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Communtity Law Manual | Neighbourhood life | Overhanging tree branches and encroaching roots

Trees

Overhanging tree branches and encroaching roots

Can I cut back branches or roots encroaching from my neighbour’s property?

Case: (2004) 5 NZCPR 520 (HC)

Yes. When branches or roots of trees encroach from a neighbour’s property, you can cut back the parts of the tree that are encroaching, as far as the neighbour’s boundary.

Can I pick overhanging fruit or flowers?

No. Fruit or flowers growing on overhanging branches belong to the owner of the tree, and so you should not pick them, even though they’re over your side of the boundary.

What if encroaching branches or roots are damaging my property?

Case: [2012] NZDT 187 (a Disputes Tribunal example)

If the encroaching parts of the tree are causing you damage, you can remove the branches or roots and go to the Disputes Tribunal or the District Court to claim the cost of doing that work and of repairing the damage caused to your property.

You can also apply to the District Court for an order to have the tree removed or trimmed and the damage repaired, and for the neighbour to pay the cost (see the next section).

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