Disagreements about trees and vegetation crossing property boundaries are a major cause of neighbourhood conflict.
The Neighbourhood Disputes (Dividing Fences and Trees) Act 2011 (“the Act”) sets out a process for residents to resolve neighbourhood disputes. It also encourages residents to be good neighbours and resolve their disputes concerning trees and fences in a friendly and timely manner.
We do not have responsibility for enforcing the Act.
Talk to your neighbours
In neighbourhood disputes, the best approach is always to reach an amicable agreement. In the first instance, speaking with your neighbour is sometimes better than giving formal notices. If this fails, the Act sets out the process for residents to use to resolving such disputes. In some circumstances using an independent mediator can assist neighbours to reach a mutually agreed solution.
Mediators are available through the Dispute Resolution Centre or the Citizens Advice Bureau. Legal action should be a last resort as it can be costly and tends to worsen neighbour relations.
The Act outlines the rights and responsibilities of all parties involved. Under the Act the proper care and maintenance of a tree will be the responsibility of the ‘tree keeper’. The Act provides greater choices for neighbours about trees affecting their property.
The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) has jurisdiction to hear and decide any matter in relation to a tree in which it is alleged that the land is affected by the tree. QCAT provides a single tribunal through that the community can access justice. QCAT provides the community with a more accessible, informal and responsive means of resolving neighbourhood disputes.
The Act does not apply to all trees
The Act does not apply to trees on rural land, land that is more than 4ha in size, or land owned by a local government that is used as a public park or land reserved for community purposes, including roads.
The Act also excludes trees planted or maintained for certain purposes such as for commercial purposes or as a condition of a development approval.
Where a tree is situated on excluded land owned by Council, we will make an assessment as to whether the tree poses an unacceptable risk to property or public safety and will arrange for trimming or removal where necessary.