In brief – The law can help you resolve tree disputes,
prevent further damage and potentially seek compensation
Trees, along with fences, have become one of the main causes of
disputes between neighbours. If you are being affected by a
neighbour's encroaching tree, the law provides you with a
mechanism for resolving related disputes, preventing further damage
to your premises and also potentially seeking compensation for any
damage already caused by the tree.
The tree must be located entirely or predominantly on the land
adjoining the applicant's property.
Where does the Tree Act apply?
The Tree Act applies to any privately owned land
located in a residential, village, township, industrial or business
Rural residential land and Crown land (excluding schools) are
If you are not sure of the zoning of the affected property, you
can make enquires at your local council.
Council owned trees exempted from Tree Act
Trees located on council owned land are exempt from the Tree
Act. Any issues with council owned trees should be taken up
directly with the relevant local council.
Why would you make an application under the Tree
The best way to resolve any dispute is to try to resolve it
directly with the owner of the property on which the problem tree
However, if this proves to be impossible, you can apply to the
Land and Environment Court for an order to remedy, restrain or
prevent further damage being caused by the tree.
In addition, you may also apply for compensation for any damage
already caused by the tree, such as damage to property or to
Who can make an application under the Tree Act?
An owner or occupier of a property adjoining the property on
which the problem tree is located is able to make an application to
the Land and Environment Court under the Tree Act.
It is important to note that all owners and occupiers should be
noted on any application, so if you are a tenant, ensure the
landlord's details are included in your application.
How do you make an application under the Tree
An application can be made directly to the Land and Environment
The application forms and other requirements are set out on the
Environment Court website. All questions listed on the
application form should be answered, as this helps the court
establish whether you have a valid application under the Tree
Because the aim of the Tree Act is to provide a cost
effective mechanism to resolve genuine disputes between neighbours
regarding trees, applications to the Land and Environment Court
currently cost only $217 for individual applicants and $434 for
corporations. The application can be lodged at the Land and
Environment Court directly by the applicant, without the
requirement to obtain legal representation.
What does the Land and Environment Court take into
In relation to applications which pertain to property damage or
personal injury including any claims for compensation, the Land and
Environment Court requires the applicant to provide satisfactory
in accordance with
section 10(1) of the Tree Act, all reasonable efforts
have been undertaken to try and resolve the dispute directly with
the owner of the property that the disputed tree is located on
the subject tree has, is or will cause damage to the
in relation to personal injury claims, that the subject tree
has or is more than likely to cause injury to a person
All matters to be considered by the Land and Environment Court
in relation to an application are set out in
section 12 of the Tree Act.
Unless the Land and Environment Court is satisfied in relation
to the matters listed above and in section 12, it is unable to
issue an order.
In relation to an application regarding hedges obscuring
sunlight, the court will also consider whether the trees forming
the hedge were planted or self sown and whether they are greater
than 2.5 metres in height.
The Council announced planning policies to encourage more inner suburban retirement village and aged care development.
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