Neighbours dispute over tree risk on shared property

Date: Dec 04, 2018

The Land and Environment Court of New South Wales often oversees proceedings relating to the Trees (Disputes between Neighbours) Act 2006. The Act is meant to govern disputes related to trees on shared or adjoining properties.

In the recent NSW dispute, a large tree on a neighbour’s land has concerned residents after dead branches continue to fall over their garden and near their dwelling.

The application and concern

Two NSW residents applied to the court regarding trees near their property. One part of the application claimed that the trees were planted to form a hedge and obstructed their views, and the other expressed their concern that the branches from the large trees could fall at any time and cause injuries. The branches reach over their outdoor space and close to their dwelling, and they reside on a neighbouring property owned by the respondent.

The trees were one blackbutt and two broad-leaved paperbarks. The court did acknowledge large limbs had been falling on the property and that if they had hit anyone, it could have caused severe injury.

The respondent’s representative argued that removal of the trees was a ‘disproportionate response to the level of risk’ the trees cause, and a person from the NSW Department of Environment and Heritage said that this species is important for the local vegetation community.

The judge’s orders

As to the first point made in the application regarding an obstruction of view, the judge said that the trees were indigenous to the area and were likely there before the residents lived on the property, so it cannot be said that they were planted to form a hedge.

But the court did find some risk of injury regarding falling branches. The judge ordered that within 60 days, the respondent should pay for the trees to be pruned to sufficiently remove the risk of falling deadwood and branches. The respondent should also hire professionals to remove the two lowest limbs over the applicants’ property, and any other hazardous limbs.

If you have sustained a personal injury due to public liability or negligence, our lawyers can help. Get in touch with us right away at Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyer. We offer free consultations to get to the bottom of the issue.

Call us now on 1800 004 878 to book a free appointment with one of my compensation experts, or email your enquiry.