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Neighbour's backyard has Aussie woman living in 'constant fear'

The frustrated Melburnian said nobody will help her, despite having contacted several different agencies.

A frustrated Aussie woman said she spends her life living in "constant fear" her neighbour's growing backyard junk pile will combust, and holds serious concerns for the safety of her pets due to the "vermin" she says the "stinking" heap attracts.

The Melbourne woman, who did not wish to be named, said she's rented in Darebin, in the city's north, for four years and in that time the pile of waste in her neighbour's backyard has steadily increased to the point that she now worries for wellbeing and that of her partner and dogs.

The Darebin resident said her neighbour is suffering from poor mental health, which she said she's been "so understanding of", but the garbage heap has now become so big that rats in huge numbers inhabit the yard and they've even inundated her own home. The pile also emits a foul odour, she added.

The junk pile at a house in Darebin, in Melbourne's north.
The Melbourne renter said the junk pile attracts vermin and she's unable to tell what's in it, holding fears it could one day go up in flames. Source: Facebook

Aussie woman at 'wits' end' over neighbour's waste heap

Speaking to Yahoo News, the woman said due to the density of the waste she has no way to tell what's actually in it, with a number of items potentially posing a fire risk. She explained that "rats the size of dogs" were feuding with her pets.

"I've complained to the council multiple, multiple times with no response," the fed-up woman told Yahoo. "I contacted the RSPCA — because she's got a dog in there — I've contacted the Environment Protection Authority (EPA). I've contacted the fire brigade and no one will do anything about it.

"I have honestly had to throw out three couches since I moved into this house because the rats run over her fence and into my house. I have a toy poodle and some of the rats that come over from this property into my house are as big as my toy poodle. So I can't even let her out of the house once the sun goes down without supervision."

Renter worries a fire could break out

The woman said she's "scared every single day" that one day she'll come home to find her house on fire.

"I'm scared of that every day... [the pile is] 1.5 metres high — pretty much all waste. There's huge blue drums full of water so the mosquitoes are unbearable. Because you don't know what's in the waste, there could be gas bottles and stuff, like my biggest fear is my dogs.

"I've got two and I leave them crated in the house when I go to work, but if her house was to go up and I'm at work, my dogs are locked in those crates in the house and they'll be killed."

Council investigating, but won't provide details

Yahoo News contacted the City of Darebin council for comment. A spokesperson said they were aware of the health concerns relating to the property in question.

"Darebin is aware of the reported issues at this property and there is currently an ongoing investigation," the spokesperson said, adding that they "can’t share specific information about this case" due to council’s obligations under privacy laws.

Assorted goods and rubbish in a junk pile in Darebin, in Melbourne's north.
A Darebin resident said she's concerned about her neighbour's growing junk pile. Source: Facebook

We asked whether council could share the results of the investigation without breaching the occupant's privacy, but the council said "the outcomes of the work we are doing do need to be kept confidential".

The renter now doesn't know what else she can do to see her neighbour's yard cleared to at least a point it didn't pose any fire danger. She claimed she even saw police officers on one occasion attempting to access the property but were unable to physically find an entrance, so they left. Yahoo News questioned Victoria Police with regard to this claim but they declined to comment.

"I'm so understanding of the mental health factors at play, but after three and a half years and three couches, I'm just at my wits' end," the renter said. "If my dogs get killed because of this woman... my dogs are the only thing keeping me going through this s**t."

Yahoo News Australia has sought comment from EPA Victoria and the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (DFFH) with relation to the renter's concerns.

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