Resolving Fence and Tree Disputes

Resolving Fence and Tree Disputes

The Neighbourhood Disputes Resolution Bill 2010 was introduced to Parliament in November 2010.

A proposed new law to solve neighbourhood disputes about trees and fences will provide clear and practical ways to resolve neighbourhood disputes informally.

If disputes cannot be informally resolved, the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) will be able to deal with these matters.

What general changes are proposed for fences?

The Bill proposes a wider definition of the term fence (including hedges) and clearer definition of the term ‘sufficient dividing fence’.

Other changes include a single ‘Notice for contribution to fencing work’ form; clarification that the ownership of the dividing fence on a common boundary is shared equally; distinction between a retaining wall and fence; and clearer rules for pastoral and agricultural fences.

What general changes are proposed for trees?

The Bill proposes that the proper care and maintenance of a tree will be the responsibility of the tree keeper. In general terms, a person is a tree keeper if they are the registered owner of the land on which the tree is situated.

The Bill will promote public safety and responsibility will be placed on the tree keeper to ensure that their tree does not cause injury to persons or damage to neighbouring properties.

A neighbour will not have to return to a tree keeper, branches, roots or fruit which encroach on the neighbour’s land.

When can a neighbour apply to QCAT to resolve a dispute about a tree?

Applications can be made if:

the tree has caused, is causing or is likely to cause injury to any personthe tree has caused, is causing or is likely to cause serious damage to a neighbour’s land or property

  • the tree has caused or is causing, substantial, ongoing and unreasonable interference with the neighbour’s land.  

Want to know more?

 For more detail on the changes and how they may affect you please contact one of our solicitors on 07 5630 6888