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Falling out with your neighbours over dangerous trees can be difficult however, with a bit of communication and consideration on both sides of the fence they can generally be resolved amicably.

Mostly speaking  the common causes of hostility and concerns over tree safety stem from overhanging brands, that shade solar panels, trees dropping debris in pools, and trees obstructing access to the backyard and property. Homeowners are responsible for the safety of trees located on their property. You could be liable for the branches that overhang your neighbour’s property.

You should remove any trees that are diseased or deemed unsafe.  If that tree falls and damages your neighbour’s property you could be found liable.

What are your options if there is a DANGEROUS tree in your neighbours garden?

You may be liable if your tree falls on a neighbour’s property.

  • If your neighbour’s tree overhangs your property you are entitled to prune the branches that hang over your yard, but first you must check the tree isn’t protected.
  • You can’t go onto your neighbour’s property without their permission to undertake any tree work.
  • Trees over 12m high or trees with a canopy of 12m or trees with a trunk circumference over 1.5m are protected in the ACT. These trees are called Regulated Trees and require approval for pruning and removal. Before you begin pruning any Regulated Tree you will need to consult a qualified arborist and may need to complete a Tree Damaging Activity Form.
  • If you are unsure about the status of your tree a qualified arborist can advise you whether any tree in your garden qualifies as a Regulated Tree.
  • You should make sure your arborist is insured and qualified for the job and has public liability insurance.
  • If your neighbour refuses to trim back or remove a dangerous tree you can send a legal letter requesting action.
  • As a final step you can take your neighbour to court.  The court will generally order overhanging branches are pruned and dangerous or unstable trees are removed.   If the tree has caused damage to your property you may be able to claim damages.
  • If a tree is in sound condition but falls over or drops limbs because of a weather event it is considered an act of god.

For further information about your rights regarding trees visit: Transport Canberra & City Services