This Q&A about cigarette butts from the neighbour upstairs has been supplied by Jane Giacobbe, Strata Reports Victoria & NSW.
Question: We live on the ground floor and have up to 20 cigarette butts in our garden each day from a neighbour upstairs. How do we deal with this? We are not sure who is causing the litter.
I live in a ground floor apartment and for the last month, every day I find cigarette butts all over my backyard. There are up to 20 butts a day.
I’m 100% confident they come from one of the upstairs neighbours due to where they are scattered across the lawn. However, I’m not sure which neighbour. I have a feeling it is the new neighbours who moved in recently as I’ve never had this issue before during my 3 years of living here.
I wrote a friendly note and put it on the notice board in the common area, however, this has achieved nothing. I’ve also informed the owners corporation via email but have not received any response.
We don’t smoke but we are forced to clean up other people’s cigarette butts. We also have dogs and this can pose health risks to them if they accidentally eat one of the butts.
I would welcome any suggestions on how to best deal with this issue or what legal methods I could use to solve this.
Answer: Open and friendly communication is the first step and very often the best way to resolve a lot of situations when living within a community.
Sadly, this is quite a common problem when living in an apartment but you have taken a great first step with writing the friendly note.
In line with the Owners Corporation Act 2006 “the members of a committee must appoint a member of the committee to be a Chairperson” and this position is generally filled at each AGM when the committee is elected.
Open and friendly communication is the first step and very often the best way to resolve a lot of situations when living within a community.
If for a moment we put aside the fact that littering is not acceptable, your upstairs neighbours may not have any idea that their cigarette butts are gathering in your garden.
It could be worth friendly knock on their doors and explaining what you are experiencing and hoping that they are keen to jump on board and cease the behaviour.
Should you not feel comfortable with the above approach, then you could leave the cigarette butts for about a week so until there is a significant number in the yard, and then take a photograph for evidence.
You can then forward those to the owners corporation and request that they issue a breach notice for the behaviour.
Another option you may also consider as a last resort, is to install a camera and then capture the evidence of the cigarette butts but also perhaps the culprit.
We hope the above has been helpful but if you would like any further assistance we would be delighted to assist!
This post appears in Strata News #327
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This article is for reference purposes only and is not intended to be a comprehensive review of the developments in the law and practice or to cover all aspect of the subject matter. It does not constitute legal or other advice and should not be relied upon this way. Readers should take legal or other advice before applying the information containing in this publication.
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