LawAnswers.com.au - Australia's #1 Legal Community

LawAnswers.com.au is a community of 10,000+ Australians, just like you, helping each other.
Ask a question, respond to a question and better understand the law today!
Join us, it only takes a minute:

VIC Neighbour Sprayed Pesticide On Our Trees - What To Do?

Discussion in 'Property Law Forum' started by Jen_01, 30 December 2014.

  1. Jen_01

    Jen_01 Active Member

    Joined:
    30 December 2014
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    A couple of months ago saw our back neighbour spraying pesticide with a long thin tube directly on 2 of our trees, a 23 year old Pittosporum and a 23 year old Bottlebrush. He was spraying the trees directly at about 3 metres high above the ground. I could see his arms reaching up over the boundary fence with the long thin tubes and spraying one and then the other. These 2 trees have now died. About 9 nine years ago we had seen the same neighbour spraying our trees and my husband had spoken to him over the fence and told him to stop spraying our trees.

    So I sent him a letter last week saying we saw him spraying our trees again on so and so date and that now 2 of our trees have died and that his behaviour is not appropriate and very concerning to us. I wrote that instead of our beautiful trees we can now see his double storey house, his big water tank and shed instead. (We had planted those trees for screening when we knew his Double Storey house was being built so close to us) Wrote we are very upset that our Bottlebrush and Pittosporum have died, and that the spraying must stop immediately. Also wrote that my husband had already told him over the fence some years ago to stop spraying when we had just seen him spraying.

    We received a note in the letterbox from him saying that he was not spraying our trees but he was spraying a creeper that was "choking" our trees. He also wrote that he does not remember the conversation over the fence when my husband had told him not to spray our trees as soon as we had just saw him spraying our trees.

    We are extremely upset and concerned that we lost 2 of our trees, and we are now concerned about the other 3 trees we have next to the 2 that have died. We originally had planted 3 Bottlebrushes and 2 Pittosporums to screen a bit his huge house so close to us. I am sure he has been spraying our trees behind our backs at other times, as we had noticed our 2 trees that died had been deteriorating for a while.

    What can we do to stop him spraying and killing all our trees? Can we ask him to pay for the damage he did, that is, to remove the 2 that died and plant new ones? Thank you.
     
  2. Victoria S

    Victoria S Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    9 April 2014
    Messages:
    444
    Likes Received:
    44
    Hi @Jen_01
    Have a read of the Legal Aid Victoria "Disputes with neighbours" page.

    First, try to agree on a resolution with your neighbour, perhaps even put it in writing. You might wish to come to clarify that he won't spray things that are on your side of the fence as this would kill your trees, but he can cut back/prune overhanging branches (which is within his legal rights). You might need to consult someone who's a tree expert if your neighbour refuses to accept that his actions caused the death of your trees and is unwilling to contribute to a new tree.

    If you and your neighbour can’t agree, then The Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria can help settle disputes between neighbours. Then, if you still can't resolve the issue, the Magistrates' Court can hear the case, but this is expensive and can take a long time.

    Hope that helps.
     
  3. Sophea

    Sophea Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    16 April 2014
    Messages:
    2,300
    Likes Received:
    335
    Hi Jen-01, this could probably be considered trespass and if your neighbour did in fact intentionally kill the trees he would be liable for damages caused to you as a result.

    Once you have incurred the costs of removing the trees and planting new ones, I would issue a letter of demand for payment of the costs incurred. If he is not forthcoming with payment, I would contact the Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria (DSCV) which is part of the Victorian Department of Justice and provides free dispute resolution and mediation services. If that is unsuccessful, you could then consider filing a claim in the magistrates court, if the amount you are claiming is worth the expense, time and stress of court proceedings.
     
  4. Jen_01

    Jen_01 Active Member

    Joined:
    30 December 2014
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi Sophea,
    Thank you very much for your very helpful reply.
    The neighbour did write on a note that he was spraying a creeper on our trees in our back yard. So is trespass considered illegal or an offence please?
    Thank you.
     
  5. Jen_01

    Jen_01 Active Member

    Joined:
    30 December 2014
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi Victoria,

    Thank you for your information.
     
  6. Sophea

    Sophea Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    16 April 2014
    Messages:
    2,300
    Likes Received:
    335
    Hi Jen, yes in your situation you may have causes of action in either trespass to land, or private nuisance. These are civil causes of action, not criminal offences so they would require you to go to court and sue your neighbour for the loss or damage you have suffered.

    Trespass occurs where someone directly, intentionally or negligently and without your permission causes some physical interference with your property. It does not require proof of damage or harm however it appears you have or will suffer some harm in the form of costs to remove and replace the dead trees. An example of trespass is where someone deliberately sprays pesticides on your property.

    On the other hand, private nuisance is committed where someone substantially and unreasonably interferes your right to use and enjoy your property. An interference can amount to a private nuisance even if it is not direct or intentional and is often used to address environmental complaints.
     
    Jen_01 likes this.
  7. Jen_01

    Jen_01 Active Member

    Joined:
    30 December 2014
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi Sophea,

    Thanks again.
     
  8. Jen_01

    Jen_01 Active Member

    Joined:
    30 December 2014
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    Caught our neighbour spraying poison on our trees and the neighbour has admitted in writing that he was spraying poison on a creeper on our trees in our backyard. As a result 2 of our beautiful 23 year old trees have died.

    I obtained quotes for removal of the 2 dead trees and for planting and supplying 2 new trees of about 4 metres height which amounted to just over $5,200. The 2 trees that the neighbour has poisoned and killed were actually over 8 metres tall and when we got quotes for supplying and planting 8 metre high trees the quote amounted to over $12,000.

    As I am on Disability pension, I cannot afford to pay all that money myself to replace my trees. So, I intend to send the cheaper quote of $5,200 to my neighbour (although I would prefer the 8 metre high trees ofcourse), and ask him to compensate me the money so that I will be able to pay for the removal of the dead trees and planting the new ones.

    If he refuses to pay me, what other options do I have to get compensation from him please?
     

Share This Page

Loading...