SA Boundary Fence & Courtyard Wall - Neighbour Threats & Noise Pollution

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25 August 2014
Hi, we seem to have the new neighbours from hell! We live in a Community Titled Residential area. One of the by laws was that houses must be painted in a neutral colour the same as the rest of the community which is a cream colour.

The neighbours lied at special meeting held approving their house that it was to be painted in cream and not grey as the had on the council plans. The owner said that she didn't know any thing about it that it was to be of a creamy colour. They went ahead and painted it in a light pebble grey with dark grey contrast. I denied them access to our property as they had to construct scaffolding to do part of the build. Without asking our consent! It is a very small courtyard & significantly affected our lives with scaffolding there for 7 weeks! Not the 3 were were told. They agreed to conditions that the courtyard would be painted the same as their house to give continuity to that wall. Also that the build on boundary fence would be of blue board & rendered the same colour. I again denied them access as the wall was quite grey and not the cream she had advised! After speaking to the owner again she assured me there was no grey in her colour scheme.

Eventually it all got to hard, so to just get it over with we agreed that she could go ahead and that she'd agreed to paint our courtyard wall the same as their house so that we didn't have the boundary wall two different colours, that was in March, which I have in writting! This has not been completed. Since the start of the build they have threatened us, bullied us and blackmailed us into doing what they want! We also have a build on boundary fence now built of Blueboard and rendered, this was also promised. However he gave us two days notice as a friend was doing it a what he called a good price, he threatened if we didn't give $400 (our half) on the day of the construction he would put a metal fence up instead!

To cut a very long story short many things happened in the one week with the builders and his bullying we had water pouring under our decking at the back and a down pipe that hadn't be connected pouring onto our decking and courtyard at the front. Eventually I rang council who made them agree to fix the storm water and down pipe, the builder contacted me and I lost my temper very badly.

Since then the neighbour will not have any more to do with us even though we have been more than patient and helpful, again I have this in writing confirming how grateful they were to us for being so patient etc! He now says he will do it when he feels like it. That was some two months ago. How do we go about getting the courtyard wall painted and the fence painted, I made him sign a contract but didn't put a time frame on it. Please help, I have even contacted the police about his threats, but because it's not of a violent nature they can't do anything but do want me to take everything into them as they may just give him a call.

This weekend on Sat morning 8.00am just below our bedroom window they had an electric wood saw machine, sawing wood. The noise was horrendous but refused to wait until a later time of day, this went on for the whole day. I'm not a hundred percent sure but I'm pretty sure the by laws have some restrictions on noise. I know that it was agreed at our Annual General Meeting at which they were present that no building was to be done on weekends. They even worked on Anzac Day with banging etc coming through our internal walls. We also have a house being built the other side and only their garage has been built on boundary. We have had no problems what so ever with communicating with them and have tried their very hardest to abide by the By Laws.

Sorry this is so lengthy, please give me your opinion, I'm chronically ill and unable to work so Im subject to this noise every day, my specialists and GP have confirmed that my illness has been exacerbated by all this stress and to be honest it is making me very ill!

Thanks in advance


Dear Lylo,

You have mentioned quite a number of instances in your comments above, that appear to have exacerbated an escalating situation, however I can only pinpoint a few actual legal issues.

Neighbour Disputes Generally:
This free publication provides some helpful tips on how to deal with fence, boundary and neighbourhood disputes. Although it is NSW law, many of the principles remain the same and may have equivalents in SA.


Construction noise resulting in noise with an adverse impact on the local area is subject to the following restrictions:
  • must not occur on a Sunday or other public holiday
  • must not occur on any other day except between 7 am and 7 pm
  • must not emit a continuous noise level greater than 45 dB(A) or a maximum noise level of 60 dB(A).
A particular operation may occur on a Sunday or public holiday between 9 am and 7 pm, or may commence before 7 am on any other day:
  • to avoid an unreasonable interruption of vehicle or pedestrian traffic
  • if other grounds exist that the EPA or other administering agency determines to be sufficient
In South Australia, you can contact the EPA to assist you if you are concerned about a noisy activity. 8204 2004. However, in the first instance, you are encouraged to resolve the matter yourself by speaking with the person generating the noise. They may not be aware of the noise impacting you. Discussing the matter may result in a suitable compromise for both parties. Further information is available at
Contract to paint fence:
Although you have not stipulated a time period within which the painting and other work on your fence was to be performed, the law will still likely require that the promise be carried out within a 'reasonable time'. This will be implied into such contracts. You may be able to enforce the contract despite the fact that you did not state a time for performance.