All properties owners have legal obligations to capture, collect and dispose of stormwater from all hard surfaces, through underground pipes to the council nominated Legal Point of Discharge so as not cause a nuisance to adjoining property owners.
In general, your neighbour is responsible for controlling stormwater run-off from their property. Water flowing from hard surfaces, such as paving or roofing, should be collected and discharged in an approved manner. Your neighbour is not responsible for controlling stormwater run-off from natural surfaces, such as grassed or treed areas. Any excess stormwater water caused due to significant landscaping works must also be controlled.
Problems with overland stormwater flow between neighbouring properties are generally a civil matter to be resolved between the respective owners. The council has no legislative powers to intervene. The type of action you should take depends on the cause of the stormwater.
Stormwater issues can include the following.
Overland stormwater flows caused by damaged or missing downpipes or guttering or overflows from a rainwater tank
If your neighbour’s downpipes or guttering is damaged or missing (not blocked), or if your neighbour has failed to connect the overflow of a rainwater tank to their underground stormwater system, you can report this matter to the council’s Building Services team and a Building Order for Minor Works may be issued.
The council recommends first trying to talk to your neighbour or even writing them a short note to make them aware of the issue. You may find this leads to a quicker and more amicable resolution to the drainage issue without the need for council to intervene.
Overland stormwater flows caused by new landscaping, paving, concreting
If your neighbour has recently completed landscaping or installed new paved or concreted areas that have redirected or caused water to flow on to your property, this is a civil matter. The council cannot control how your neighbour landscapes or pave their property as these activities do not require council permits or approval. You should first try to discuss the matter with your neighbour to reach a mutually suitable solution. If this doesn't work, you can contact the Dispute Settlement Centre for a non-legal mediation service, or take legal action through a solicitor. Liability arising out of the flow of water is an offence under the Water Act Section 16.
Overland stormwater flows caused by the installation of a small shed - under 10m2
If your neighbour has recently erected a small shed (less than 10m2) that is causing water to flow on to your property, this is a civil matter. The council cannot control how your neighbour builds structures of this size as they do not require a building permit. You should first talk to your neighbour and try to reach a mutually suitable solution. If this doesn’t work, you can contact the Dispute Settlement Centre for a non-legal mediation service, or take legal action through a solicitor. Liability arising out of the flow of water is an offence under the Water Act Section 16.