Trees on Neighbouring Property

In NSW, local Councils do not have the authority to require a local resident to prune or remove a tree if it is having an impact/causing nuisance on a neighbour’s property.

The legislation guiding neighbourhood trees, is the Tree Disputes between Neighbours Act, 2006.

The solution to managing trees on neighbouring properties, is to work with your neighbour(s) to resolve any action related to shared trees or vegetation together.


Without a permit
  1. You can request a neighbour to cut trees when they are becoming a nuisance to your private property. For example, the trees have overgrown into your property, they are posing a danger to your property, they are infested or posing a danger to power lines.

    It is the responsibility of a tree owner to prune any overhanging branches that are breaching a neighbour’s boundary.
    This should apply whenever the tree owner is notified that the overhanging branches are posing a danger to neighbour’s animals, building or other property.

    In relation to this, a person who owns poisonous vegetation that overhangs into a neighbour’s premises and poisons any animal will also be held liable.
  2. This should only be done after you have established that your neighbour’s property is not:

    • Within a Heritage Conservation Area (HCA)
    • Is Heritage listed
    • Within an Endangered Ecological Community (EEC) area.

A Council permit is required by private property owners when work to be carried out on trees or vegetation is:

  • Located within a Heritage Conservation Area (HCA)
  • The property or garden is Heritage listed
  • Within an Endangered Ecological Community (EEC) area
  • Outside the scope of what is permitted without a permit

To apply for a permit, the property owner must consent to the work by signing the application form. All permit requests are assessed by one of Council’s qualified arborists using current industry methodologies and standards.

  1. In civil terms it is the tree owner’s responsibility to manage and maintain a tree on their property.

    If you are concerned about any liability relating to trees and vegetation that overhangs into a neighbour’s premises, which may or may not be poisonous to people or animals, please seek your own legal advice.

  2. Council recommends you should advise your neighbour of your concerns and request your neighbour to manage a tree/s when they are causing nuisance to your private property.

    An example of a tree causing nuisance is where the tree branches have grown over and are touching the roof of your property or are touching the domestic service line.

  3. A Council permit is not required for the pruning of tree branches and/or up to 10% of the leaf canopy (area), where a branch is causing nuisance to your property, where you have sought or obtained consent from the tree owner.

    If you intend to undertake work without the consent of your neighbour, you can only undertake the work from your property. It is unlawful to enter a neighbour’s property without the owner’s consent.

  4. Council recommends that where you seek to resolve a matter relating to tree roots with your neighbour, you seek advice from either Council or an independent arborist holding a (AQF5) Diploma qualification in Arboriculture.

The above must only be done after you have established that your neighbour’s property is not:

  • Within a Heritage Conservation Area (HCA)
  • Is Heritage listed;
  • Within an Endangered Ecological Community (EEC) area.

Find out if the property is in an HCA, SEC or EEC

Neighbour disputes

Council does not arbitrate in disputes relating to neighbours and trees. The best option is to follow the steps below:

  1. Notify your neighbour verbally and in writing of the damage/nuisance being caused and give your neighbour the opportunity to rectify the problem before taking further action.
  2. Try and reach an agreement with your neighbour about what should be done before proceeding.
  3. If you are having difficulties negotiating a mutually beneficial outcome you should contact the Community Justice Centre (CJC) on 1800 990 777 for assistance. The CJC is a government funded organisation designed to assist people to resolve disputes through mediation. The service is free-of-charge.

If the matter cannot be resolved through the above process, then legal advice may be sought to see if the matter needs to be resolved in the NSW Land & Environment Court. It is essential that you make a reasonable attempt to resolve the situation before approaching the court.

Apply online

To complete an application and pay online, visit the online services portal below:

Apply online

To download an application, click the link below:

Application to Prune or Remove a Tree