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Neighbourhood Tree Disputes

For 20 years, readers of the Centralian Advocate looked forward to the Friday edition. Therein Povey Stirk Lawyers published a 300-word tale of fiction based on legally newsworthy events.

The following is a sample of these blogs

11 September 2019

There is an old large tree in the corner of Forrest’s yard that has recently been causing him some problems, despite the fact that it is entirely contained within the boundary of his property.

Guus is Forrest’s neighbour. One day, during a freak storm, a branch from Forrest’s tree snapped off and landed in Guus’s yard, completely destroying his goose enclosure.

Leith recently bought the property which backs onto Forrest’s. He enjoys the shade provided by Forrest’s tree during summer, but during autumn the tree drops many leaves, and some of them fall onto his lawn and into his gutters, forcing him to clean them up.

Axel is Forrest’s other neighbour. Forrest’s tree does not intrude onto his property at all, but Axel wants to cut it down as it is an eyesore that blocks his view of the nearby mountains.

All three neighbours saw a solicitor to consider their options.

Guus was told that as the tree branch in question was healthy and snapped off during a freak storm, Forrest could not have foreseen the potential damage or taken reasonable steps to address it. Essentially, this was an ‘act of God’ for which there is no liability.

Leith was told that leaves dropping off trees is an entirely natural process, that regular property maintenance is part and parcel of being a property owner, and that he should have foreseen this situation when he bought the place. Therefore, unless the problem is extreme, he will simply have to clean up the leaves himself.

Axel was told that there can be no action taken against another person for the shade, unsightliness or blocking of a view caused by a tree which remains entirely on that person’s land. Axel would have to move to a house with a better view.


Disclaimer: This document provides general information and is not legal advice. While we endeavour to ensure the information is correct at the date of publication, laws frequently change. If anything in this post is relevant to you, please contact us for advice on your specific situation

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