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Perth family face legal action over cubbyhouse and pool in backyard and for balls kicked over the fence

Emily Moulton, June 18, 2019 6:45PM PerthNow

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Balls landing in a neighbouring backyard are causing problems between two families. media_cameraBalls landing in a neighbouring backyard are causing problems between two families.

civics

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A man and a woman “annoyed” at finding their neighbours’ kids’ footballs in their backyard have begun legal action against them, claiming the children have ruined the “enjoyment” of their Perth home.

Peter and Lynda Walton also claim in a writ* lodged* in the Western Australian Supreme Court that Brad and Penny Tilley caused damage estimated at $15,000 to their brick wall by attaching a children’s cubbyhouse and shower and installing a below-ground pool.

The Waltons bought their $1.4 million, two-storey, four-bedroom and three-bathroom house that features floor-to-ceiling glass walls in 2013.

They say they are the sole owners of the brick wall, which runs parallel between the two properties in the Perth suburb of Bicton, Western Australia, because it sits within their land’s boundary.

They say they never gave permission for any structure to be fixed on the wall and claim the attachment of the cubbyhouse, an external shower, fence post and planter boxes are the same as trespass. Trespass means going on someone’s land without permission.

Family in feud about footies over fence (7 News)

They also claim the pool, which was built in the rear corner about 1.6m to 1.8m from the wall as well as a timber-slat fence and steel post, had created a 3mm vertical crack that widened to 30mm at the bottom and a 2m horizontal crack that runs across the top.

Besides wanting the Tilleys to repair the alleged* damage, the Waltons also want the family to remove the cubbyhouse, planter boxes, fence post and external shower, which they say is partially* visible from the ground level of the property and fully visible from the first floor “resulting in a continuing visual discomfort and disturbance”.

The two houses in the Perth suburb of Bicton. Picture: The West Australian media_cameraThe two houses side-by-side in the Perth suburb of Bicton. Picture: The West Australian

The Waltons also claim in the document under “private nuisance” the Tilleys’ three children, their friends and the children of guests, had “kicked or thrown various sports balls” over the fence, which the Waltons say has “interfered with” their “reasonable and ordinary use and enjoyment” of their home.

The writ says the couple continue to find and remove balls from the yard and/or roof and have to constantly return them resulting in “annoyance, inconvenience and/or discomfort”.

It also says that the couple have photographic evidence of the balls in their yard dating as far back as February 2016 to January this year.

The Waltons then go on to claim Mr and Mrs Tilley had “actual knowledge” of balls being “kicked or thrown into or on to” their property and that they first raised their concerns about the children back in 2015, about a year after the family moved in.

In the writ, it says they are seeking for the Tilleys to be “permanently restrained* from placing, attaching, causing and permitting any item whatsoever to be placed on or attached to the wall” and that they agree to repair the alleged damage to the wall, remove the shower, cubbyhouse and “remedy* the nuisances”.

In addition, they said they had a quote* to fix the wall estimated to be between $12,000 and $15,000.

The Waltons were contacted for comment.

GLOSSARY

  • writ: piece of writing that explains someone is going to take legal action
  • lodged: submitted
  • alleged: said it is so; claimed
  • partially: partly, not completely
  • restrained: held back
  • remedy: fix
  • quote: an idea of how much something will cost

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QUICK QUIZ

  1. Perth is the capital city of which state?
  2. How long have these two families been neighbours?
  3. According to the Waltons, is the Tilley’s cubbyhouse visible from their house?
  4. Do the Waltons say they have ever talked to the Tilleys about the balls over the fence?
  5. How much do the Waltons estimate it will cost to fix their fence?

LISTEN TO THIS STORY

CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES
1. Solving Disputes
Taking matters such as these to court can cost people hundreds of thousands of dollars. Do you think these families could come to an agreement about these problems in a different way?

Work with a partner and think of how you solve disputes in the playground. Write a list of points or solutions/compromises you could take to both families if you were the mediators in this dispute. Mediators work with both parties to try and come up with a solution that both parties are happy with, without paying all the legal fees you have to pay if you go to court.

Time: allow 20 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Critical and Creative Thinking, Personal and Social, Ethical

2. Extension
If you have neighbours close to where you live, what could be some possible things you and your family do that could annoy them? What are some good ways to keep peace with your neighbours?

Time: allow 10 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Critical and Creative Thinking

VCOP ACTIVITY
Who’s at fault?

Make a list of arguments for each family on whether you agree or disagree with the lawsuit: The Walton family Vs the Tilley family and their children.
Whoever you decide has the stronger case, turn 3 of the arguments into emotive paragraphs to express your verdict.
Remember you will need Vinny Vocabulary to help you with your emotive language today.

HAVE YOUR SAY: What simple suggestions do you have for trying to get along with your neighbours?
No one-word answers. Use full sentences to explain your thinking. No comments will be published until approved by editors.

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