Neighbour's trees FAQs

bioMy neighbour's tree overhangs my property. Can I prune it?

If the tree is five metres or over in height or five meters or over in canopy width (click here for diagram), you will need Council permission to do any pruning of branches or tree roots. If your neighbour consents to the pruning, it is best for them to lodge the required application form with Council.

Council can give permission to prune a tree only with consent from the owner or owner's agent, so please talk to your neighbour before contacting Council.

Why can’t Council order my neighbour to prune or remove their tree?

Tree foliage blocking sunlight, roots blocking drains, overhanging branches or damaging roots from a neighbour's tree can be a source of conflict between neighbours. Often property owners approach Council with their concerns hoping that Council will resolve the matter.

Unfortunately, we do not have the authority or legislative powers to order a person to prune or remove a tree. We are unable to negotiate or intervene in tree disputes as this is considered a civil matter. If neighbours cannot reach agreement they can consider the options listed below.

What if my neighbour refuses to allow their tree to be pruned?

If you can’t reach an agreement with your neighbour you contact the Community Justice Centre, who may be able to mediate between you and your neighbour. This is a free and voluntary service. For further information, contact the Community Justice Centre on the following:

Still unable to reach agreement?

If mediation is not successful then you can lodge an application with the Land and Environment Court, under the provisions of the Trees (Disputes between Neighbours) Act. This Act aims to provide a simple, inexpensive and accessible process for resolving neighbour disputes about trees.

The Act does not apply to trees owned or managed by a Council.

For more information and helpful guidance notes on how to lodge an application, please refer to the Tree Dispute Information page from the Land and Environment Court.

My neighbour wants to remove a tree which presently protects my privacy. Can I stop this?

A number of strict criteria are used in assessing whether a tree should be removed. These include the health and condition of the tree, the potential damage to a building or structure and the environmental value of the tree. However, the privacy value of a tree is not considered a sufficient reason for refusal. Your neighbour has no obligation to protect your privacy. Protecting your privacy is up to you.

I have permission to prune my neighbour’s tree. Who should pay for the work?

It is best to negotiate directly with your neighbour. Council has no role in determining who should pay for the work.

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