Your home and the Local Law - FAQs

Heritage homes in FitzroyHere are some frequently asked questions about how Council's Local Laws apply to homes in Yarra.

Why does Council have Local Laws?

  • Council’s Local Laws regulate the management of public land for the enjoyment of the wider community
  • These laws provide guidelines for people undertaking activities in shared spaces
  • They also set conditions to ensure those shared spaces are kept safe and clean so they can continue to be enjoyed by everyone.

When private property becomes a public issue

Some of the most common complaints Council receives relate to poorly placed rubbish bins and overgrown vegetation obstructing the footpath or road.

Managing your garden
Vermin and noxious weeds
Unsightly property
Domestic bins
Skip bins and trade waste hoppers
Noise in public parks and gardens
Feeding animals in public
What happens if I don't get a permit or ignore Council's compliance notices
How can I find out more about local laws  

Managing your garden 

  • If trees, shrubs and hedges on private land overhang onto the footpath or road, there must be three metres left between the ground and the vegetation
  • Your garden is also not permitted to grow on to or obstruct public land
  • If your property is at an intersection, vegetation must be trimmed so that it does not obstruct the views of drivers or pedestrians.

Vermin and noxious weeds 

At any time, Council officers can instruct the owner or occupier of a property to destroy noxious weeds or vermin on their land. This is due to the potential for these things to spread to neighbouring properties and public spaces. Council will take into account the amount of work involved, the degree of difficulty and risk and any other relevant consideration when determining how much time a person is given to rid their property of vermin and noxious weeds.

Unsightly property

Council's Local Laws also require the owner or occupier to keep their property in a manner which is not unsightly, dangerous or detrimental to the general amenity of the neighbourhood.

Domestic rubbish bins

What can be put out for collection?

  • Only general domestic waste should be placed in the larger mobile bins provided by Council for weekly collection
  • Rubbish left beside or on top of the bin may not be picked up
  • Residents using Council's waste collection service are expected to put rubbish into a bag or container before it is placed in a larger bin for collection. The container or bag should be tied and/or wrapped to prevent spillage of the contents and the protrusion of sharp objects. Please note: recyclable items should just be placed straight into your recycling bin - please do not use plastic bags to tie up your recyclables as this contaminates the recycling process
  • Council offers free collection services for larger recyclable household items such as furniture, white goods and garden clippings.

Where should I put my bins for collection?

  • Where possible, bins should be positioned on the nature strip or footpath next to the kerb to make them easily accessible for collection
  • If access to a nature strip or footpath is not available, bins should be placed in an accessible location that does not obstruct or hinder pedestrian or vehicle access to public space
  • The occupier of a property must not place more than two wheelie bins or one hopper bin out for collection
  • The lid of the bin should be able to be closed
  • Once the bin has been emptied you should return it to your private storage area as soon as practically possible.

Bin maintenance

  • The occupier of a property may mark their bin with the number of their property as often as necessary to keep the number clearly legible
  • The bin should be kept in a clean and inoffensive condition with the lid closed at all times.

Skip bins and trade waste hoppers

Trade waste hoppers

  • Trade waste hoppers can be left out on a road for collection but only for as long as is practicably required for them to be emptied
  • Hoppers must not cause any danger or obstruction to a person using the road
  • Hoppers must not be emptied between 8pm and 7am, between Monday and Saturday
  • On Saturdays, hopper bins must not be emptied between 8pm and 9am the following day
  • Any damage to roads, footpaths, kerbs, drains and vehicle crossings caused by a trade waste hopper must be repaired at the cost of the person responsible for the hopper
  • Council officers can impound a hopper if it is left out longer than needed, emptied outside of permitted times, or if it presents a danger or obstructs a person or road.

Skip bins

• Skip bins must not be left on a road or footpath without a permit
• Council may impound a skip bin or other refuse container if it has been left on a road or footpath without permission
• Residents and businesses can apply for permission from Council to place skip bins or other refuse containers on a road or footpath.  

Shared spaces and Local Laws

Noise in parks and gardens 

Yarra's parks attract hundreds of revellers each week, particularly during the summer.

A person who is in or on any Council land must not, without a permit, play or operate any device that produces a sound so that the sound is heard within a habitable room of any dwelling
Park users are allowed to play music from personal stereos or use musical instruments. However, a person who is in or on any Council land must not, without a permit, play or operate any device that produces a sound so that the sound is heard within a habitable room of any dwelling

Permits are available from Council for special one-off events in parks which allow exemptions to this Local Law providing certain conditions are met.

Feeding animals in public

Leaving food out in public places for animals like possums and pigeons can cause a public nuisance.
Under the Local Law, Council can issue fines to people who leave food out for this purpose.


Camping on public land without a permit is a breach of the Local Law.
Council officers are authorised to impound any caravan, tent or similar structure occupying public land without a permit.
Officers have discretionary powers to exempt any camping activities.


Anyone wishing to busk in Yarra must first apply for a permit.
If applicants satisfy the criteria, permits are issued upon request for a small fee and are valid for 12 months.
People found busking without a permit risk being fined.
Council sets out conditions for buskers which are explained during the permit application process. These include conditions prohibiting amplified music and performing within the times set out in the agreement with Council.

What happens if I don't get a permit or ignore Council compliance notices?

People who do not obtain a permit for activities where one is required or those who continue with an activity after Council has asked them to cease may be issued with an on the spot fine.
Each individual offence under Council's Local Laws can attract a penalty of up to $2000.
In the case of serious breaches, Council can also bring cases before the courts.
Council also recognises and enforces State and Federal laws that apply to certain activities. Failure to meet requirements under those laws can attract financial and legal penalties in excess of those prescribed under Council's own Local Laws.  

How can I find out more about Local Laws?

The matters described above are selected examples of how Council applies its Local Laws. Council's  General Local Law can be viewed in full.

Further information
City of Yarra
9205 5555

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