Who is Responsible for Overhanging Tree Branches in Queensland?

Understanding who bears responsibility for overhanging tree branches, especially during Queensland’s storm and cyclone season, is crucial. O’Brien’s Tree Care highlights the importance of being aware of legal obligations and available resolutions in such situations. By understanding your responsibility when it comes to overhanging branches, you can reduce liability and prevent neighbourly disputes from getting out of hand.

Tree-keeper’s Responsibilities

Under the Neighbourhood Disputes (Dividing Fences and Trees) Act 2011, the primary responsibility for the care and maintenance of trees, including managing overhanging branches, falls to the ‘tree-keeper’. While this sounds like an exciting character from a Lord of the Rings book, it’s usually the person who owns the land where the tree is growing. This makes sense, but what happens when branches from the tree start to become an annoyance for those around your property.

Handling Overhanging Branches

When branches extend more than 50cm over a boundary and are less than 2.5m above the ground, the affected neighbour has the right to issue a notice for their removal. The tree-keeper has 30 days to address this. If they don’t, the neighbour can remove the branches and may recover up to $300 for the costs involved. This process and its requirements are detailed on the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal’s website.

Overhanging Branches

Exceptions and Legal Considerations

Not all situations are straightforward. Some trees are exempt from these regulations, such as those planted for commercial purposes or under a court order. Additionally, if a tree is protected under local laws or a vegetation protection order, different rules will apply. It’s essential to check with local council authorities for specific regulations. If you are unsure, you can always consult with an arborist in order to get professional advice.

Resolving Disputes

Disputes over tree branches should ideally be resolved informally through discussion or mediation. However, if this fails, parties can turn to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) for a resolution. The costs and detailed procedures of this process, including mediation services, can be found on QCAT’s official webpage.

Overhanging Branches

Role of Arborists in Disputes

In complex cases, QCAT may appoint a qualified arborist to assess the tree and suggest solutions. The cost of this assessment, up to $1000, may be shared between the parties involved. This is a critical step in ensuring fair and expert-driven resolutions to disputes. For more information on the role of tree assessors, refer to QCAT’s Practice Direction 7 of 2013.

Consulting with O’Brien’s Tree Care Regarding Overhanging Branches

When in doubt about how to handle overhanging branches, seeking professional advice is always a wise decision. O’Brien’s Tree Care is well-versed in local regulations and experienced in assessing tree-related concerns. Our expertise can guide you in understanding your rights and responsibilities, as well as in determining the best course of action. Whether it’s identifying which branches may pose a risk, understanding the legal framework, or needing professional tree trimming services, O’Brien’s Tree Care can provide valuable insights and solutions.

Avoid the Dramas With Trusted Tree Care Professionals

Navigating the legalities of overhanging tree branches requires understanding one’s responsibilities and the available options for dispute resolution. O’Brien’s Tree Care encourages property owners and residents to stay informed about these regulations, especially during storm seasons when such issues become more prevalent. For expert advice and assistance with tree care and maintenance, O’Brien’s Tree Care remains a reliable resource.

Our understanding of the local environment and regulations makes us an ideal consultant in navigating these often complex situations. To talk with a qualified arborist about avoiding neighbourly disputes regarding overhanging branches, contact O’Brien’s Tree Care on 0431 740 088 or get in touch with us online.