming to ignore them can lead to further problems. Make sure you understand their concerns:
- show them you’ve heard them by acknowledging what they’re saying
- ask questions to clarify why the issue is so important to them
Be clear about your point of view:
- explain why you don’t agree the problem is important
- explain any concerns you have, e.g. it’s not a good time
Try to find points of compromise. If you are a tenantIf you are renting the house and the issue is one that the neighbour needs to speak to the owner about, you should refer the neighbour to the owner of the property you are living in or the estate agent that collects your rent. If you are feeling harrassedIf you are concerned that your neighbour is harassing you, then you may wish to seek legal advice on what to do. If you are feeling scared or threatenedYou may need to contact your local Victoria Police station.