Neighbour considers ‘petty’ response to common backyard dispute

The resident has questioned what they can do after finding their neighbour's hedge cuttings in their yard.

It's one of the most common community disputes in the country and the latest incident involving a protruding hedge causing neighbours to clash comes from Melbourne, with one resident choosing to lob loose cuttings over the fence in a definitive act of neighbourly "unpleasantness".

On Wednesday a resident claims they went into their backyard only to find a large pile of twigs and greenery lying at the foot of their fence. They allege their next door neighbour threw it over from their own property, leaving a considerable mess to be tidied up, and it's not the first time.

The common neighbourhood dispute is highlighted in the image with twigs and greenery flung over the fence in Melbourne.
A common neighbourhood dispute escalated in Melbourne when loose hedge cuttings were dropped into a resident's backyard on Wednesday. Source: Reddit

"I have the absolute displeasure of having a neighbour like this. This is the second time they’ve done this, and the first time I disposed of the greenery myself," they wrote online.

They questioned what their rights were and admitted they were very tempted to simply "chuck it back over their fence", fed up with their actions.

Aussies encourage neighbour to be 'petty'

After raising the question online people offered up an array of different options the resident could turn to, with most sharing a similar sentiment.

"I'd take it to his front door with a note, 'Hey I saw you dropped this on my side of the fence, didn't want you to lose it'," one suggested, while many others encouraged them to throw it back over the fence admitting it was "petty" but necessary.

What rights does the neighbour have?

In Victoria, residents have the 'right of abatement' which means they are well within their rights to trim or cut back hedges that impede onto their property even if the plant is rooted in a neighbour's property.

However, this must be done at their own cost, and regardless of whether they trim the plant themselves, or find the loose cuttings in their yard like the Melbourne resident, by law they must be returned to the original owner, according to the Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria.

This means the suggestion of throwing the loose cuttings over the fence — or knocking on the door — is actually not as "petty" as first suggested.

Having an informal chat with a neighbour about an issue is always encouraged and if the problem continues, disputes can be decided at court — with a private nuisance case defined as the use or enjoyment of your own land being impacted by another person's act.

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