QUESTION: Can we pressure our neighbour to remove lead paint or do the work ourselves?
06 Jul 2006, New South Wales Australia
We live in a terrace in Balmain. Our neighbour's house has a wall against the boundary facing into our rear courtyard. The paint on this wall is flaking off. We have had it tested and it has lead in it. When we first moved in we asked her if we could have the wall stripped and repainted, but she said she would do it as it was her wall and she did not want us to touch it. That was four years ago, and despite several requests, nothing has been done.
What are our rights? Can we pressure her into doing the work, or can we do the work ourselves? I have spoken to Leichhardt Council, but they were unable to help. I have also Spoken to the EPA who referred me to you.
ANSWER: 12 Jul 2006
I tried to check up on whether I had the right idea of the process involved by calling Steve Blaydon, Environmental Health Officer, Team Leader of Compliance, Leichhardt Municipal Council, but unfortunately he won't be in until tomorrow so please call him then to check whether the following is correct before proceeding (Phone direct 93679078, switch 93679222, mobile 0408614336).
I believe that the process you need to go through with your neighbour is to put in writing that you request she remove flaking lead paint from the boundary wall onto your courtyard, due to the health and environmental risks. Also request that the paint that has already flaked into your courtyard (if any is still evident) be cleaned up. If you are still happy to do the work then put that in writing too.
After a couple of weeks if you get no response then ask Steve Blaydon at the Council (in writing - firstname.lastname@example.org) to present your neighbour with a clean up order that specifies that only lead safe paint removal or paint preparation techniques must be used.
It will help if you have read the sections on Prevention and Clean Up Notices [also search for the terms "clean up and prevention notices" and "clean up notices"] in our Council ToolKit
Please let me know if you need any other info.
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