What pisses me off: Neighbours, councils and getting the runaround

Making phone calls and getting passed from one department to another in an effort to get some sense of fairness and understanding from the local council is really pissing me off!

The old house next door was recently sold. It was a big splitter block and the bloke that purchased it has divided the lot into two, and the land that the house is on has been made incredibly small. I have never seen a house so dodgy makes its way to the market so quickly; the property was only purchased around six weeks ago.

I explained to council that over the years, when the rains come (and they do hit often at this time of year), Mum not only gets rain from the heavens but also from the road, which one has to accept. What I fail to accept though is the amount of water that pours in from the house next door, and because the house was built in the ’60s it doesn’t have to comply with the stormwater rules and regulations of today.

Mum’s property floods to the point of having to bring in industrial fans to dry the cement slab before putting down new flooring. That has happened three times. Water hasn’t come into the house, but it has knocked at the front and back doors and it has seeped through weep hole and got in under footings. Combine all that with a termite problem and you have a recipe for a very big headache.

Years ago Mum approached the former owner about the lack of decent plumbing and drainage, and even though the owner was not prepared to fix the problem — mainly because the law said there was no requirement to — the property owner was reasonable about it. The owner’s son put a mound of dirt along the entire length of her yard, which successfully diverted the stormwater to the laneway behind the back fence. It saved Mum a lot of grief for years.

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Now the house has been sold and the new owner has flattened the land and divided the property. I have approached the new owner, but they were unwilling to listen — he was only interested in making a quick buck, and as he wasn’t planning on living on-site the water issue was of little concern to him.

It’s really not fair. Insurance won’t cover Mum and to add insult to injury, the local council said that perhaps when the houses are sold the new owners might do something about it (patronising bunch of twits).

Council has also advised that when the storms start if water is pooling in Mum’s backyard two days after the rain has stopped we are to contact them and they will send a photographer out to get proof so they can take action… In essence, we have to wait until we flood again for the possibility of getting something done!

Have you ever experienced a problem with your neighbours? What was the issue and how was it resolved? What things make you irate?

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