In October 2010, a man from Morayfield, north of Brisbane, was charged with the assault of his neighbour, telling police “…he wouldn’t trim the hedges”.
In Queensland, issues relating to trees and fences are the most common form of neighbourhood dispute – there is currently no statutory law in Queensland that provides for disputes relating to nuisance trees, and laws relating to fencing date back to 1953.
As our population grows we find that we are living in closer spaces than ever before, prompting the Queensland Government to release a draft consultation paper on how neighbourhood disputes can be resolved.
The consultation materials provide for clearer guidance in the instance of a dispute through better definitions for trees and retaining walls, confirmation of the ownership of a tree and the appointment of the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal to assist in the resolution of neighbourhood disputes.
These changes are not yet law and are still being considered.
What does this mean for you?
- As a tree owner (‘tree keeper’) you are responsible for the cutting and removing of overhanging branches, ensuring a tree does not cause damage or injury to a person or a person’s property.
- Ownership of a fence on a property boundary is shared between neighbours.
- Before cutting down a tree it is best to contact your local government.
- An edging hedge is recognised as a fence.