Here in Brisbane Queensland we live in one of the greenest cities in Australia. We have rolling hills filled with native sub tropical greenery that competes with imported species cultivated by local residents and with the many weed species that thrive in the wet and warm conditions Brisbane is famous for.
Brisbanites tend to love the great outdoors, the beautiful weather and having a flourishing garden. However when the garden becomes more like a jungle and the neighbours begin complaining about overhanging branches, and invasive root systems we may need to do something about it, but what are our legal rights and responsibilities when it comes to tending to our overgrown garden?
The Law Has Changed.
The law has recently changed in Queensland with the introduction of The Neighbourhood Dispute Act 2011, which has replaced the Dividing Fences Act, that has been in operation for nearly sixty years.
The most telling change was the ability to bill the owner of a tree that intrudes on to your property for any work done to keep that tree on the other side of the fence. Once per year you can present your neighbour with an account of no more than 300 dollars for maintenance work conducted on an over hanging tree or a tree with an invasive root system. There are some conditions that go with this; any pruning done to an overhanging tree cannot cause permanent damage to the tree, and as such rules out the use of poisons to retard future growth.
Who Pays The Bill?
Whilst it is legal to land your neighbour with a bill for pruning back their intrusive flora, it may be a more peaceful option to discuss the issue with the neighbour prior to presenting them a demand for payment. Should your neighbour be intractable and uncooperative then you are well within your rights to prune back the intrusive plants or get the tree roots ground down.
Should the problem be more drastic, involving large trees that may threaten the safety of your residence and your family, then you may wish to contact a tree removal specialist who will be familiar with the Brisbane council bylaws. A Brisbane based tree lopping professional will be able to advise you as to your rights and responsibilities when it comes to removing trees, even ones protected by a VPO (Vegetation Protection Order).
A tree removal specialist is often well equipped to deal with an emergency situation such as a tree that is listing badly and threatens your property, they will be able to advise you which by laws allow you to remove threatening vegetation, and what the correct process is to ensure that you are legally covered for any work done on protected trees on, or intruding into your property.