by Councillor Charles Jago
A number of residents emailed me in my first term as a councillor with problems about trees, usually their neighbours’ trees causing them grief. Recently I found a great legal resource at legal publisher Lexology.com (originally written by Cordato Partners) which gives a really great overview of residents’ rights in regard to their neighbours’ trees. Prior to this, I thought that it was not at all possible for residents to trim their neighbours trees without permission. This article (the first in a series of five articles) changed my view of the legal situation. In short, it says that a neighbour is “permitted by law to remove encroaching tree branches. This is called the ‘right to abate the nuisance’.” It says that neighbours have the right to prune branches to the boundary line of the property.
However, note that the article says that pruning must be carried out without injuring the tree or hedge and within the guidelines of the Australian Standard ‘Pruning of Amenity Trees’ (AS 4373-2007). In addition, residents must still seek permission to prune the tree in accordance with Council requirements. Please talk to Council in regard to their rules.
There are five articles in the series:
- Tree Disputes #1 The right to prune overhanging branches
- Tree Disputes #2 Tree branches and trunks causing damage
- Tree Disputes #3 Tree roots causing damage
- Tree Disputes #4 Trees causing injury
- Tree Disputes #5 High hedges blocking sunlight or a view
Disclaimer: Please note that I am not a lawyer, and I am not providing legal advice. The articles above appear to offer a clear view of your rights. In the event of any doubt, please seek your own legal advice.
(Also note that to access the material in full, you will need to register a free Lexology account.)