How To Get A Tree Trimmed That’s Not On Your Property

How To Get A Tree Trimmed That’s Not On Your Property

Is your neighbour’s tree littering your yard with leaves? Is it leaning against your fence, or branches blocking sunlight from solar panels! The list of problems can get out of control, we’ve all been there – and it is always a difficult situation to try and get neighbour’s to see your side of the fence. B&R Tree Services have created an easy-to-follow guide when you have a neighbour’s tree affecting your property.

Step 1 – Determining The Issue

Legally, your neighbour’s tree is regarded as affecting you if, in the next 12 months, it is likely to:

- Seriously injure anyone on your land

- Seriosuly damage your land or any of your property

- Unreasonably get in the way of your use and enjoyment of your land

- Interferes with television or satellite reception

- Shades sunlight from the windows or roof of your property if the tree branches are more than 2.5 metres above the ground

- Obstructs a view that existed before you took possession of the land if the tree branches are more than 2.5 metres above the ground

- Creates a substantial and ongoing accumulation of tree litter in your yard

    Step 2 – Talk To Your Neighbour

·        First, it is always a good idea to have a calm, friendly chat with your neighbour about your concerns regarding the offending tree. It is always best to be face-to-face, as notes and letters may come across passive aggressive and worsen the situation. They might not have been aware of the issue the tree was causing and be happy to help solve the problem.

     ·        Attempt to find a time and place where you both have ample time to discuss the problem, think beforehand about what you might say – be clear and concise, not aggressive and demanding.

     ·        Once you’ve explained your issue, give your neighbour a chance to tell their side of the story, there could be factors you had not considered affecting the situation. Show that you are listening by maintaining an appropriate level of eye-contact and nodding, be sure that your body language is welcoming and understanding – this could be having both hands clasped in front of you resting towards your stomach, or both hands politely held behind your back with correct posture. Avoid negative body language such as crossed arms or hands on hips, this can be misconstrued as intrusive and antagonizing.

    ·        Try working on a resolution together, being aware that this solution could take time and work to get it right, so do not expect a quick fix. Once a resolution has been agreed upon, get it in writing to show you have both agreed on the same outcome. Agree to meet again soon to discuss the resolution you’ve come up with together – do not forget or postpone this meeting, it is important to show you are serious about getting the issue resolved.

    ·        Once the issue is fixed, it is imperative to maintain healthy communication with your neighbours in the future so if another issue was to arise – you would be civil enough to discuss the matter again and collectively agree on a solution.

Unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world and this outcome may not happen, therefore we’ve provided you a helpful step-by-step process on resolving tree disputes.

Follow the next steps to take below.


Step 3 – What You Can Do

Depending on the outcome of the discussion with your neighbour, it is important to know what you can legally do yourself if you have a neighbour’s tree hanging over your land:

     ·        Exercise the common law right of abatement – your right to remove overhanging branches and roots to your boundary line.

     ·        Decide whether to return the lopped branches, roots or fruit to your neighbour, or dispose of them yourself. You are under no obligation to return anything you trim from the neighbour’s tree but you may do so as a sign of good will depending on the situation.

     ·        You can give them a formal notice to remove the problem branches using this form. This applies only where branches overhang more than 50cm and are less than 2.5 metres above the ground – and trees not covered by a vegetation protection order.

   ·        The form will ask for the following details:

§  Name & address of your neighbour

§  Description of land (e.g. street address lot number, identifying factors of property)

§  Description of your land (e.g. street address lot number, identifying factors of property)

§  A date to carry out the work (removal, pruning of tree, etc.) – which must be at least 30 days after the day the notice is given to your neighbour

§  Location of the tree on your neighbour’s property

§  Description of the tree on your neighbour’s property

§  The following documents must be attached to this form.

o   A copy of one (1) written quotation which states that the estimated cost of work on the tree is. (This will require you to get a quote from an arborist or “tree doctor” contact B&R Tree Services to assist you)

o   A copy of Chapter 3 Part 4 of the Neighbourhood Disputes (Dividing Fences and Trees) Act 2011


Step 4 – Seeking Legal Advice

If you have exhausted all these options, or you need more specific information about how the law applies to the situation including your options to solve the dispute, legal advice may be required. Legal advice can be obtained from:

- Your local community legal centre, browse the directory here.

- A private lawyer – the Queensland Law Society can refer you to a lawyer suitable for your needs.

From there, legal counsel can advise on what steps to take in resolving the issue.


Step 5 – Go To Mediation

Dispute Resolution Centres are one of the last resorts to settle disputes between neighbours without going to court. Find your nearest centre in Brisbane here. The centres have trained mediators who can act as a neutral third party, guiding you through a structured mediation process to resolve your dispute. In many cases, the process is free. Find out more about the mediation process including how to arrange and prepare for your first mediation session here.


Step 6 – Resolving A Dispute Through QCAT (Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal)

QCAT can make legally binding decisions about disputes over trees growing on residential land and fence disputes. The decisions are enforced through the courts, however resolving a dispute through QCAT is often cheaper than taking a case to court. QCAT can help you come to an agreement through mediation and if a tribunal hearing is necessary you do not need a lawyer to represent you.

You can apply to QCAT to make a legally enforceable decision – an order – on the matter.

QCAT can make different orders depending on your situation, this can include:

·        The tree must have annual maintenance work

·        A survey is undertaken to clarify who owns the tree

·        Authorising a person to enter your neighbour’s land to obtain a quote for work or to carry out work on the tree

·        Compensation or repair costs for damages to your property

·        A tree specialist to check and write a report on the tree

·        Have the tree removed

   The situation can feel overwhelming, especially when it’s your home that is being affected therefore it’s important to take time to consider all your options before making any rash decisions.


Free Plants To Brisbane Residents – Your Free Plants Guide


The Brisbane City Council has designed a fantastic ‘Free Native Plants’ program, created to help grow our city’s urban forest and support local wildlife. If you are a residential ratepayer, school, club, body corporate or registered community group you are eligible to take part in this environmentally positive plan.

What Kind Of Plants?

There is a large variety of plant species suitable for all garden types and sizes. Below is a helpful guide to help you decide what plant species suits your environment the best, along with the helpful tips and fauna benefits.

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How To Apply For The Free Native Plants Program 

If you are a resident living within Brisbane City Council catchment:

1. Visit a Brisbane City Council regional business centre or you can visit a Brisbane City Council library. You can find your nearest regional business centre here or your nearest library here

2. Present your paid rates notice from the current financial year. If you are a resident of Housing Commission and Defence Housing you will be required to provide evidence of a recent rental payment.

3. Upon being verified as an eligible recipient you will receive an approved stamped Free Native Plants voucher.

4. To redeem your Free Native Plants voucher, you can visit a participating nursery to collect two free plants from the selection available.

If you are a school, community group, club, body corporate or official citizenship ceremony:
1. An application can be submitted online here

  •  The application criteria requires you to provide a description for the extent and purpose of your planting project.
  •  Once your application has been approved, your group will be contacted via email on how to redeem your vouchers.


Reedeming Your Vouchers

We have provided you with a list of nurseries that you can visit to redeem your vouchers:

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Targeted Suburbs

Council offers four free native plants to assist in developing your garden for brand new homes that have been built in the newly developed suburbs listed below:

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Historical Australian Trees That Made The News


Australia is home to many historical trees, each with their own story of how they became an important part of local culture. But while many of these stories are undoubtedly newsworthy, sometimes they hit the news for other reasons. Here are four recent examples of historical trees that made headlines.

5 Times Trees Inadvertently Made the News


Unlike us humans, trees don’t go out of their way to get on the news or do anything newsworthy. But every now and then, it seems that trees just can’t help being put in the spotlight. Here are five instances when trees were part of some amazing stories: