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.

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. These cases are heard by the Planning and Environment List as Applications relating to natural resources or as Applications relating to rates and charges.

Need help with your application?

VCAT cannot give you legal advice. Seek legal help if you are unsure about your legal options. The following services may be able to help you:

Do I need a lawyer or professional representative?

You do not need to have 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 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 free or low-cost 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. For more about applying for confidentiality.

Legislation that applies to this type of case

Cases VCAT can hear

VCAT can hear your case if you have suffered loss or damage either because of an unreasonable flow of water onto your property from another property or because someone has interfered with the reasonable flow of water onto your property. VCAT can also hear your case if you have suffered 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.

Cases VCAT cannot hear

The Building and Property List of VCAT does not hear disputes which involve fees charged by water authorities or disputes over the services supplied to a property by a water authority.

  • After we receive and process your application, we will tell you by post whether you will need to attend mediation, a directions hearing or proceed directly to a hearing. We may refer your case to a mediation to be conducted by a mediator appointed by us. We do not charge any additional fee for arranging this mediation. In more complex cases, we refer your case to a directions hearing, where we decide how to progress your application. Read more about what happens when we open a case.

  • At VCAT we use compulsory conferences and mediation to allow the parties to work together towards a settlement. If we tell you to attend a mediation, you need to prepare an opening statement. Use the opening statement to clearly state your case. It can be a helpful starting point for discussion between the parties. See more about how to resolve a case by agreement.

  • The VCAT member decides the case based on submissions made by each party, evidence given by expert and non-expert witnesses and any documents relied upon by each party. If you are relying upon evidence from an expert, such as a building consultant or a hydrologist engineer, you will need to make sure that any report prepared by the expert is filed with VCAT and a copy sent to the other party. You must do this well before the listed hearing date. In many cases we may hold a directions hearing before the hearing date. At the directions hearing the member may make orders setting out a timetable for the filing and exchange of any relevant documentation, such as expert reports. Read more about how to prepare for your final hearing.

  • The VCAT member may give their decision at the end of the hearing. If they need more time they normally give a decision within six weeks of the last hearing date or the date when any further written submissions are filed with us. The member may give reasons for the decision verbally or in writing. If you want the reasons in writing, you must make the request within 14 days of the hearing date. Read more about what to expect after the final hearing.

  • Arrive at VCAT with plenty of time so that you are not late for your hearing. Check the list of hearings to see what room has been allocated to hear your case. Go to the room and wait for the member to open your case. Read more about what to expect on hearing day.