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Can I Trim Or Cut Off Overhanging Trees From My Neighbour?

Is it reasonable to be angry at your neighbour for overhanging trees? Or wouldn’t it be better to appreciate that they offer shade from the sun simply?

Overhanging trees are a common sight in most cities and towns. Sadly, behind the beautiful sight of overhanging trees lies a nuisance and potentially hazardous scenario if not maintained regularly. 

This is a common problem in every residential community with many trees and other yard greeneries. Although there are many ways or solutions you can deal with your neighbour’s overhanging trees on your own, remember that it is not your tree. 

If your neighbour’s trees are hanging over your property line or you consider them dangerous, find out how to protect your space from potential risks posed by overhanging trees. Handle it legally to prevent arguments and other types of problems.

What Should You Do When Trees Overhang Your Property

In addition to the damage to the property, overhanging trees can pose a serious risk to a person’s safety. It is crucial to have a plan before it’s too late. But before that, there are actions to undertake before you resort to trimming or removing the encroaching tree.

As long as you do not harm the rest of the tree, you can cut or trim overhanging leaves, roots, or branches that reach your boundary. Also, you can cut or trim the tree if the council’s protection does not cover it.

Here are the following actions you need to take before trimming or cutting off the overhanging tree

Ask for Neighbour’s Consent

Although you have the right once the tree encroaches on your space, asking your neighbour’s permission first is always polite. You can’t just put together all your tools without considering how your neighbour feels about the scenario.

Apply for your Local Council’s Approval

Ask your local council for approval to prune or cut a tree. You’re likely required to fill out a checklist. Both the applicant and the tree owner must likely complete the application.

The requirement for approval may also be waived depending on the type of work or the tree’s species, type, and condition. 

If the following actions don’t work, you should try mediation before filing a lawsuit. If mediation is unsuccessful, you may file a lawsuit.

Application for Trees and Hedges Dispute in NSW

Regulations on trees and hedges help safeguard our properties, the local populace, and wildlife. Among other grounds for establishing such laws are also crucial to the tree management sector.

However, we mentioned earlier that overhanging trees are commonly seen in residential areas. And since there are trees that creep and even develop large, deep roots, it can freely encroach even on the neighbour’s property, resulting in disputes. 

If your neighbour disagrees about dealing with its overhanging tree, educate yourself about the process for tree and hedge disputes.

Trees Dispute Act 2006

The Trees Dispute Act helps resolve complaints regarding a neighbour’s overhanging hedging and trees. Other than overhanging trees, if you find yourself in any of the following predicaments, such as:

  • A dispute ensued between the neighbours over a tree on their property
  • When the tree concerned meets the definition of a tree in section 3  
  • Trees Dispute s 4 applies if the tree is located in privately owned property in an urban area
  • You want a tree or hedge from your neighbour’s property pruned or removed
  • An overhanging tree is severely blocking your view or sunlight
  • You want to be compensated for property damage caused by your neighbour’s tree 
  • There is a possibility that the tree could cause property damage
  • ..more Trees Dispute grounds

Under Class 2: Tree Disputes and Local Government Appeals a person may file a petition to the Land and Environment Court for orders. 

Dividing Fences Act 1991 NSW

Some tree disputes fall under the Dividing Fence Act 1991. This happens when the relevant trees qualify as a “sufficient separation fence” under the given conditions. In such situations, the NSW Civil & Administrative Tribunal may then handle the situation.

Who Can Apply for Orders?

The applicant for a tree or hedge dispute must be the owner or occupant of land adjacent to the property where the tree or hedge is located. And you have two options: 

  • Either represent yourself and do all the relevant paperwork
  • Employ a lawyer to draft all required applications or responses

What is the Process for Trees Dispute

The first step toward your appeal’s success is to make the following preparations:

  1. Title Search or Property Zoning
  1. Get the Experts Involved

To successfully win your dispute, you must collect solid evidence. That is why it is recommended that you contact qualified professionals such as:

  • Arborists
  • Builders
  • Engineers 

This further supports your application if you need to present proof of the origin, nature, severity, and cost of the harm caused by the tree. Get in touch with a reliable, certified specialist in your area if you need an arborist.

  1. Gather other proof or evidence

Compiling proof or evidence is the most effective way to prove or refute a claim. In any dispute, gathering and preserving evidence is crucial. Show proof of damage or loss brought on by the tree or hedge through images, videos, or diagrams like a shade diagram.

Who Pays for Tree Trimming or Cutting?

In this case, the pruner is responsible for covering the costs. Yes, you are responsible for the cost of removing or trimming the overhanging tree, whether the neighbour has granted permission or a permit has been obtained from the local government. 

However, the Court has the right to decide to make your neighbour responsible for the expenses under reasonable circumstances. This occurs if the neighbour has slowed the legal process or refused to provide the necessary documents.

Should I Throw Branches Back Over the Fence?

Yes, you have the right to return the tree debris to your neighbour since it is their property. Do you, however, find it comfortable to send the debris to your neighbour? 

To have the trees removed, you might want to get in touch with a local Sydney tree removal company. From trimming to the last piece of debris, a dependable service provider will make sure to complete the job without placing you under undue stress.

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