Frequently Asked Questions: Trees and Neighbourhood Disputes.

September 22, 2009

Can I prune branches, trees and plants encroaching on my property?

  • You are entitled to prune branches, trees and plants encroaching your property.
  • Take care not to kill the tree or make it unstable. If the tree is needlessly damaged or becomes unstable and causes damage to other property you may be liable for damages.
  • You must not enter your neighbour’s property without permission.
  • You are responsible for the costs associated with pruning.
  • The branches, roots and/or limbs pruned remain the property of the owner of the tree. These must be returned to the owner or disposed of by agreement between the affected property owners.

Do Tree Owners have responsibility for leaves falling on neighbour’s land?

  • Generally tree owners do not have responsibility for leaves falling on their neighbour’s land unless they cause damage or injury or have fallen branches overhanging the boundary.

What can I do in relation to a neighbouring tree that is causing physical damage to my property?

  • You can apply to the Magistrates Court for an order requiring your neighbour to remove the tree.
  • You may be entitled to recover compensation for damages.
  • Legal proceedings should be a last resort. You may wish to speak to a lawyer so that they can advise on your legal rights and obligations and discuss alternative dispute resolution options with you.

You should not act only on the basis of material contained in this article because the contents are of a general nature only and may be liable to misinterpretation. Do not act on any of the contents of this article without first obtaining specific advice from a lawyer.

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