Trees can make lovely accents to a property, bringing beauty and serenity to any space, but what happens when they become the source of arguments and stress between you and your neighbour? Knowing your rights and your responsibilities as a property owner are crucial to handle tree disputes. In this blog, we will discuss resolving tree disputes in Queensland.
Common Reasons for Tree Disputes
A tree dispute refers to any conflict caused by trees on private properties. The most common reasons that tree disputes happen between neighbours are trees that cause the following:
- Obstruction of a neighbour’s view that was present before they acquired their land
- Blocking the sunlight
- Interference with TV, satellite or proper functioning of solar panels
- Overhanging on the neighbour’s land or property
- Damage to neighbours’ properties or pose a safety risk
How To Resolve Tree Disputes in Queensland
To resolve tree disputes with your neighbour as amicably as possible, consider the following points;
Communicate in a Respectful Way
Speak directly with your neighbour regarding the issue. It can help prevent misunderstandings and ensure all parties understand each other’s concerns. Explain why the issue is a problem for you and any potential solutions you have in mind. It’s always best to approach them calmly and politely. Most people are usually willing to compromise if they are approached respectfully.
Engage a Professional Tree Consultant for Advice
If discussing the issue with your neighbour doesn’t result in a suitable resolution, a Tree Consultant can guide you through the next steps. They will professionally evaluate the situation, provide an impartial perspective on the matter and recommend tree care services to reach a resolution.
Base your Actions on the Queensland Law
The Queensland legislation for handling tree disputes among neighbours is the Neighbourhood Disputes (Dividing Fences and Trees) Act 2011. It contains specific regulations that safeguard trees and protect property owners. In this act, the tree keeper (usually the owner of the land the tree is growing on) is responsible for tree care and maintenance. If you are a tree keeper, you must ensure your trees don’t negatively impact neighbouring land or structures, such as fences. However, you are NOT allowed to disturb trees on someone else’s property.
Under the common law right of abatement, you have the legal authority to remove any encroaching branches and roots at your property boundary, even without the neighbour’s consent. If doing so, you must adhere to any relevant tree and vegetation protection regulations. Removed tree parts can either be returned to your neighbour or disposed of as you see fit.
Send an Application to Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT)
The next option available when resolving tree disputes is to submit an application to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT). QCAT are able to make enforceable legal decisions and orders related to the issue. Tree Consultants can create Arborist Reports to support your application.
How to Resolve Tree Disputes: Address them Calmly and with the Guidance of the Law
Disagreements over trees can be handled without escalating into a full-blown neighbour nightmare or lengthy and expensive legal battles. The key is for both parties to engage respectfully and refer to your local Law if initial steps to resolve the issue are unsuccessful.
Think you might need expert advice on how to resolve tree disputes? Needing supporting Arborist Reports? Then please give us a call. We’re always happy to help to resolve your tree disputes.