How to avoid neighbour tree disputes

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Tree disputes are more common between neighbours than you might think. Sadly, these kinds of arguments can turn even the most peaceful of neighbours against each other. Whether it’s the risk of falling branches, damage to your property, or simply an obstructed view, dealing with neighbours’ trees can be tricky. In this blog, we’ll explore how to avoid neighbour tree disputes and maintain harmony in your community.

Legally remove a tree in the backyard without council approval

Communication is key

The first step in preventing tree-related conflicts is good old-fashioned communication. Remember, everyone’s home is their sanctuary, and we all care deeply about our space so we do NOT recommend cutting your neighbours trees without permission. This is why communication is so important. It’s always a good idea to have a chat with your neighbour about any overhanging trees as the first step to solving a dispute. Discuss any concerns you may have, such as the risk of falling branches or potential damage to your property. Open and honest communication can go a long way in avoiding unnecessary disputes.

Know your rights and responsibilities

Understanding your rights and responsibilities regarding overhanging trees is crucial. In many cases, you are within your rights to trim branches that extend into your property, but cutting down a neighbour’s tree without permission can lead to disputes and legal consequences. Never ever act out of anger. Familiarise yourself with local regulations and make informed decisions to prevent unnecessary conflicts from different sides of a fence.

Encourage responsible tree maintenance

Promote a culture of responsible tree maintenance within your community. You might like to set up regular tree inspections to identify potential hazards and address them before they become a problem. By collectively taking care of the greenery in your area, you contribute to a safer and more harmonious neighbourhood.

Address property damage

If you notice that a neighbour’s tree is causing damage to your property, address the issue promptly. We don’t recommend cutting your neighbours trees without permission but instead document the damage with photographs and communicate your concerns to your neighbour. Discuss possible solutions, such as trimming overhanging branches or reinforcing structures to minimise the risk of further damage.

Be mindful of local regulations

Councils across Sydney and NSW each have their own set of rules regarding tree maintenance. Before taking any action at all, it’s a really good idea to familiarise yourself with local regulations to avoid legal consequences. Cutting a neighbour’s tree without permission can result in fines and strained relationships, so it’s essential to stay within the bounds of the law.

View our list of local council tree removal resources here.

Seek professional advice

If the situation is more complex, consider seeking professional advice. Arborists and tree removal experts like the team at Tip Top Trees can assess the condition of overhanging trees and provide recommendations on the best course of action. Having an expert opinion can help both parties make informed decisions, avoid potential disputes and litigation.

Mediation and legal assistance

If a dispute escalates, consider mediation services or legal assistance. Mediation allows both parties to voice their concerns in a neutral setting, often leading to mutually agreeable solutions. Legal assistance is also available to help navigate complex property laws and provide guidance on resolving disputes without damaging relationships. If mediation proves doesn’t work, you may need to apply to the Land and Environment Court of New South Wales. If the Court sides with you in relation to this issue, then it will order the tree owner to prune the tree. Note that the Court is only likely to get involved if it sees there are no other possible mediation solutions.

Maintaining a healthy relationship with your neighbours is critical. By communicating openly, understanding your rights and responsibilities, and seeking professional advice when needed, you can navigate the tricky terrain of overhanging trees in a neighbourly fashion. Remember, a little courtesy and consideration go a long way in fostering a sense of community and preventing unnecessary disputes. If in doubt, reach out to your neighbour and find a solution that works for both of you. After all, a little harmony goes a long way in making your community a better place to live.

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