Disputes over neighbour's trees
Council does not have the authority to order a resident to prune or remove a tree, tree roots or branches that is damaging a shared fence or causing other problems or nuisance.
The first step in solving a neighbouring tree problem is:
- discuss the problem with your neighbour
- talk about possible solutions including the cost
- negotiate a solution that satisfies you both.
If you do not reach an agreed solution, disputes between neighbours are not solved by Council.
To see if you can reach a solution with some help, the next step is:
- mediation organised by a Community Justice Centre, or
- legal action in the Land and Environment Court.
Community Justice Centres provide free mediation services to people across NSW.
If you and a neighbour are locked in a dispute over a tree, mediation is a practical alternative to legal action.
A trained mediator will meet with you and your neighbour to discuss the problem and help you to resolve it.
If mediation fails, property owners can apply to the NSW Land and Environment Court to resolve the matter.
Under NSW law, the court can make orders to “remedy, restrain or prevent damage to a property” (or injury to a person) caused by a tree on adjoining land. The court may also order compensation for damage already caused by a tree.
You can only apply to the court if you've already made a reasonable attempt to resolve the situation. Check the Land and Environment Court’s website before you consider making an application.
Please note, this information and the relevant law (Tree (Disputes Between Neighbours) Act 2006) only applies to trees on private property. If you have concerns about a tree located on council land, contact us.
The Land and Environment Court has directed that:
- disruption to infrastructure such as kerb, footpath, driveways etc. is not a reason for the removal of trees.
- the dropping of seeds, flowers, fruit and small debris is not a reason to interfere with an urban tree.