Neighbourhood Tree Disputes

Neighbourhood Tree Disputes: How To Resolve Them?

Resolving neighbour tree disputes can be tricky, but a court may only sometimes provide the best solution. Financial costs and lengthy timelines associated with legal intervention often make it impractical. Furthermore, litigation could also hurt neighbourly relations.

Suppose you and your neighbour are at an impasse. In that case, dispute resolution is a great way to settle quickly, efficiently, and cost-effectively. It can be the best option for avoiding drawn-out tree disputes that could become costly in both time and money. Obtain an arborist report to identify necessary immediate actions and mitigation measures.

In this article, we will further discuss tree laws, tree keepers, and the Trees (disputes between neighbours) act 2006, which can help resolve tree disputes.

What Are The Rules About Neighbours Trees?

Tree disputes are a common occurrence in residential neighbourhoods. Unfortunately, neighbours frequently experience disputes over neighbour trees overhanging within the boundaries of their properties.

Such circumstances can range from Perth tree removal or trimming requests to overshadowing and debris problems — all of which have the potential for heated conflict if not appropriately addressed. Common causes of a tree dispute are the following:

  • Neighbours’ trees are pushing over the fence
  • Neighbours’ tree roots are starting to damage your property
  • The branches are interfering with signals or blocking sunlight
  • Leaves, branches, or fruits are falling into your yard

If your neighbour’s tree is overhanging, it’s best to talk with them first. Discussing the issue can lead to a positive solution for everyone involved. Afterall, you don’t want to risk a penalty for cutting a tree without a permission. Maintaining good relations with your neighbour is wise. Resolving tree issues can save you time, money, and emotional energy.

Neighbourhood and Tree Dispute Laws

Western Australia

The Local Government Act 1995 (WA) empowers councils to take action against property owners whose trees endanger neighbouring persons or property. To get local council action in Western Australia, an arborist must provide a documented report stating that the tree is structurally unstable or possibly harmful.

If your local council determines from the report that the tree endangers nearby persons or property and must be made safe, they can issue a notice to your neighbour to address the problem.

Before addressing any legal matters, you must understand the nuances of your local council regulations. Then, to ensure you’ve got everything covered and avoid jumping into anything without knowing all the facts, speak with a lawyer and your council for advice on how best to proceed.


The Neighbourhood Disputes (Dividing Fences and Trees) Act 2011 covers you if your neighbour’s trees are encroaching on your property.

The Act protects most trees in Queensland. However, not those located on rural land over four hectares or belonging to a local government intended as public parks. Additionally, any trees planted or maintained for commercial purposes are exempt from the regulations set forth by this Act.

New South Wales

On the other hand, neighbour disputes concerning trees can have a resolution in NSW through the Trees (Dispute Between Neighbours) Act 2006, which commenced on the 2nd of February 2007. This act provides an outlined statutory scheme to rectify everyday law actions taken over disagreements about tree placement and adjoining properties.

Who Are The Tree Keepers?

According to the Neighbourhood Disputes (Dividing Fences and Trees) Act 2011, every property owner is responsible for maintaining the trees on their land. The Act states that, usually, this is the registered freehold owner who takes up the ‘tree keeper’ role. They are responsible for ensuring any trees kept in their charge receive adequate care and attention.

The Act regulating land usage applies differently to specific types of territory. For instance, a state will need more oversight in national parks. On the other hand, both community title schemes and plans are supervised by their respective body corporate tree-keepers.

Responsibilities of a Tree Keeper

Whose responsibility is it to cut overhanging tree branches? Tree keepers are responsible for maintaining the health and safety of trees by trimming back any branches that encroach on a neighbour’s land without violating local vegetation protection orders.

To avoid trees from damaging neighbours’ properties, tree keepers must be diligent in protecting their neighbours by safeguarding against any potential injury, damage, or disruption caused by the tree’s presence. In addition, they should maintain a healthy environment that creates harmony and peace of mind for all parties involved.

Maintaining a tree is no small task. If multiple people want to ensure its welfare, having two tree keepers can be mutually beneficial. Each person will have shared responsibility and accountability for every neighbour’s tree dispute.

Guide On Resolving Neighbour Tree Disputes

Trees can create many disputes between neighbours, from damage to property or injury due to falling branches. Even something as simple as leaves clogging gutters or dropping into the neighbour’s pool might be enough for a disagreement.

Dividing fence disputes can become complex. Different costs, heights, and types of fences may be called for. Don’t let a disagreement ruin your relationship. Instead, use this guide to find an agreeable resolution.

Step 1: Be Informed


If you’re facing issues with your neighbour’s trees, there are a variety of actions that you can legally take. Knowing the legal responsibilities associated with tree-keeping is one great way to ensure disagreements don’t arise over shrubs and plants growing on either side of property lines.

Avoid unnecessary court battles about trees. Instead, communicate with your neighbour for a faster, more affordable resolution. Take the time to read up on how to avoid disputes over trees and tree protection zone Australian standards to know what approach you should take.

Dividing Fences

Sharing a dividing fence? Neighbours should be aware of their legal responsibilities in this situation. To ensure each party is taken care of, understanding the standard boundary line and ownership laws will help keep fences.

Handling disagreements with your neighbour directly is the best course of action to prevent costly and lengthy legal disputes. Building or maintaining a dividing fence can save money and stress. Read more information about avoiding fence-related disputes.
Building Disputes
Property owners and tradespeople may have differing views on the quality of artistry, cost, or timeline for a job. Disputes between these two parties are handled differently than neighbour disputes over fences and trees. Understanding how to resolve such issues is vital in ensuring all stakeholders get a resolution quickly and fairly.
Protect your property from potential disputes by proactively hiring a contractor to help maintain your trees.

Step 2: Communicate With Your Neighbours

To ensure a satisfactory resolution, start with an amicable conversation. Acknowledge your neighbour in the most considerate way by giving them a friendly heads-up on potential issues. Opening direct communication is vital to finding common ground and resolving any differences that may arise.

When you’ve identified the problem, establish a mutually convenient time and place to discuss it. Consider what points you want to make beforehand.

Step 3: Write It

A good understanding between you and your neighbour is critical — be sure to put any agreement in writing, then schedule a follow-up session to discuss progress. If an amicable solution can’t be found, don’t hesitate to seek legal advice about the best way forward for both of you.

Step 4: Ask For Legal Advice

Do you need help understanding how the law applies in your particular situation? You may require legal advice. Consider consulting a lawyer, as they can provide you with tailored insight on potential solutions for resolving disputes.

Resolving The Issue

Neighbourly disputes can be a thing of the past with proper tree maintenance. We can assess and conduct the cost of stump removal, lopping or cutting operations on any potential grievances between neighbours that threaten property value.

To ensure a tree’s well-being, communication and compromise are vital factors in avoiding neighbour-tree disputes. However, pursuing legal advice may be necessary if these efforts fail to provide an agreeable outcome. Tree Wise Men are the top arborists in Perth who will help you maintain and prevent overhanging trees.

With three decades of tree maintenance experience, our family-owned business has serviced just about any tree needed in Perth. So whether it’s a residential or commercial job, you can trust that we are knowledgeable and well-equipped to handle the task. Get a quote today!


Tree Pruning Perth
Tree Wise Men Perth Logo Icon

You Might Also Like

how to kill a tree

How to Kill A Tree: Strategies for Tree Termination

By Kim Chan | 05/02/2024

Trees are like the sturdy guardians of our natural surroundings, towering over us with their majestic presence and unwavering resilience. We get it – sometimes you’ve got to say goodbye to a tree.…

what trees can be cut down without permission

Understanding Permissible Tree Removal: What Trees Can Be Cut Down Without Permission?

By Alan Tweed | 03/01/2024

Understanding the rules about cutting down trees can be like trying to find your way through a maze – it gets pretty tricky, especially when figuring out what trees can be cut down…

Get a Quote Now

Fill in the form below and one of our friendly arborists will get back to you shortly.

Get a Quote Form

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.