As this is a regular issue, legislation has been passed regulating the trimming of neighbouring trees that encroach on your land. Quite simply, yes! Remove any limbs that hang over your home without fear of repercussion.
Trees are a great addition to any landscape since they not only look nice but also give us shade, fruit, seclusion, and a scenic vista. Still, trees have the potential to sow discord among neighbours. Trees can be considered as a nuisance because they block views, consume too much water, or cause too much shade. This pamphlet's goal is to explain the law as it applies to disputes between private homeowners over trees, and to offer some helpful advice for avoiding such disputes. Issues with trees on public property or those that cast a shadow onto sidewalks and streets are outside the scope of this pamphlet.
No municipality can be held responsible for damages caused by trees in the street, regardless of whether or not the tree was planted by the municipality (Local Government Act 1999, s 245). The council may be held accountable for any damage to property that could have been avoided if it had taken reasonable action when requested by the owner or occupier of property close to the road who had requested that the council take reasonable measures to avert a danger of damage from the tree. In such cases, one must seek out specialised legal counsel. It's crucial to know your rights before taking any action or making a complaint about overhanging branches, which can lead to tension amongst neighbours.
It's crucial to get along with your neighbours, so if you have any issues with the trees they're growing, it's better to approach them first. Write a letter detailing the issue and the solution you envision. You might also try going to the city council to see if they will step in. Neighbor disputes can have a significant impact on daily living, but going to court isn't always the best solution. Weighing the costs and benefits of seeking legal help is not always easy. Furthermore, it can cause tension between you and your neighbour. Dispute resolution is an option to consider if you and your neighbour are unable to come to terms with a disagreement.
Concerns over trees, and particularly overhanging branches, are a common source of conflict between Victoria's residents. Overhanging branches, falling leaves, and damage from tree roots are just some of the common causes of neighbour disagreements.
The simplest and most suggested method is to talk to your neighbour about the problem and see if you can come to an agreement. According to "common law," there are rules to follow in cases involving trees. Here are some things you can do with it.
The cost of removing any leaves or branches that are encroaching on your land is entirely your responsibility. It's often called a "right of abatement" as well. If the city doesn't step in to safeguard the tree, then this is the case.
A permit may be required, however, if the tree is on the council's list of protected species. It is your responsibility to repair any damage to your neighbour's tree that may occur while you are executing the maintenance.
If a magistrate court rules that the tree is responsible for damage or private annoyance, however, the neighbour will be responsible for its upkeep. If the tree in question is not located on municipal property, the council will not mediate a disagreement between the parties. You also require approval from your neighbours before visiting their property to undertake tree maintenance.
Do We Really Need To Cut Down This Tree?
A neighbour who has been negatively impacted by a tree must first establish that the tree or trees in question are likely to be the source of the issue in order to hold the tree's owner legally accountable. Although it's simple to demonstrate that a branch is encroaching on your property line, proving that the roots have caused structural damage may be more challenging. It's possible that root action contributed to the destruction of the structure, wall, drain, and pavement. Soil moisture levels fluctuating with the seasons could be a key contributor. There may be other trees in the area, making it more challenging to pinpoint the problematic tree or trees. Keep in mind that some trees' roots can extend far from the trunk. Trenching the area is one way to determine which tree's roots are causing damage, but doing so can be a major hassle and costly if the ground has already been covered in concrete or other structures. It is possible to identify trees from a sample of their fresh, woody roots larger than 5 mm in diameter using laboratory procedures.
A homeowner's liability for damage caused by a tree's branches or roots that extend onto a neighbour's land is unlimited. The neighbour may take legal action against the property owner if the activities cause damage or interfere with the neighbour's usage of their own property. If a neighbour's tree has branches that dangle over your fence, you can trim them back and place them on their side of the fence. Talk to your neighbour first; they might be willing to take care of it themselves. If this is impractical, suggest that your neighbour hire a tree service to do the job for you.
Tree roots, which can undermine infrastructure like pipes and walls, fall under the same category. Once again, plumbers' and engineers' expert judgements are typically required to settle disagreements concerning the root of the problem. You may be able to talk things out with your neighbour peacefully once you figure out what's creating the problem.
Can I Cut Encroaching Roots And Branches?
Up to the point where your property line stops, you have the right to cut down and remove any tree branches or roots that extend onto your property from your neighbour's. It is considered property damage if you cut something on your neighbour's property.
There is no requirement in law that you inform your neighbour of your intention to do this. The best course of action is to inform them of your plans still. You should also check with your city council to see whether they have any tree protection rules in place, as these may only apply to specific species.
A neighbour who is experiencing tree issues needs to keep things in perspective, no matter how aggravating the situation may be. There is typically more than one viable option. However, if the tree owner and the impacted neighbour want to keep living next to each other, it's in everyone's best interest to handle the situation in a way that doesn't cause extra tension between them. Regardless of who is at fault in a court of law for the tree's condition, having an open conversation to find a solution that works for all parties is always the best option.
If the impacted neighbour is also a tenant, it is important to alert the landlord to the issue, although the renter is within their rights to pursue any of the options listed below. Make conversation with a close neighbour Before complaining to a neighbour, it's wise to give some serious thought to what it is you desire. The first step is to schedule a time that works for both parties to discuss the tree. It is not a good idea to start talking about the issue right after you find out about it, when emotions are high.
It's important for parties to communicate freely and precisely about the issue at hand, emphasising how their own interests are affected rather than assigning blame to the other side. The likelihood of reaching an agreement increases if the parties are able to do this and listen to one another in order to gain an understanding of their respective needs. When people have serious trouble communicating with their neighbours, they should seek assistance from a community mediation service. The mediators provided by these businesses are unbiased third parties who can facilitate talks between feuding neighbours.
Can I Ask My Neighbour To Cut His Tree?
Yes. However, there is one catch. In Victoria, you can do this only if the tree is inconveniencing residents. This means that the tree is preventing you from using or enjoying your land to its full potential. A court must rule on this matter.
Therefore, you should seek legal counsel and submit an application for a private nuisance claim with the Victorian courts. You'll need to show the court that the annoyance really exists if you want them to rule in your favour.
If a tree's roots or branches are encroaching on a neighbour's property, the aggrieved party has the legal right to have them severed at the boundary line. The term "abatement" describes this legal protection. This solution involves the individual taking decisive action in order to eliminate the source of the problem. The problem does not appear until it becomes a nuisance.
As a result, you have no legal standing to take preventative measures like lopping branches that could eventually extend over the boundary. A court may award exemplary damages in addition to compensatory damages if the tree was pruned inside the owner's land without consent. If you need to access the tree owner's property for any reason, including to gain permission to cut across the boundary, then you are required by law to give them advance notice. However, it is considered good manners to inform the tree's owner before cutting back significant branches or roots.
If you're going to prune your neighbour's tree, you should do so with care. Unnecessary damage to the tree could result in a claim for damages being filed by the tree's owner. To avoid impeding the healing process, branches should be chopped cleanly using a sharp saw or other suitable instrument. If you have pruned your roots, don't use any chemicals that will kill them. Negligence may be at play if a tree's roots are cut in a way that causes it to topple over and cause damage.
The tree owner retains ownership of any roots or limbs that are removed. Without our express consent, our neighbour may not burn, sell, or otherwise dispose of the wood or trimmings. The best course of action is to place them on or outside the tree owner's land (ideally as agreed upon in advance), taking reasonable precautions to prevent further damage. However, there is no clear legal requirement to return them. If the tree owner is going to be late in collecting the trimmings, the local council should be contacted first. Nature strips are council property.
Law, Trees, And Neighbours
Different jurisdictions may have different regulations regarding tree cutting for neighbours. We're talking about regulations that govern whether or not you can legally prune a tree anywhere, not simply your neighbour's.
Consequently, you should start by researching the tree-trimming regulations in your area. You are within your rights to prune a tree that is encroaching on your land if you have been given permission to do so by your city or local council. One exception is that you shouldn't compromise the tree's stability by, say, cutting off all the limbs on your side.
The Question: Who Is To Blame?
Unless the tree's owner is prepared to handle the care themselves, you are responsible for doing any necessary trimming or upkeep on trees that overhang your land. You can theoretically just toss the trash over the fence into your neighbour's property, as they are the ones technically obligated to clean it up. Do your best to take care of the trash on your own, because everyone here depends on everyone else getting along. If a tree is deemed to be a public or private nuisance, the owner may be held liable.
Who Pays For Tree Trimming?
If a neighbour's tree hangs over your property and needs to be trimmed, the bill will come to you. The expense of repairs falls under your responsibility under Victoria regulations. If your neighbour's tree is damaged in any way during the maintenance process, you will be held financially accountable. Whether or not the trees are actually on your property, the most courteous way to handle the situation is to offer to pay for the work you request.
In most cases, a neighbour who has a tree trimmed back cannot bill the tree's owner for the service. 22 If the low-hanging limbs need to be cut down from a considerable height, it may be best to hire a professional tree service. The tree's owner should chip in if the removal is going to be costly. It's possible that this may be resolved with the assistance of a community mediation service. Instead of trying to negotiate with the tree owner, you could ask the court to force them to remove the tree at their expense if negotiations fail.
As we've already established, you can legally require your neighbour to pay for the tree trimming, but please don't. Yes, and you may discover that they are content to split the bill. They might even suggest an answer that can help you cut costs and save time. Only if the tree is a private annoyance to your neighbour should they be responsible for the cutting costs. A Magistrate's Court must make a decision in this matter.
When Disagreement Arises, What Can You Do?
The Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria offers a variety of confidential and free services to help you and your neighbour work out your differences. A Fencing notice can also be given to a neighbour. The request for them to split the bill for a fence repair or replacement is formalised in this written document.
After 30 days from the date you gave your neighbour a Fencing notice, if you still can't come to an agreement, you can take your dispute to a magistrate's court for a ruling. The first step is to file a Complaint (fence dispute) with the court using Form 5A. Finally, consult an attorney before going to court.
Mediation is a viable choice if talking to or writing to your neighbour doesn't resolve the issue. The Community Action Board (CAB) provides a low-cost Community Mediation service where the parties can sit down together and, with the help of a skilled mediator, negotiate a workable and equitable solution to their issue. It's a technique to talk things out with your neighbour that won't ruin your friendship with them. The next step, if mediation fails, is to file the necessary paperwork in your local Magistrates Court. Seek professional legal counsel before taking any action.
Separating Properties With Fences
If you and your neighbour are both property owners, you must equally divide your land. The rules regarding:
- Who is responsible for the costs
- The fencing style that will be used
- Reminders about when you need to contact one another
- When and how to settle disagreements.
Before beginning any project, it's a good idea to consult with your neighbour. Do put your ability to make decisions jointly and your commitment to split costs on paper. As a matter of law, you must pay your fair share towards the cost of erecting a fence of adequate strength to serve its intended purpose. As a result, if your neighbour desires a more expensive fence than what is necessary to divide your properties, they will typically have to foot the bill for the extra expense.
Conciliating Tree-Related Conflicts with Neighbors
Hopefully this won't be necessary, but if your neighbour isn't on board with the tree trimming and wants to make a formal complaint, you can do so at your city's disputes tribunal. The majority of the time, the council will notify your neighbour that you will be performing the work on X date, and you may either do it yourself or hire a professional to do it. In certain instances, the neighbour refuses to let you climb their tree to trim it. Cherry pickers and other types of climbing equipment can easily circumvent this problem.
A law prohibiting the cutting of neighbouring trees that grow into your property has been enacted. Trees can be an annoyance if they grow too large, take up too much space, use too much water, or cast too much shade. Damages caused by street trees are not the responsibility of any municipality. Tree-related disputes are a major source of tension in Victoria neighbourhoods. In "common law" situations involving trees, there are some guidelines to follow.
You are responsible for the entire bill if you decide to have any encroaching leaves or branches removed. Damage caused by a tree's branches or roots that grow into a neighbor's property is not limited to what the homeowner can pay for. The roots of certain trees can spread out in all directions. If you want to know which tree's roots are to blame for the damage, you can try trenching the area, but it's a significant nuisance and can cost a lot of money. Despite the frustration, a neighbour dealing with tree problems should maintain perspective.
It's crucial that both sides have open and honest communication regarding the problem at hand, with each party emphasising how the problem affects their own interests rather than trying to place blame on the other. In the event that a tree's roots or branches extend onto neighbouring property, the offended party has the legal right to have them cut down at the boundary line. If the tree was pruned without the owner's permission, the court could award both compensatory and exemplary damages. Tree trimming ordinances may vary from one jurisdiction to the next. Trees that are growing onto your property may be cut down if you feel it is necessary.
You may be responsible for paying to have a neighbor's tree pruned if it is encroaching on your land. It is also possible to serve a neighbour with a Fencing notice. This agreement between them formalises their request to divide the cost of a fence repair or replacement. If you are still unable to settle your differences, you may do so before a magistrate's court. If mediation does not work, then legal action must be taken through the Magistrates' Court. You are legally obligated to contribute to the fence's total cost. In most cases, the neighbour who wants the more expensive fence will be the one to pay for it.
- Due to the prevalence of this problem, laws have been enacted to control the maintenance of neighbouring trees that overhang private property.
- If a tree branch is hanging over your house, feel free to cut it down.
- However, trees can become a source of contention amongst neighbours.
- Trees can be an annoyance if they grow too large, take up too much space, use too much water, or cast too much shade.
- The purpose of this brochure is to provide an overview of the relevant legal provisions governing disputes between private homes over trees, as well as some suggestions for avoiding such conflicts.
- This booklet does not address problems caused by trees on public land or those that cast shadows onto walkways and streets.
- No municipality can be held accountable for damages caused by trees in the street, regardless of whether or not the tree was planted by the municipality (Local Government Act 1999, s 245). (Local Government Act 1999, s 245).
- Maintaining cordial relations with your neighbours is essential, so if you have a problem with the trees they've planted, it's best to talk to them first.
- You might also try going to the city council to see if they will step in.
- Having a neighbour conflict resolved in court can be expensive and time-consuming, but it may be the best option.
- It also has the potential to aggravate your relationship with your neighbour.
- If you and your neighbour are unable to resolve your argument, you may want to look into dispute resolution as a possible alternative.
- Trees, and particularly their overhanging branches, cause tension between Victoria's citizens on a regular basis.
- Most disputes between neighbours can be traced back to something as simple as overhanging branches, falling leaves, or damage caused by tree roots.
- The easiest and most popular option is to chat to your neighbour about the matter and try if you can come to an understanding.
- In "common law" situations involving trees, there are some guidelines to follow.
- Here are some things you can do with it.
- You are responsible for the entire bill if you decide to have any encroaching leaves or branches removed.
- However, if the tree is on the council's list of endangered species, a permit may be necessary before you cut it down.
- In the event that your neighbor's tree sustains damage while you are performing the maintenance, you are obligated to make the necessary repairs.
- The council will not serve as an arbiter in a dispute over a tree if the tree in question is not located on city property.
- If you need to go onto a neighbor's property to prune their trees, you must first get their permission to do so.
- If a neighbor's property has been damaged because of a tree, the neighbour will need to prove that the tree or trees in question are responsible for the problem before taking legal action against the tree's owner.
- Proving that a branch is intruding on your property line is relatively easy, but showing that the roots have damaged your building may be more difficult.
- Identifying the offending tree or trees may be more complicated if there are other trees nearby.
- Limbs Up in the Air
- Damage caused by a tree's branches or roots that grow into a neighbor's property is not limited to what the homeowner can pay for.
- If a neighbor's property is damaged or the neighbor's use of their property is disrupted as a result of the owner's activity, the neighbour may file a lawsuit against the owner.
- If a neighbor's tree grows too close to your fence, you can prune the branches that hang over it and return them to their property.
- The first step is to discuss the issue with your neighbour; they may be willing to handle it on their own.
- If this isn't possible, recommend your neighbour hire a tree service to get the work done instead.
- When disputing the cause of an issue, plumbers and engineers are sometimes called upon to render professional opinions.
- After you've figured out what's bothering your neighbour, you two might be able to sit down and talk things out amicably.
- You have the legal right to remove any tree limbs or roots that extend onto your land from a neighbor's property, up to the point where your property line ends.
- Notifying your neighbour of your plans to do this is voluntary and not required by law.
- Still, it's best to let them know what you have planned.
- If the tree owner and the affected neighbour want to continue living next to each other, it's in everyone's best interest to address the matter in a way that doesn't cause unnecessary friction between them.
- Whoever may be found legally responsible for the tree's state, the best course of action is always to have an open conversation in order to find a solution that is satisfactory to all parties involved.
- Have a chat with a close neighbour. Prior to venting to a neighbour, it's best to give some thought to just what it is you want.
- To begin, find a time that is convenient for both parties to meet and talk about the tree.
- Community mediation services are available to help persons who are having significant communication difficulties with their neighbours.
- It's legal in Victoria, but only if the tree is causing significant disruption to locals' daily lives.
- If you feel that you have been subjected to a private nuisance, you should consult an attorney and file a lawsuit with the Victorian courts.
- In the event that a tree's roots or branches extend onto neighbouring property, the offended party has the legal right to have them cut down at the boundary line.
- If the tree was pruned without the owner's permission, the court could award both compensatory and exemplary damages.
- Nonetheless, etiquette dictates that you let the tree's owner know before you prune any major branches or roots.
- If you're going to prune your neighbour's tree, you should do so with care.
- If the tree is damaged without reason, the tree's owner may sue for compensation.
- The local council should be notified first if the tree owner is going to be late in collecting the trimmings.
- It's possible that tree-trimming etiquette varies from one jurisdiction to the next.
- The rules we're discussing here apply to any tree, not just your neighbor's, so don't feel like you have to wait till they're gone before you prune one.
- Consequently, you should start by researching the tree-trimming regulations in your area.
- If your city or town council has given you the go-ahead to cut down a tree that is encroaching on your property, you are well within your rights to do so.
- You are liable for any maintenance or trimming of trees that overhang your property unless the tree's owner is willing to do it themselves.
- You may be responsible for paying to have a neighbor's tree pruned if it is encroaching on your land.
- According to laws in Victoria, you will be responsible for paying the cost of any necessary repairs.
- In most circumstances, a neighbour who has a tree trimmed back cannot bill the tree's owner for the service, thus it is always polite to offer to pay for the work you want if the trees are not technically on your property.
- The tree's owner should pitch in if the removal is going to be pricey.
- If you are unable to come to an agreement with the tree's owner, you can seek the court to order the tree's removal at the owner's expense.
- We've established that you can ask your neighbour to pay for tree trimming under the law, but we urge you not to.
- The neighbour should pay to have the tree chopped down only if it causes them personal inconvenience.
- A Magistrate's Court must make a decision in this matter.
- It is also possible to serve a neighbour with a Fencing notice.
- This agreement between them formalises their request to divide the cost of a fence repair or replacement.
- If you and your neighbour still can't settle your fencing issue 30 days after you served them with a Fencing notice, you can ask a magistrate to make a decision.
- A Complaint (fence dispute) must first be filed with the court using Form 5A. Finally, you should always talk to a lawyer before filing a lawsuit.
- If you have tried talking to or emailing your neighbour about the problem and it hasn't been resolved, mediation may be an option.
- It's a way to resolve conflicts with your neighbour without damaging your relationship with them.
- If mediation does not work, the next step is to file the appropriate paperwork with your local Magistrates Court.
- Seek professional legal counsel before taking any action.
FAQs About Cutting A Neighbours Tree Overhanging My Property
It is the responsibility of a tree owner to prune any overhanging branches that are breaching a neighbour's boundary. This should apply whenever the tree owner is notified that the overhanging branches are posing a danger to neighbour's animals, building or other property.
Your neighbour can cut any branches that are overhanging into their garden as long as they only remove the bits on their side of the boundary. If they want you to cut your tree or hedge just because they don't like the way it looks, it's up to you whether you do the work.
You have the right to prune overhanging tree branches back to the boundary line of your property, even if you don't own the tree. However, you will have some responsibilities if you do this: see Trees and the Law (RHS website) for more details.
Such an owner which cuts down the branches of his neighbour (the owner of the tree) must offer such branches to his neighbour and if the neighbour refuses to accept them, then the owner may keep the branches or dispose of them himself.
Indeed, it is unlawful to return fallen leaves back to someone else's land without their permission (this includes highway land such as the road and the paths and verges running alongside it).