Neighbourhood Tree Disputes

Project Status:

Tabled in parliament

Start Date:

08/06/2017

Tabled in Parliament Date:

27/11/2019

Reference

As part of our Community Law Reform Program, the Commission inquired into neighbourhood tree disputes. We reviewed the laws governing disputes between neighbours of private land involving trees that cause damage.

Summary of the issues: neighbourhood tree disputes

Many residential properties have trees growing within their boundaries. The potential for neighbourhood tree disputes to arise is high. A large number of people experience disputes with neighbours over trees.

Common examples of tree disputes include:

• branches hanging over boundary lines

• roots causing damage to foundations, drainage and sewer pipelines

• the spread of weeds and creeping plants

• leaf litter causing damage or creating hazards (eg slippery pathways or clogged gutters)

• unsafe trees and branches creating hazards (eg poisonous fruit or leaves, or insecure branches)

• trees impeding a view and/or blocking sunlight, and/or affecting the neighbour’s ability to use solar panels.

NB: We did not consider disputes about trees on public land or trees that block sunlight and views.

It is currently not clear what the law states and where people can get help to resolve their disputes. The Commission considered whether laws should be changed to provide better, fairer ways of resolving tree disputes.

Tabled in Parliament on 27 November 2019, the Commission’s report made 63 recommendations. You can read or download the full report by following the links below.

Key recommendation

The Commission recommended the introduction of a Neighbourhood Tree Disputes Act to assist neighbours to resolve their disputes quickly, affordably and effectively. Determination of disputes under the new Act should predominantly be undertaken by VCAT, because its processes are informal, flexible, accessible and efficient.

As of November 2022 the recommendations have not been implemented.

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Neighbourhood Tree Disputes

Trees can sometimes cause disputes between neighbours. What can you do if you have a disagreement about a tree? The Victorian Law Reform Commission is reviewing the law. Includes comments from the Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria.

Project Stage

  • Terms of reference received
  • Submissions and consultations
  • Submissions closed
  • Final Report
  • Tabled in parliament

Publications

Publication Date

12/11/2019

Tabled in Parliament on 27 November 2019, the Commission’s final report made 63 recommendations.
Publication Date

12/11/2019

Tabled in Parliament on 27 November 2019, the Commission’s final report made 63 recommendations. Read more
Publication Date

12/11/2019

Tabled in Parliament on 27 November 2019, the Commission’s final report made 63 recommendations. Read more
Publication Date

12/11/2019

Tabled in Parliament on 27 November 2019, the Commission’s final report made 63 recommendations. This is a summary of the key recommendations. Read more
Publication Date

18/06/2019

The Commission received the following submissions. Read more
Publication Date

15/12/2017

The consultation paper explained current issues with the law about neighbourhood tree disputes, and how people can resolve them. The paper included a number of questions to guide public submissions.
Publication Date

15/12/2017

The consultation paper explained current issues with the law about neighbourhood tree disputes, and how people can resolve them. The paper included a number of questions to guide public submissions. Read more
Publication Date

15/12/2017

The consultation paper explained current issues with the law about neighbourhood tree disputes, and how people can resolve them. The paper included a number of questions to guide public submissions. Read more