Neighbourhood tree disputes - have your say
The Victorian Law Reform Commission is asking for the community’s views on how to make the law about tree disputes fairer and clearer.
The Commission’s inquiry concerns disputes about trees between neighbours on private land. Such disputes typically involve encroaching roots and branches, and can also involve leaf litter, fallen fruit, and pollen.
Trees sometimes cause harm to people and damage to property. Consequences can include blocked drains, damage to walls and foundations, and health effects such as allergic reactions. (However, this inquiry does not cover trees on public land, or disputes about trees blocking light and views.)
In a consultation paper published on its website, the Commission says that tree disputes are common between neighbours, and the law and process for resolving them is not clear.
Many people don’t know what to do or where to go when they are involved in a tree dispute. Disputes can escalate quickly and sometimes drag on for years.
Chair of the Commission, Philip Cummins AM said: “Currently, there is no simple way to resolve a tree dispute. You can try talking to your neighbours, you can use the services of the Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria, or you can go to court, which is stressful and expensive.”
In New South Wales and Queensland there are specially-designed laws and courts to deal with neighbourhood tree disputes, an approach that the Commission will consider for Victoria.
The Commission wants to hear from people with experience of tree disputes and opinions about how the law should be changed. Community members can complete an online survey or make a submission to the inquiry by 22 February 2018.
More information: www.lawreform.vic.gov.au