Trees and neighbours

Keeping things neighbourly

Knowing what you can do and can't do with a neighbour's tree can sometimes be a contentious issue. Find out how we can assist these situations and know the options.

Pruning or removing trees on your neighbour's property

If you want to prune a tree that is on your neighbour's property, you need to submit an application. You will also need the written consent of the tree owner to enter and undertake any tree works within their property. Without such consent, we can only issue an approval to selectively prune branches that are within your property.

Work can only be conducted within your neighbour's property if they have given written consent. Applications to remove a neighbour's tree without the tree owner's consent will not be accepted.

Can Council order my neighbour to prune or remove their tree?

Unfortunately, we do not have the authority or legislative powers to order a person to prune or remove a tree, unless they are a species of plant declared a noxious weed. As this is a civil matter, we are unable to negotiate or intervene.

What about dead, dying or dangerous trees on neighbouring properties?

If your neighbour refuses to remove/prune a tree to make it safe and the tree poses an imminent danger to people and/or property, we can serve notice on the property owner to remove the tree.

Who pays for the pruning or removal of nuisance trees on neighbouring properties?

Any agreement or disagreement about pruning works and/or who will pay is a private matter, which has to be resolved between the affected parties.

What if neighbouring tree issues cannot be resolved?

Where an agreement cannot be reached, you should contact the Community Justice Centre to arrange mediation. You can visit the Community Justice Centre website or call 1800 990 777.

Should mediation fail, you may apply to the Land and Environment Court of New South Wales and, if appropriate, the court will serve the owner of the tree/s with an Order to abate any nuisance/damage. The Court will only deliberate if it believes all other options have been exhausted.

For information, visit the Land and Environment Court website and then click onto the Trees and Hedges link.

My neighbour wants to remove a tree which protects my privacy. Can i stop this?

The privacy value of a tree is not considered a sufficient reason to refuse an application for removal. Your neighbour has no obligation to protect your privacy - that is up to you.

Last Updated: 16 March 2023
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