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Ask Sean Your Own Question
Sean, Experienced lawyer
Category: Australia Law
Satisfied Customers: 855
Experience:  Law degree with 1st class honours from Australian National University.
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Hi We have a garage on the boundary of our neighbours property.

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We have a garage on the boundary of our neighbours property. Their garden bed is over the top of our damp course of the garage and this is where ants have gotten in ( trees along that wall). We got permission from owners to dig a trench to poison which we have done. This should not be disturbed for 8 weeks after poisoning. Today trees have been drilled out and mulch now sitting over our damp course again on top of the poisoning. We now have to poison again.
Can you tell us what our rights are and whether we have any recourse with owners of home next door.
Kind regards

Hi Julie,

Thanks for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I would be happy to help you with this.

This is a tricky one, because it is their property and they have a right to do what they want on their property.

However, there are a couple of causes of action you can take against them because their property is allowing the ants to get in.

The first is the action of private nuisance. This action is available where one person substantially and unreasonably interferes with another person's right to the use and enjoyment of their land. This cause of action is available even if the nuisance (the ants) is not direct or intentional.

The second cause of action would be one of negligence. Under this you would argue that they owe you a duty of care and by causing the poison to be ineffective and thus allowing the ants to prosper, they have breached their duty and caused you damage.

Under each of these causes of action, you would be able to claim damages for the value of any loss and damage the ants cause to your property.

Now that you know that you do have some legal rights here, perhaps you could talk to your neighbour and ask them to share the cost of the poisoning and also to ensure that they allow the poison time to work. If they don't agree to this, then your next action would be to bring a claim against them in court. However this would cost money in legal fees, and damage your relationship, so it would be much better if you can talk it through to a resolution.

Please let me know if you need any more information.


Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi Sean,

Thank you for your prompt reply, we were the first property in the street and initially there was supposed to be another garage the other side of ours but instead we got a garden bed. Is there no recourse because they have built over our damp course and a sharing of costs to fix? We had to put the garage there because of council on the boundary line. We sit below everyone else. I am all for good neighbours and if I can sort this out amicably I certainly will but I would just like to know how I stand before approaching this.

Again Many thanks

Hello again. This will depend on who's land the garden bed is on. If the garden bed is on their land, then they would be entitled to have it there and would not be required to share the costs to fix the problem. It is unfortunate that it has deviated from the original intention, but I think the best grounds you would have here is that the way they are using their property has an impact on yours, via the ants, and therefore you would have a claim for nuisance or negligence.

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