Trees on Neighbouring Properties

View from Warragamba Lookout

If you are concerned about a tree on a neighbouring property, the best way to sort the issue out is to discuss it with your neighbour. Your neighbour may not be aware that there is an issue.

You are entitled to prune any overhanging branches or the roots of a tree that cross your property from your neighbour's property under the "common law right to abatement."

Pruning should only be done to the minimum extent necessary (up to your property boundary) and in accordance with the Australian Standard for Pruning of Amenity Trees. Pruning must not result in a detrimental impact to the future health or stability of the tree, or compromise the form of the tree.

Any roots, fruit, branches etc. that you remove from your neighbour's tree remain their legal property and the disposal of them should be negotiated with them.

Please Note: You may not enter a neighbouring property to undertake any tree works without the property owner's consent. It is advisable to obtain all consents in writing.


If you are concerned about a tree on a neighbours property, the best way to sort the issue out is to discuss it directly with them. Your neighbour may not be aware that there is an issue.

When talking to your neighbour, clearly and calmly outline your concerns about the tree and discuss options for fixing the problem. It is also recommended that you document all correspondence with your neighbour, should issues arise in the future.

If you are having difficulty contacting your neighbour, Council can provide you with their contact details following receipt of a written application.

Relevant Links

Access to adjoining property information

If talking directly to your neighbours does not result in a solution for both parties, your next option would be to take the issue to the Community Justice Centre. This service provides a free mediation session to assist both parties in coming to an agreement. It is not mandatory for your neighbour to attend the Community Justice Centre, but most people are willing to discuss the issue with a neutral facilitator to resolve problems and prevent them from escalating further.

The Community Justice Centre can be contacted on 1800 990 777.

If a mediation session with the Community Justice Centre does not resolve your issues with your neighbour; the Tree (disputes between neighbours) Act 2006 allows a homer owner or resident to apply to the Land and Environment Court for an order to remedy, restrain or prevent damage to property, or injury to a person as a consequence of a tree on a neighbouring property.

Before the Court will make an order, it has to be satisfied that the applicant has made a reasonable attempt to reach an agreement with the owner outside of Court.

The Court will consider the following:

  • Location of the tree
  • Historic and/or cultural significance of the tree
  • The trees place in the environment
  • The trees intrinsic value
  • Its relationship to soil stability and water table

The Land and Environment Court has the power to authorise the applicant to take action, authorise someone to enter the land, pay compensation or require the replacement of a tree.


Any person that undertakes or authorises tree clearance that contravenes the provisions of the Tree Preservation Order shall be guilty of an offence against the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 and will be liable to prosecution.

A person found guilty of an offence against the Act shall be liable to a penalty. In addition to a penalty, a person found guilty of an offence may be required to plant new trees and vegetation, and maintain them to a mature growth.

If your Request for Permission to Remove a Dead, Dying or Dangerous Tree (TR10) application is refused you can apply for a Tree Removal Permit or submit a Development Application for removal of the tree. Alternatively, if the tree continues to deteriorate you can resubmit a Permission to Remove a Dead, Dying or Dangerous Tree (TR10) application.

If your Development Application is refused you may appeal the decision in the Land and Environment Court.

No you do not need to be home when the inspection is taking place. However, clearly marking the tree that requires inspection with some paint or a ribbon will assist Council with it's assessment of the tree.