Avoid legal action by keeping trees in good condition

Avoid legal action by keeping trees in good condition


Neighbourhood disputes act 2011 provides for the options of one settling tree disputes across property lines. It covers the responsibility of tree keepers to deal with branches that are overhanging and a guide to mediation and settling disputes in the neighbourhood.

Fences and trees are a common cause of conflict among neighbours. Disputes relating to trees are often about damage to the neighbour’s property for example damage caused by falling branches, nuisances such as leaves blocking gutters or dirtying the swimming pool.

An excellent way to avoid disputes with neighbours in regards to trees growing on your land is to know the legal rights as a tree keeper. The best way to resolve a conflict is to have a friendly chat with your neighbour. In some cases, the neighbour may not be aware of the problem. Knock on their door or let them know you would like to have a face to face talk. It is vital to bring to their attention the problem in a polite but firm way. Allow the neighbour to tell their side of the story and try to work on a way forward solution. Avoid blaming and putting conditions on what needs to be done. Also, do not resort to name calling and or making wild accusations as this only aggravates the situation and makes harder to find a standard grounded solution.

Once an amicable solution has been arrived at, it’s advisable to put it in writing and plan to revisit the issue to discuss how things are going. If you can’t reach an agreement, one should consider for arbitration or seek legal advice on how best to resolve the issue. One can get legal advice from a private lawyer or local community legal centres.

Mediation can be sought after as a way to resolve disputes between neighbours without legal cases in court. Dispute resolution centres come in handy where mediators act as neutral parties who guide the individuals through a planned arbitration process to settle the dispute. Mediation is best as is more comfortable, quicker and cheaper as compared to legal battles which may drag on in court for years.

QCAT-Queensland civil and administrative tribunal can also be looked up to make decisions on disputes in regards to trees on the residential land. It is legally binding and enforceable through courts. It is also cheaper than taking to court cases. It can also assist to reach an agreement through arbitration and in cases where a hearing through a tribunal is needed one does not necessarily need to be represented by a lawyer. However, this act is not applicable to trees which are found in rural areas or land which is bigger than four hectares. It also does not include trees maintained or planted for specific purposes for example for commercial use.

This application of tree provision is restricted to urban areas and in situations where the land in which the tree affects adjoins the neighbours land and or where a road separates the land.