Property problems: Council holds double role in tree cutting

Sunday 10 October 2004

Q. We have three or four huge trees growing outside our commercial property and we are not sure whether we need the council's permission to cut or trim them. These trees grow on council land immediately adjacent to our property. If we get permission to prune the trees who is responsible for bearing the costs of trimming or cutting?

A. In your situation the council is pot

By The Landlord

entially involved in two separate capacities: first, as the landowner on whose property the trees are growing and second, as the regulator responsible for enforcing the provisions of the district plan.

While under the common law you are not required to obtain a neighbouring landowner's permission to cut or trim overhanging vegetation back to the boundary line, for the sake of good neighbourly relations I would suggest that you first approach your neighbour, the council, with your concerns.


Many councils employ arboriculturists and they are therefore in a position to assess the problem and suggest an appropriate remedy. If the council agrees that the trees should be trimmed back then it is likely to do so. If the council does not agree that the trees should be trimmed, then you can always consider seeking an order to remedy the problem from the district court under the Property Law Act 1952.

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