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Not expecting to find the answer to my problem on a public forum but was hoping there may be someone else out there who has had a similar situation to what we are facing.
Brand new here so I’m hoping this is the correct forum!
Background: Our small family (Myself, partner and baby) purchased a Strata Unit (1 of 4 which goes down the street with each unit having it’s own street frontage and driveway. The land around the units is common ground but has been divided up among the residents over time just not legally with each property looking after there own garden etc. The body corp fees cover insurance on the property only and no maintenance of gardens etc. Each unit has its own separate water and gas meters on their portion of common land.
We’re quiet people, myself an emergency services worker and my partner is currently a stay at home mum. We’ve never had neighborly issues before and are not combative or up for confrontation. We just want our own space and privacy.
The unit next to us is occupied by the daughter of the owner. We have the first unit which is one of the side units so we have a slightly larger portion of common land (A roughly 1m x 15m strip of land that goes down the side of our property from street to rear fence) Most of this extra area is fenced with a gate only accessed by us. Unit 4 is up the other end of the block and has a roughly 8m x 15m section of unused and un-fenced common land as it is close to a main road. Her unit is positioned between ours and unit three so lacks the amount of land we have but has a large portion both front and back. We discovered day one of moving in that the previous owners who were also a young family had many issues with the unit next door mainly in regards to the back dividing fence (Which didn’t exist when we bought the place) and the residents putting there bins next to our unit on the strip instead of using there own common area or the front porch like every other unit does.
We began trying to negotiate in good faith with the neighbor about three months ago. We always maintain that it’s best not to get personal in these situations. We asked if it would be possible for her to move her bins back onto her portion or another position at the top of the block where there is a much larger area of common area. I offered to build a bin enclosure for her if that helped the situation. The response was very negative and quite aggressive stating that she can put her bins wherever she likes as it’s common land ( I’ll add that where they are positioned now is a garden bed and not a designated bin area by Body corp) .. We continued to ask nicely if she could reconsider, spoke to the other two neighbors who were happy for her to have the bins in the top area but were still met with 100% refusal.
We dropped the issue and thought we would wait until the body corp meeting next year to hopefully put it to a vote and have them moved. Unfortunately though over the past month the daughter has become very passive aggressive presumably because we’ve attempted to have the bins moved. Loud phone calls at 3am most nights became common as well as music and she began leaving her bins on the nature strip after collection day for up to 4 days (These are sitting in front of our place not hers) We decided we had enough and emailed the owner letting her know that we would be going ahead with putting a garden in where she had placed her bins , it was nothing personal, and that although we acknowledge that the land is common ground it is not a designated bin area. We also left the offer open for me to build her an area in the other common area.
In response we received another very aggressive email stating that she would put her bins over the garden if we went ahead. Sure enough that’s just what has happened. The daughter at first started trying to wreck the garden with the bins (We never confronted her, just let her do it and then returned the bins to her nature strip once she was gone). At night she started pounding heavy base music and vacuuming after midnight against the common wall waking our 6 month old baby a number of times. Again we didn’t react, just logged the disturbances. After two days she then proceeded to confront us with accusations that we had slammed the bins against her car to which we asked her to call the police in that instance as we hadn’t been near them, again we diffused the situation by walking away. Then two days following the accusations we had her apparent BF staring us down every time we came and went from our place, my partner asked him if something was wrong and before we knew it I was being called some pretty harsh names and told to walk inside as he walked closer to our property with his top off. This all occurred while my partner stood there with our baby in her arms. We could only gather that he wanted to physically fight but we didn’t stick around to find out and just walked inside.
A day later the owner finally arrived at the property, I was at work but my partner was home. She arrived with an older male and the male picked up the bins and proceeded to slam them into the garden bed to break apart the plants. My partner attempted to speak to owner but was ignored and my partner didn’t push the point as she was home alone.
We’re feeling pretty horrible and my partner is feeling very unsafe in her own home. We are trying to ignore them and take the high ground but it is becoming very difficult to stay civil and not stoop to their level. We’ve left the bins now and are attempting to convene an emergency body corp meeting to deal with a number of issues relating to the tenants behavior and to try and have it voted in that a designated bin area needs to exist rather then owners being able to place there bins next to other peoples places.
If we can’t get the body corp meeting to take place or are unable to get it voted in we’re not sure what we can do.
We’re considering purchasing a security camera system and also going to the council with the noise complaints.
Has anyone out there had a similar situation? Any strategies to deal with neighbors like these? Again we don’t want to abuse them or fall to their level so retribution etc isn’t an option.
Thanks in advance!
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