Knowing our neighbours helps to build a great community.
Know Your Neighbour Program
Council's Know Your Neighbour Program is about creating stronger, more connected neighbourhoods.
We know that neighbours who know each other feel safer in their street, building, home, or neighbourhood.
We also know that neighbours who have built a relationship prior to any issues arising are more likely to find long lasting solutions.
A key part the Know Your Neighbour Program is a helpful guide for resolving issues you may have with a neighbour. This booklet is also a starting point for people when they contact Council wanting help with an issue they have (noise for example).
Below are some simple tips for talking through problems with a neighbour.
Talk about the issue first
Most neighbours sort out problems together, which leads to better, more long-lasting solutions.
Before taking formal steps to make a complaint about your neighbour, you should attempt to talk about the issue directly with the person and try to work out a solution together.
Most people are happy to help, and they may not know there's a problem until you chat to them.
Tips for talking about issues together
- Get to know your neighbours early - say hi! This helps if problems come up in the future.
- Try to step back from the issue and consider if it is truly worth raising – is it a one-time event, or something minor that you could let go?
- Give them a chance to fix it first. Most people are happy to help if they know there's a problem.
- Differences of opinion are normal, try having a casual chat to resolve a conflict.
- Try to avoid blaming the person - be open and say things like 'When this happens, I feel (…)'
- Keep the conversation on track - be calm, listen and check you understand what is being said.
- Work solutions out together - be flexible and try to understand your neighbour's needs and restrictions when finding a solution.
- It's ok to take time to solve problems - you might not find a solution the first time. Keep trying.
- Once you've had a chat, give them time to do something about it.
- Safety is key - if you think you may be put in danger raising an issue, get in touch with the Community Justice Centre or Council.
How this program came about
Council asked the local community to help develop this program. See Your Say Tweed for more information.
How to get help
If you're trying to resolve issues with your neighbour but need help, Community Justice Centres can give specialised advice.
Community Justice Centres
If talking to your neighbour isn't an option or doesn't work and the problem continues, contact the Community Justice Centres. These centres specialise in settling differences between neighbours. They can arrange mediation to help solve the problem. This process is free and has a high success rate. They can help you and your neighbour find a peaceful resolution. Call 1800 990 777.
Strata scheme issues
Contact the NSW Department of Fair Trading for help resolving strata scheme issues. Call 13 32 20.
Neighbour Day is Australia's annual celebration of community. It usually takes place at the end of March, and encourages people to connect with those who live in their neighbourhood.
Neighbour Day is the perfect time to say thanks for being a great neighbour, and for being there to lend a hand. It could be over a cuppa, a picnic in the park or a message of support.
Council is a supporter of Neighbour Day celebrations. To register your event visit Neighbour Day.
For enquiries about Neighbour Day contact Relationships Australia on 02 6162 9300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.