Trees on Private Property
In most cases, problems with trees on private property are a civil matter which need to be resolved between neighbours.
Branches and roots from neighbouring trees
If a branch or root of a neighbour’s tree encroaches on your property, you are allowed to cut and remove the branch or root up to the boundary of your land. You must not cut the branch or root on your neighbour’s side of the boundary without their permission.
It is best to discuss any pruning with your neighbour, especially if you are cutting any structural roots, as this may weaken the tree. If in doubt, please engage the services of a reputable consulting arborist.
Any root, branch, flower or fruit on a branch that is removed remains the property of the tree’s owner.
If you think a neighbour's tree is a danger to people or property you should:
- Speak with your neighbour about your concerns and attempt to reach an amicable solution
- Write to the owner requesting works to be undertaken on their tree and keep a copy of the letter
- Obtain an arboricultural report from a qualified consultant and give it to the owner with a request to carry out required works.
Involvement by the Town is only possible if these steps have been exhausted and no resolution has been reached.
Damage caused by a neighbouring tree
If a tree has caused damage to your property, you can notify your neighbour in writing and request:
- reimbursement for the costs of repairs and other expenses
- the offending part of the tree is removed
If you cannot reach an agreement, it may be necessary to issue legal proceedings. The court may order the tree’s owner to have the encroaching branches or roots removed. If the property owner does not take action, you may report the matter to the Town.
Under the Local Government Act 1995, Schedule 3.1, the Town can respond to safety concerns over trees on private properties. The Town may issue a notice to your neighbour to undertake appropriate works, however you must be able to provide proof that you have first taken the steps outlined above to resolve the matter.
You may also like to contact Legal Aid WA and the Citizens Advice Bureau for advice on resolving the dispute.