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What to do if a neighbour’s tree is affecting you or your property?

Trees are a common cause of disagreement between neighbours. However, there are a number of things you can do if your neighbour’s tree is affecting you or your property. 

The first step would be to talk to your neighbour and try to resolve the issue. You may find that your neighbour is not even aware of the problem. This way, you and your neighbour will be able to resolve any potential tree issues before they get out of hand; saving you time, money and stress. It’s always best to come to a win win for everyone! 

Some common issues may include:

  • branches overhanging your fence or pool
  • branches or fruit dropping into your yard
  • roots causing damage to your property
  • branches blocking sunlight from solar panels or blocking TV reception.

trees blocking solar panel

How do I know who is responsible for the tree?

In most cases, the registered owner of the land the tree is growing on is referred to as the ‘tree-keeper’. However, a ‘tree-keeper’ may also be an organisation or body corporation.

 

What can I legally do myself?

If your neighbour’s tree is hanging over your land, you can exercise the common law right of abatement – which is your right to remove overhanging branches and roots to your boundary line.  You can decide whether to return the lopped branches, roots or fruit to your neighbour, or dispose of them yourself.  You do not have to return anything you trim from your neighbour’s tree, but you may do so.  Remember to comply with any applicable tree or vegetation protection orders.  If you are unsure, contact your local Council for more information.

 

 

What if we cannot come to a resolution?

If you are unable to come to a resolution with your neighbour, it may be necessary to issue them with a notice to remove the problem branches.

If you are still unable to come to a solution, you can apply to QCAT (Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal) who can make a legally enforceable decision—an order—on the matter. 

Normal tree litter such as leaves, flowers, fruit, seeds or small elements of deadwood would not be classed as substantial and therefore not considered sufficient enough to get an order for the removal or cutting back of a tree.

 

Did you know? North Brisbane Trees provides a quality tree pruning and tree maintenance service? We take the hassle out of doing it yourself and take care of the entire tree trimming process. We can even schedule regular visits to ensure your trees are well maintained. Call North Brisbane Trees on 07 3289 3610 for the best tree trimming Brisbane has ever seen! 

 

For more information, refer to the Resource links below:

Resources:

Neighbourhood Disputes (Dividing Fences and Trees) Act 2011

Notice for removal of particular overhanging branches.

QCAT – Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal

 

References:

www.qld.gov.au/law/housing-and-neighbours/disputes

Queensland Arboricultural Association

Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal

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