Fences and trees – more queries

Kapi-Mana News - - OPINION/NEWS -

R asks what act of Par­lia­ment or lo­cal by­law cov­ers tak­ing a neigh­bour to the Dis­putes Tri­bunal about over­hang­ing branches.

The laws around trees and re­moval of over­hang­ing branches or roots are not cov­ered by leg­is­la­tion.

They have been de­vel­oped by the courts over many dif­fer­ent cases.

The Dis­putes Tri­bunal Act 1988 out­lines what cases can be taken there. The limit is $15,000, which can in­crease to $20,000 by agree­ment.

There are by­laws and leg­is­la­tion re­gard­ing pro­tected and na­tive trees, though, so you need to be ex­tra care­ful with those. W asks if the lo­cal coun­cil is re­quired to pay half the costs of a fence when the prop­erty joins a walk­way be­tween two roads. Usu­ally coun­cils are not re­quired to con­trib­ute to­wards the costs of a bound­ary fence be­tween coun­cil land and a neigh­bour­ing prop­erty. This is gen­er­ally recorded in a fenc­ing agree­ment or fenc­ing covenant, which will be reg­is­tered against the ti­tle for the prop­erty. This car­ries for­ward to all own­ers of the prop­erty. Check the ti­tle to con­firm that this is reg­is­tered on the ti­tle. P asks for ad­vice about re­pair­ing a fence blown over in a storm. Who is re­spon­si­ble for the costs and how is this ar­ranged? Neigh­bours should share equally in the costs of re­pairs. Dis­cuss the is­sue with your neigh­bour and try to reach agree­ment. If no agree­ment is reached, then get a quote for the re­pairs and do a fenc­ing no­tice with the cost of the fence, spec­i­fy­ing work to be done, and so on. If the neigh­bour still will not agree, you can file a claim in the Dis­putes Tri­bunal or court (de­pend­ing on the cost of re­pairs). R asked about her rights in re­la­tion to leaves and seeds blow­ing in from her neigh­bour’s trees and roots com­ing across the bound­ary. Roots may be cut off at the bound­ary line and re­turned to the neigh­bour’s prop­erty. Be care­ful not to dam­age any prop­erty when plac­ing the roots over the fence on to the neigh­bour­ing sec­tion. Leaves and seedlings may be re­turned to the neigh­bour’s prop­erty, but it is dif­fi­cult to prove that the leaves are from the neigh­bours and not from some­where else. Re­turn­ing piles of leaves may cre­ate more prob­lems than it is worth. T asks about a neigh­bour grow­ing plants ( ivy) on the fence be­tween them and whether she can stop this. Neigh­bours can grow plants on their side of any fence that is on the bound­ary. If the plants come through to your side, you can cut them off on your side. If you do not want ivy grow­ing at all (be­cause of the look, the dam­age caused to the fence or the wasps at­tracted), speak to your neigh­bour to try to reach agree­ment. If no agree­ment can be reached, you can ap­ply to the Dis­putes Tri­bunal to stop dam­age be­ing done to the fence by the ivy or the ivy com­ing through on to your side of the fence. You can re­move any plants planted or grow­ing on your land if the fence is on your prop­erty and not the bound­ary.

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