If People Look into Your Yard or House from Outside
Unfortunately, the law doesn’t prohibit people from looking into your property, or overhearing what you are doing. If you are concerned about your privacy here are a few things you could try:
Speak with the person and ask them to stop
Build a higher fence
Put up thicker curtains
You should check with your Council for approval before you make any changes that require building or construction.
If you feel that the behaviour has become harassment you can apply for a Personal Protection Order. Also, if the person is publishing photos or nasty comments about you online, or if they are making threats against you they may be guilty of defamation or a criminal offence. You should speak to the Police.
If People Come onto Your Property
As a general rule, people can only enter your property if they are invited, and you have the right to withdraw that permission at any time. If they do not leave after you have asked them to they are trespassing.
Your neighbours do not have the right to enter your property to collect lost items (balls, pets etc), or to carry out building work without your permission (unless a court has ordered it to be done).
There are two main exceptions to this:
Sometimes, other people have a right to travel through your property. This is known as an easement, and will be listed on the title documents. The only way to change permissions granted by an easement is if both parties agree, and the title documents are updated.
Secondly, people are allowed to enter your property to knock on your door, or to make deliveries. However, you still have the right to ask them to leave, and if they refuse they become trespassers.
If someone trespasses on your land and causes damage you can sue them. Also, if they refuse to leave you can call the Police for help.
Disclaimer: This information is a general guide to the law. It should not be relied on as legal advice. If you have a specific legal problem you should consult a lawyer.
It applies to people who live in, or are affected by, the law as it applies in NSW, Australia. The information contained in this publication is current at 1 January 2014.