The law and your rights vary slightly from state to state, but the overall approach is reasonably consistent.
Owner Builders need to be aware that council will only act under local legislation when there is a breach in the building code and the design is such that is creates a nuisance to adjoining properties.
Following is an extract from the Queensland Local Government legisaltion. Basically, where design codes and building laws have been follwed, run off water issues and resultatnt disputes or litigation become a civil matter;
Council can also respond to complaints relating to nuisances and flooding as a result of illegal or incorrectly constructed building and structures.
Water flow problems caused by the natural lay of the land, or from overland flow, are a civil matter. If you have an issue with any of the following, you should first speak to your neighbour:
- water flow problems caused by natural ground seepage on private property
- diverting or blocking the natural flow of water from landscaping, fences and walls or a small trench except where the water collects and becomes stagnant
- existing rubble pits are a lawful point of discharge provided they are designed and constructed lawfully. When they overflow it becomes overland flow. Rubble pits are no longer accetped by Council as acceptable lawful points of discharge for any new developments or lot reconfigurations
- pool overflow caused by rainfall
Disputes resolutionIf you wish to formally manage discussions, you may also consider contacting the Disputes Resolution Centre. The centre offers free advice and mediation services and can be contacted on 07 3239 6007.
I hope this helps our owner builder students to better understand their legal rights and responsibilities in respect to rainwater and groundwater run off issues.
Thanks and Best Reagrds,