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The Neighbour From Smell

We have all heard about or had to deal with the neighbour from smell at some point in our life. You know the one I am talking about. From unpleasant cooking smells to cigarette smoke, barbecue smoke to pet urine in common areas and rubbish odours.

There is something owners and occupiers can do.

In Owners Corporation SP 49822 v May & Ors (Strata & Community Schemes) [2006] NSWCTTT 739 (6 November 2006) the owners of a strata scheme alleged that one of the occupiers of the strata scheme was creating a nuisance by causing smoke within their lot to penetrate adjoining lots through walls and the air-conditioning system and that this constituted a breach of section 117 of the Strata Schemes Management Act 1996.

In a landmark decision, the Adjudicator held that smoke penetration caused a significant problem for the occupiers of adjoining lots in the scheme and that this was a nuisance.

It is interesting to note that although the above decision related to smoke causing a nuisance, there is no reason why the decision cannot be applied to circumstances involving cooking smells and garbage odours.

Further, owners and occupiers that engage in activities which create a nuisance to other owners or occupiers in breach of s117 of the SSMA may also expose themselves to liability for damages in private nuisance at common law due to the owner or occupiers lack of enjoyment of their unit.

Please note that the information contained in this article is not legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. You should obtain legal advice before you take any action or otherwise rely upon the contents of this article.