Neighbourhood tree disputes – have your say

flowers and leaves of a flowering eucalypt

Your tree is dropping leaves and flowers into the next-door pool and the neighbours have complained. Meanwhile, you are worried that a tree on your other fenceline will drop a limb onto your roof. So, what are your rights and responsibilities as a neighbour and tree owner?

Disputes about trees are a common cause of conflict and bitterness between neighbours. Last year tree disputes were the third biggest type of dispute at the Dispute Settlement Centre. And it doesn’t help that the current laws around neighbour tree disputes are confusing and difficult to navigate.

Need help to solve a tree dispute?

If this scenario is sounding familiar, there are some resources to help - watch this new video just released by the Victorian Law Reform Commission explaining the current law around tree disputes or download a copy of our publication Neighbours the law and you for some more tips on how to solve a tree dispute.

Changes to the law on tree disputes could be on the radar. The Victorian Law Reform Commission is an independent organisation that makes recommendations to government about how laws can be improved. Right now, it is looking closely at the laws around neighbourhood tree disputes and inviting the public to make submissions. The inquiry came about because of suggestions by members of the community following their experience of trying to resolve this kind of problem.

The Commission’s focus will be on disputes about trees on private property that cause or that could cause damage or harm, rather than disputes about trees on public land or the obstruction of sunlight or views by neighbouring trees.

For more background read the Victorian Law Reform’s Commission’s consultation paper on this page.

Have any ideas?

If you have an interest or experience with the issues raised in that paper, you are encouraged to make a submission to the Commission by 28 February 2018.

This page was last updated on January 30, 2018