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Unsightly Properties

Unsightly property

Why are well maintained properties important?

Well maintained properties, whether private, commercial or industrial, add greatly to the beauty and amenity of our municipality. Those that are poorly maintained however lead to perceptions that an area is unsafe, untidy and poorly cared for. This in turn can lead to increased levels of graffiti, vandalism and other anti-social behaviour.

In a commercial/industrial environment they can also have a detrimental impact on business, because potential customers associate poor housekeeping practice with poor business practice.

For these reasons, council has created a Local Law that requires property owners/occupiers to maintain their properties and prevent them from becoming unsightly.

What does 'unsightly' mean?

An unsightly property can simply be one where lawns are too long, weeds are out of control and the gardens need attention. At the other end of the scale, an unsightly property can resemble a junk yard with excessive machinery, hard waste or building materials.

What am I required to do, as a property owner/occupier?

The Local Law simply states that the owner/occupier of land must not allow or permit their property to become unsightly, or detrimental to the general amenity of the neighbourhood. In addition, an owner or occupier of land must ensure that their property does not constitute a danger to a person’s health or another person’s property.

Here are some hints for maintaining your property:

  • Regularly maintain gardens and lawns, to ensure a consistent appearance with your neighbours.
  • Store building materials in a neat and tidy manner, preferably in your back yard or otherwise screened from public view.
  • Where possible, any other materials should be stored in sheds or other suitable receptacles.

If you are a landlord, remember you are jointly responsible with your tenant/s to ensure that rented properties are also maintained.

Why should I maintain my property?

International research has shown that poorly maintained properties attract higher levels of anti-social behaviour like graffiti, vandalism and drug use. There is also the potential to attract vermin or create a fire hazard. Poor maintenance also has a negative impact on property values and contributes to perceptions that a given area is not respected by its community.

Owners/occupiers are therefore encouraged to be proactive in maintaining their properties.

What happens if I don't maintain my property?

If a complaint is received by Council that your property is unsightly, the first step will be for a Community Laws Officer to inspect the property. If the officer deems that it does constitute an unsightly property, contact will be made with you and a request to resolve the issue will be made.

If contact is not made with an officer, a Notice to Comply may be issued to you requesting certain works be completed by a specific date. If the works are not completed by that date or alternative arrangements have not been made with the officer, a contractor may be enlisted to complete the work on behalf of Council. Once the work is completed to the satisfaction of Council an invoice will be sent to you for payment of these works.

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