On private property an accumulation of materials and/or waste including domestic waste, household items, toys, domestic appliances and the like can build up creating an unpleasant condition. When Council receives complaints on such issues the information supplied is assessed to determine if the condition of the property is creating a nuisance or an unhealthy and unsafe environment.
A nuisance can be defined as 'a thing causing inconvenience or annoyance'. Nuisance complaints generally do not pose a risk to public health or cause environmental harm but are more so considered to be a neighbour to neighbour dispute. Such complaints have alternative avenues for resolution such as seeking private legal action, mediation via a Community Justice Centre, or Police involvement. As a general principle Council will not commence enforcement action that results in legal proceedings unless considered that such action benefits the public interest.
An unhealthy and unsafe property can be determined by the presence of an accumulation of domestic waste creating a harbourage for vermin, sighting of vermin and pests and/or swimming pool water providing a breeding ground for mosquitos. Such matters can be investigated by Council and action taken if warranted to eliminate the public health risk.
Issues related to bedbugs, mould, green swimming pools or unclean rooms located on private/rental properties or as part of holiday accommodation are not considered public health risks and Council will not investigate such matters. However, there are a number of alternative avenues you may utilise such as:
Community Justice Centre - act as a mediator between parties to help resolve an issue
NSW Fair Trading - can assist in complaint and dispute resolution between tenants and home owners
NSW Health - contain public factsheets in relation to bed bugs and mould
Making a complaint
In the first instance, Council encourages residents to resolve the problem amicably by talking to their neighbour. Often people are unaware that their activity or lack of property maintenance is causing a problem. You can also contact a Community Justice Centre to arrange mediation with your neighbour. These are government funded independent centres specialising in settling differences between neighbours without entering into complicated legal processes.
If mediation between residents does not alleviate the situation, you can contact Council in writing, by phone or in person to discuss further. Council assesses each complaint against the following criteria:
- Is there a public health risk and
- Is the situation impacting on the broader public or can it be resolved privately
Based on the above criteria, Council determines if the complaint requires further investigation or if the matter can be resolved independently of Council through the Community Justice Centre or private legal action.
P: 02 6648 4000
A: Locked Bag 155, Coffs Harbour NSW 2450