Resource consent liability where a tree is protected

Question from JKR updated on 19th February 2007:

I own a rental property where a tenant cut down a protected tree without a resource consent. It is possible that I am liable and may get a fine for this act. I am negotiating with the tenant to pay a proportion of this. Is this fine tax deductable on my proportion of payment?

Our expert responded:

This can be a pretty easy area to get it wrong, so I went to the experts and spoke to Aaran at Auckland City Council. You will need to confirm this with your own council. According to Aaran, the Auckland City Council will go after the person who cut down the tree itself, in this case, your tenant, and not you. Had the tenant sought your permission to cut down the protected tree, then Auckland City Council may take action against you. However it is the tree cutter (your tenant) who is responsible. If permission was not sought, and an arborist cut the tree down on the approval of the tenant, then the arborist could lose their licence. Please note that for this sort of work, a resource consent is needed and they cost nothing. The resource consent requires information such as the type of tree, how big, how old, address, timing of cutting, who will cut the tree down and so forth. It always pays to check with your council - the liability issues down the track could be severe.

Kenina Court is a director of Acorn Solutions Limited, an accounting firm dedicated to working with clients to help them create wealth. She is an avid property investor, entrepreneur and seminar presenter on asset protection and wealth strategies.


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