Rural Residential Properties
Living on a rural residential property means your nearest neighbour may be some distance from you. However, your activities can still impact on them. How you manage vegetation, water, waste, fire, domestic animals, livestock, vehicles and machinery, fencing, and noise will all impact on your neighbours and the relationship you have with them. Being a good neighbour is more than saying hello to the person living next to you, it requires regular communication and consideration of their lifestyle. Forming good relationships with neighbours can also assist with property management. For example, co-operating with neighbours to control weed species across a number of properties will be far more effective than working alone. You could organise several of your neighbours together in a Landcare group to work at tackling broader land management issues.
Noise and Neighbours
Many of the disputes between neighbours relate to noise. Disruptive noise can come from a range of sources, such as loud music, motorbikes, noisy machines and vehicles (including loud exhausts, brakes or sound systems), barking dogs or other animal noises, lawn mowers, pool or dam pumps, and intruder alarms. Excessive noise is considered pollution, and there are laws that outline what is acceptable and when. Your Local Council is the main enforcing body for these laws.
Remember to consider your neighbours during property planning. Minimise the noise of barking dogs or other animal noise by situating kennels and animal enclosures away from your neighbours’ homes or property boundaries. Be aware of how much your dog is barking, and how such barking could impact on your neighbours. The problem of dog barking can be prevented by exercising your dog regularly or blocking its view from provocative sources such as passing people, cars or other dogs. Proper maintenance of machinery and motor vehicles will reduce the noise they produce, and you can change the way you operate machinery when close to neighbours.
Boundary Fencing and Trees
Another common cause of disputes between neighbours is boundary fencing and trees. Keep in mind that your neighbours or yourself may have decided to live on a rural residential property to enjoy the scenic rural landscape. Select a fence design which is in character with the landscape and does not block views. Tree plantings (and clearing) should also consider long term impacts on views, native vegetation, and potential damage to buildings, driveways and pathways. Alternatives to fencing and large trees are also available, such as a native vegetation hedge, which are cheaper than erecting fences, provide a buffer against noise and dust, and create privacy and habitat for wildlife.