Six things you can be fined for as a property owner

Six things you can be fined for as a property owner
Six things you can be fined for as a property owner

Long grass and leftover materials (including on vacant land)

Don’t leave your property unattended, and ensure your tenants know their responsibilities as well.

In many areas, particularly where bushfires may occur, long grass and strewn-about materials – even on your own land – can constitute a hazard.

In Victoria’s Manningham, for instance, a $2,000 fine can be incurred for allowing your property to “remain a fire hazard or unsightly”. If you don’t comply with the notice, they further inform you that they will clear the land and pass on the costs to you, in addition to the fines issued.

This is certainly not contained to Victoria, and warnings regularly make news.

Failing to empty water containers

If you fail to empty water containers in some areas, particularly in summer months, then you might face fines.

Cairns Regional Council, in February, issued warnings about fines up to $22,000 for those who have water build up. This is due to the substantial risk of encouraging the dengue mosquito to breed on your property. The Council noted that this is for situations where the ‘container’ isn’t necessarily aimed for – they point to the example of a tarp covering a caravan that was containing water, children’s sand pits, fallen palm fronds, wheelbarrows and old tyres.

The fine is usually $550 for individuals and up to $2,750 for corporations, but can span up to the higher amount if the matter is taken to court.

Overhanging plants

If any of your trees, plants, shrubs or other matter overhangs from your land onto council land, such as obstructing the footway, then you may face penalties.

Owning a dilapidated building

Fines for not keeping a building repaired, and leaving them to decay for years, can also be seen.

In Tasmania since December, for instance, new rules can see body corporate facing $50,000 fines and individual owners slugged $13,000 for not keeping their buildings up to scratch.

Leaving the bins on the kerb consistently

It’s all well and good to put your bin out a day or so early, but don’t leave it there or you may also face a fine.

In Brisbane, the council is pretty blatant about the aggravation this causes residents, noting “When bins are left out on some of Brisbane's narrower footpaths, they can force pedestrians onto the road.” Bins “continually left on the footpath or kerb” may be investigated and fines may be issued. Those who do not have a reasonable excuse for bringing their bin back in may face an “on the spot” fine.

It’s not clear whether the tenant or the property owner is slugged this fine, but it might be worth reminding your tenants of your council’s rules.

Not keeping up to date with swimming pool standards

Rules around pool fences and associated requirements change regularly and can differ from state to state. Property Observer knows of one property owner fined for not having a resuscitation poster on the wall in Sydney, while many others will face $220 in fines for not registering their pool on the New South Wales pool register.

In some areas, having tall pot plants or chairs around your pool fence – that a child could climb up using – could see you facing fines. In the Hills Shire Council in New South Wales, for instance, 900 millimetres is the suggested minimum distance for any objects around the fence. Specific heights, materials and other considerations are also required to avoid facing a fine for an unsafe swimming pool.

While ‘spa pools’ may not need to be surrounded by a fence, they do need a child-proof cover.

Jennifer Duke

Jennifer Duke

Jennifer Duke was a property writer at Property Observer

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