VIC Right of Abatement – Returning pruned tree branches to owner - Trespass

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andyb

Member
24 September 2021
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The tree in the neighbouring property to mine overhangs our fence significantly and deposits leaf and seed liter onto my driveway. It also blocks a considerable amount of light. The owner of the neighbouring property has been asked to, but refuses to prune the tree (he has no obligation to do so unfortunately). I am aware that I have the common law right to self-abatement in Victoria which allows me to prune the branches that are protruding onto my side of the fence (provided I do not prune beyond the boundary line). I am also aware that I am entitled, in fact legally obligated, to return the pruned branches to the owner as they remain the owners property.

The questions I have regarding this are:

1 – Would placing the pruned branches over the fence and into the neighbouring yard be considered trespassing? I have read that placing items over the fence into someone else’s yard can amount to trespass. Is that the case even if no damage is done? This could be in conflict with my obligation to return the pruned branches to the owner. As the neighbouring property is a unit, the front of the neighbours property is all common property. So if I placed the branches in front of thier garage, for instance, I am acutally placing them on the common property for that block. So I have little option but to put the branches back over the fence.

2 – The property containing the tree is a rental property with sitting tenants, and I do not know where the owner lives. So returning the pruned branches would involve placing them in the tenants yard. What would be the implications of this?

Many Thanks.
 

Rod

Lawyer
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27 May 2014
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Would placing the pruned branches over the fence and into the neighbouring yard be considered trespassing?
No, you are simply returning your neighbours property. You do need to be careful you do not damage any other property (eg trees, shrubs etc).

The property containing the tree is a rental property with sitting tenants, and I do not know where the owner lives. So returning the pruned branches would involve placing them in the tenants yard. What would be the implications of this?
As long as you do not damage their property are let a pet run lose you are likely OK.

Would be good to advise the tenants first before doing the pruning.
 

Tim W

Lawyer
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28 April 2014
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I agree with @Rod.
That said, you can be sure that your neighbour will be unhappy about it, and make a fuss.
 

Ian Curtis

Well-Known Member
7 December 2016
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Departing from the legal angle (is that frowned upon within this website?):

If you have a green bin, why not use it? May take you ten minutes but avoids possible bad relations. Renters are likely to let the branches sit forever. I listen to podcasts while I do it and it is a therapeutic break from my keyboard time.

My neighbour reaches a metre into my property to prune. I understand going a little over the boundary line to avoid pruning every month but I have to keep politely reminding him to pull his head in (literally). He has astro turf instead of grass and spends a ridiculous amount of time with his loud leaf blower (broom would be quieter and faster). My red chamelia petals which drop onto his property are a "nightmare" he tells me, as are the rainbow lorikeets in my umbrella tree (which he fortunately cannot reach but has tried to convince me to remove because the rainbows are a "nightmare" too - he is Hillsong so maybe he fears infection by gay colours).
 
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andyb

Member
24 September 2021
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No, you are simply returning your neighbours property. You do need to be careful you do not damage any other property (eg trees, shrubs etc).


As long as you do not damage their property are let a pet run lose you are likely OK.

Would be good to advise the tenants first before doing the pruning.
Hi Rod, thanks very much for your prompt reply, and for the info. Cheers.