Unreasonable flow of water between properties
If there is an unreasonable flow of water onto your property or someone interferes with the reasonable flow of water onto your property, and this causes you to suffer loss or damage, you can make an application to us claiming compensation or seeking an order requiring the other person to do something to stop the unreasonable flow of water or interference.
These cases are heard and decided by the Building and Property List.
Find out if you're in the right place
What we can help with
- loss or damage because of an unreasonable flow of water onto your property from another property
- loss or damage because someone has interfered with the reasonable flow of water onto your property
- loss and damage because of water flowing onto your property from the works of a water authority, such as a public sewer or stormwater drainage system.
What we can't help with
- disputes which involve fees charged by water authorities
- disputes over the services supplied to a property by a water authority
- some cases where one party lives in another state or is a Commonwealth government organisation.
VCAT also hears and determines disputes relating to the management and use of water or relating to fees charged or the services provided by water authorities. See applications about natural resources or another type of environment and resources application.
Generally you must apply within 6 years of the date of the unreasonable flow of water.
Make an application
We can explain the application process and what the form is asking you for. Contact us to get support.
We cannot give you legal advice. This means we cannot tell you what to write in your application or recommend how to get the outcome you want.
Seek legal help if you are unsure about your options or need advice about your claim.
Estimated time to VCAT
COVID-19 has impacted normal timeframes for hearings about unreasonable water flow between properties. The current timeframes to get to a hearing after we receive your application are:
- Mediation – 9 weeks
- Compulsory conference – 31 weeks
- Directions hearing – 9 weeks
- Small claim dispute – 37 weeks
- Complex multi-day hearing – 53 weeks
We understand the impact of these delays to you and are working hard to reduce the backlog. As soon as a case opens, we make directions to get it moving. This means you won’t have to wait for a directions hearing, but you can still apply for one if you think it’s necessary.
We assess your application and contact you as soon as we can take the next steps in your case to:
- give you a date to come to VCAT
- ask for more information if we need it
- let you know if we can't deal with your dispute.
We also send a copy of your application to the other party.
Settling your dispute before your hearing
When we open a case, you can still try to resolve the dispute yourself with the other party, right up until the hearing.
If you do settle, you must contact us to tell us you've come to an agreement and don't need a hearing.
A directions hearing is a hearing where a VCAT member decides how a case should be managed and how much time it will take.
At the directions hearing, the VCAT member may:
- clarify and explore ways to resolve any issues that are raised
- decide whether the case should go to mediation, compulsory conference or hearing
- set dates for parties to send documents to VCAT and to each other
- order physical evidence to be inspected by an expert witness – for example, requiring a car to be inspected by a mechanic
- make a final order to confirm an agreement between the parties or decide any legal issues raised.
Do I need a lawyer or professional representative?
You do not need to have legal or other legal or other professional representation to appear at VCAT. If you wish to be represented by a lawyer or a professional advocate, usually you must ask for VCAT's permission.In many cases all parties are represented by agreement.
In many cases in the Building and Property List all parties are represented by agreement. If you are represented by a legal or other professional representative, we will only communicate with them.
Find legal services that may be able to assist you.
Access and privacy
VCAT hearings and files are usually public.
VCAT has limited authority to restrict who can access cases and files but, in certain circumstances, you can apply for confidentiality.
Legislation that applies to this type of case
- Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 1998
- Sections 15 to 21 and section 157(1) of the Water Act 1989
Other organisations that can help
We can help you understand how to apply. We cannot give you legal advice or tell you what to write in your application. These organisations may be able to help you.