What does ‘unsightly’ mean?
Unsightly property or land contains:
- unconstrained or excessive rubbish
- overgrown vegetation
- disused machinery or vehicles
- disused excavations
- partially completed or partially demolished buildings, or
How to report an unsightly property
When Council receives your report, a Council officer is sent to inspect the property. If the officer deems that the property is unsightly, a Notice to Comply is issued to the owner and/or occupier.
The Notice to Comply outlines the reasons why the property is deemed unsightly, and will state the works required to be completed by a specific date. If the works are not completed by the due date, an infringement may be issued or the matter referred to the Magistrates' Court.
Why well-maintained properties are important
Well-maintained properties and land, whether private, commercial or industrial, are important for the overall impression of Moreland as a safe, tidy and cared for area.
Properties that are poorly maintained can:
- have a negative effect on the area's appearance
- lead to graffiti, vandalism and other anti-social behaviour, and
- attract vermin or create a fire hazard.
For these reasons, Council has created a local law that requires property owners and occupiers to maintain their property and prevent them from becoming unsightly.
Responsibilities of property owners and occupiers
Council's local law simply states that the owner or occupier of land must not cause, allow or suffer their property to become unsightly. An owner or occupier of land must also ensure that their property does not constitute a danger to a person’s health or another person’s property.
If you are a landlord, you are jointly responsible with your tenant to make sure the rented property is maintained.
To avoid your property from becoming unsightly, it is important to regularly maintain your garden, lawn and around your home.
Council's local laws require that grass and vegetation are not higher than 30 centimetres. Grass fires are a risk and can spread quickly, even in suburban areas.The Country Fire Authority (CFA) has more information on grass fires and ways to protect your property.
It is also recommended that you store building and other materials in a neat and tidy manner, preferably in your backyard, a shed, suitable receptacles or screened from public view.
Differential rate for vacant and unoccupied land
In addition to the local law provisions, Council levies a differential rate for vacant land and unoccupied land in Moreland. Vacant land is any land on which no building is erected. Unoccupied land is any land on which a building is erected but not occupied.
The purpose of the differential rate is to encourage proper management of land and/or buildings on that land. The differential rate is targeted directly at those landowners who allow their sites to deteriorate and become unsafe and pose a risk to public safety or amenity.