Two neighbours in a Sydney suburb have gone to war over the height of a boundary fence, in a building nightmare that’s involved police and the Council.
Two neighbours in Sydney’s southwest have gone to war over the height of a boundary fence which sits between their homes.
Mariya Tkachenko and her mother Tamila have been locked in a fierce battle with their builder neighbour Maroun Mauad after he began construction on his new Belfield home in 2021.
The Tkachenkos, who have lived in the home for 20 years after migrating from Ukraine, claim their previous boundary wall was the standard height of 1.8m before Mr Mauad knocked it down.
Despite attempts to broker a solution both neighbours would be happy with, Mariya and Tamila say the boundary fence was constructed without their approval. Tensions started to increase in November, with the Tkachenkos seeking legal counsel.
“A boundary fence should be an agreement between the neighbours because we both have to live there and we both have to look at it,” said Mariya, speaking to news.com.au.
“It doesn’t matter who’s paying what, as long as there’s an agreement and everything is happy.”
The design of the wall and the placement of wall has also caused issues with mould. They claim the demolition and other construction on Mr Mauad’s site has also led to cracks in the pavement.
“By that point, it was less about the boundary and more about what we were going to be looking at everyday through our bedroom windows,” said Mariya.
“We want to be happy with what we were looking at. I know it might sound minor but it’s actually quite depressing looking at a black fence every day.”
Speaking to news.com.au, Mr Mauad said their report “missed all the facts”.
A builder by trade, he maintains the boundary fence is 2.4m and that he received approval from the council, as well as his private certifier and surveyor to build the fence at that height.
Mariya and Tamila, however, claim neither them or their lawyers have seen a copy of the documents.
He claims police have also given him the green light to construct the boundary wall.
Mr Mauad claimed that at one stage police were called to his house because he refused to back down from building the fence.
However once they arrived, he claimed the authorities said he had all the necessary documents to continue constructing the boundary fence.
“I’ve got five kids, I’m busy enough,” he said.
The Tkachenkos also encountered difficulties after an unguttered rainwater pipe built into the side of Mr Mauad’s home would spurt streams of water into their home.
This issue was finally fixed in late April, after they approached A Current Affair, who aired a segment about their dispute.
“The Council also finally got back to us after Thursday and they said they’re going to have an appointment with this private certifier on Tuesday,” said Mariya.
Now, after more than five months of back-and-fourth, the stress of the situation has led them to consider moving.
“I feel very uncomfortable and I’m a person who doesn’t like to fight,” said Mariya.
“We’ve lived here for over 20 years and we’re friends with a lot of the neighbours.”
Mariya added that it’s not a situation they wish on anyone.
“We don’t want anyone to go through this. We work from home and this is a nightmare every single day,” added Mariya.
Under NSW law, private certifiers can bypass councils and approve developments with the need for further approval. The private certifier is then responsible in ensuring the developer complies with the instructions.
In a statement from the Canterbury-Bankstown Council that was supplied to A Current Affair, they said Council “attended the property in Belfield” following complaints from residents.
Upon inspection they “ordered builders to remove rubbish and debris from the footpath and roadway”.
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