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Neighbourhood disputes

Resolving common neighbourhood disputes

A dispute with your neighbour can be a tricky situation.  It is important to protect your rights, however, it is also important to maintain a civil relationship with your neighbour moving forward.  Many neighbourhood disputes in Cairns and Far North Queensland are commonly over trees or fences, especially coming into the cyclone season. Such disputes in Queensland are generally governed by the Neighbourhood Disputes (Dividing Fences and Trees) Act 2011.

Fencing Disputes

Generally, neighbours are required to contribute equally to erecting a sufficient dividing fence. Firstly, we recommend you discuss the fence and potential cost with your neighbour to try and reach an agreement. If an agreement cannot be reached, you can send a Notice to Contribute to your neighbour which contains information about the type of fence you wish to erect and the costs (at least 1 quote must be provided). If your neighbour is satisfied with the Notice, they can sign it and return it to you which confirms their acceptance of the fencing work and quote.

If you wish to carry out fencing work for a dividing fence to a standard greater than the standard, you will be liable for the fencing work to the extent that it is greater than the standard for a sufficient dividing fence.

If, within 1 month after the Notice is given, you still have not reached an agreement about the proposed fencing work and contributions, either party may, within 2 months after the Notice is given, apply to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) for an Order. 

There is a strict process to be followed when dealing with such a dispute and we can assist you in such matters.  

Tree Disputes

If branches from a neighbour’s tree are overhanging your property (by at least 50 cm and are not more than 2.5 metres above the ground), you may give your neighbour a written Notice asking them to remove the branches. 

Again, there are strict requirements for the Notice to be valid and recommend you seek legal assistance. 

If your neighbour does not cut back the branches in accordance with your Notice, you may apply to QCAT to seek an Order that your neighbour cut back the branches.

Need assistance with a neighbourhood dispute?

Our experienced team at Marino Lawyers can help you to resolve disputes with neighbours via these legal avenues, including written Notices, and applications to QCAT. Get in touch with our team to discuss your situation and how it may be resolved.