Everyone wants good neighbours – and that includes businesses too. But sometimes noisy late night events or bustling waiters that repetitively trespass onto your business premises can be enough to overwhelm you with rage.
Street squabbling can get ugly, and even the most sane business person on the planet could break and be convinced to make a move to the next city to get away from pesky neighbouring business problems.
While you should try your best to avoid any legal disputes with your neighbouring businesses, it is just as important to understand that you have legal rights that protect your business from nuisance or negligence.
Here are some of the most frequent legal disputes with neighbouring businesses along with some general information on legal applications that cover them.
Noisy neighbouring businesses
Most common noises that are reported by businesses from neighbouring businesses include outdoor entertainment and their sound systems.
As an operating business, excessive noise levels can negatively affect your customer flow. There are regulations that restrict excessive noise levels which are governed by the local council, police, and the Environment Protection Authority. For example, following a report, police have the power (under section 48AB of the Environment Protection Act 1970) to order a business to abate any entertainment noise after midnight.
However, picking a fight with your neighbour is definitely one of the last things you’d want to engage in as a business.
First, try talking to the other business owner about the situation. Oftentimes, they may be unaware of how noisy their premises actually are and that the noise is affecting your business operations. In these situations, business owners are usually happy to work with you to resolve the problem.
Where they aren’t being so helpful, or you can’t get in touch with the business owner, contact your local council who can serve notices requiring them to control the offensive noise. If it’s just a one-off situation, you can get in touch with the local police to issue a warming or noise abatement direction which will be in effect for up to 28 days from the issue date.
Trespassing on your premises
Neighbouring businesses and their employees are allowed on your business premises only under certain circumstances without your permission. For example, where there is an easement benefiting them on your premises, they will be allowed to access the easement. These particulars will be described in the land title documents as well as business rental agreements.
Where there is no local access order granted by a local court permitting access on your premises, permission is required for your neighbouring business personnel to step onto your premises. This includes property trespassing, such as an overhanging banner.
How to deal with neighbouring business’ problems
When managing problems faced with neighbouring businesses, it is important to consider these factors.
Good manners can get you far in conflict resolution which makes it ideal to approach neighbouring business disputes in a calm and collected fashion.
Deep breaths and a clear head without preconceptions will help discussions significantly.
Perhaps the business owner is elderly, has poor hearing, and therefore isn’t aware of the loud extent of their entertainment.
A civil conversation with your neighbouring business owner could reveal several factors that were not considered.
Legal action should be avoided where possible
Going to court can be expensive, time consuming, and highly stressful for everyone. Not to mention, it’ll also mean that the relationship between you and your neighbouring business will be sour for many years to come.
To maintain peace and harmony at your place of business, you should work toward settling the dispute without involving the court. Alternative dispute resolution solutions, such as mediation, are a great way to resolve any conflict without being confrontational – but rather cooperative.
An effective way to gain the best out of the mediation process is to use online mediation, which offers the best of mediation without the high expenses and inconveniences. With flexible scheduling, ease of logistic arrangements, absence of inferences, and cooperative nature, online mediation has seen an increase in popularity throughout the small business industry in Australia.
According to Immediation, costs can be cut by as much as 98% with online mediation with the advantage of a quick resolution time of 30 days.
Due to the cooperative nature of online mediation, neighbouring businesses work together with an expert mediator to resolve their problems amicably that allows the businesses to maintain a good relationship.
Get in touch with Immediation today to find out how we can help your business with neighbouring business disputes.