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  1. #1

    Default Neighbours Trees


    Does anyone know what the law is regarding neighbours trees which are growing over the fence line and doing actual or potential damage to your property e.g. guttering?

    So far the Neighbour is happy for me to trim my side (at my expense) and the Council doesn't want to know.

    Many thanks


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2005


    I think that you are at liberty to cut back to your fence line, but it may vary from council to council.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Mt Maunganui, NEW ZEALAND


    And if you don't own shears, will Round up suffice? :twisted:

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2004


    Assuming they're not massive trees that need a crane to cut then down, you might want to be wary of putting too much back on the neighbours. Afterall the trees have probably been there longer than them, and it always pays to have a good relationship with your neighbours. Many a neighbour has helped out the property owner when some dodgy has been spotted.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2005


    Here's the word from Waitakere CC- nice of them to answer on a Saturday!

    Thank you for your email.

    If neighbour's trees overhang a boundary, appear dangerous, or block sunlight, or if their roots cause problems with drains, the matter is to be sorted out between the neighbours. Branches or roots crossing a boundary can generally be removed, provided that the work does not kill the tree or require a resource consent. The law indicates that these branches should be returned to the owner of the tree. However, if a decision is reached between the neighbours to either remove or prune a tree, then a resource consent may be required from Council.

    According to the Property Law Amendment Act 1975 property owners are responsible for any nuisance or damage their trees cause to neighbours, even if the trees were planted before they bought the property. Council does not get involved in neighbourhood disputes about trees. If the matter cannot be resolved amicably, legal advice may be required. A Citizens Advice Bureau can give further advice on this 0800 367 222.

    For emergency situations requiring the urgent removal of a private tree (ie where it is about to fall on a house, has just fallen or split or may cause
    injury) it may be possible to have it removed by a professional arborist without prior consent if the customer has written advice from a professional arborist that the tree requires urgent removal and has documented evidence to back up this written advice (such as photographs of the situation showing the urgency and associated state of the tree). Onus of proof will lie with the arborist or tree owner to substantiate the tree was immediately hazardous and that there was no time to apply for a consent for removal. Arborists can be found in the Yellow Pages under 'Tree Services' and many offer after hours service.

    If the neighbour is not available to sort the situation out themselves, you should take the advice of a professional arborist (which can be found in the Yellow Pages under 'Tree Services') who will be able to advise whether the tree poses a threat.

    I hope this information of help for you.

    Please don't hesitate to contact us again at www.waitakere.govt.nz, or phone our Call Centre on 09 839 0400 (24 hours, 7 days a week), if we can be of any further assistance.

    Kind regards
    Sheryll Giles
    Customer Services Representative

  6. #6


    you can cut the tree back to the boundary however if the consequences of you doing that extend over the boundary and affect someone else's property you are liable. i have 100yr old trees on my property and someone has just brought a section next door and now complains that the trees are shading his property....... if the situation exsisted before you came along i don't really think you can expect your neighbour alter his/her property to suit you.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2004


    Before you go cutting down 100 year old trees
    check that they are not protected.
    Native trees are prtected if they are more than 6m high.
    Exotic trees more than 8m high.
    They are a few trees which are on the noxious weeds list
    Silver Dollar Gum, Acmena (Monkey Apple) Silky Oak,
    Brazilian Pepper, Most types of Fruit trees, Pine trees,
    Those horrible Aussie Wattles (at least they should be)

    Definitely NOT Kauri, Pohutukawa, Puriri, Totara.


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Thames, NZ


    Tress over a certain height are protected in urban areas by town planning policy. If the tree in question exceeds the minimum height then you will need council consent to remove them (and possibly even to prune them). Failure to do so could result in prosecution. So best talk to your council.

    If your trees are over a 100years old I would say that they come under heritage trees and may be protected.

    Just be aware that in an urban area even trees that may seem like a plant pest ie Wattle, Eucalyptus etc..you may still need consent.



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