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27 September 2017

New legislation to resolve disputes between neighbours about trees and other plants

The Government has passed new legislation which provides a pathway to resolve neighbourly disputes about trees and other plants – the Neighbourhood Disputes About Plants Act 2017.

Disputes may arise when a neighbour’s trees or other plants block sunlight or views, or cause physical damage.  Common examples where disputes arise are overhanging tree branches or tree roots that damage a neighbour’s drainage system or driveway.  In many cases, neighbours are able to resolve disputes through negotiation.  However, sometimes these types of disputes are not able to be resolved without the involvement of a Court or Tribunal.

The legislation creates clear responsibilities to take action if a plant on your property has an overhanging branch or is causing damage to another property.  It also provides informal dispute resolution mechanisms and enables you to take action yourself if your neighbour does not do so, in certain circumstances.  An application may be made to the Resource Management and Planning Appeal Tribunal for orders to resolve a dispute.

If you would like guidance on whether or not this legislation may be able to assist you, please contact us.

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