My neighbour’s tree has roots extending under our property and has caused damage to the concrete base. Who pays for the cost of repairs? – Donald, NSW

Our units 7 are for over 55. Some of the units are built with a concrete base, 3 the other side 3 are on piers. Our neighbour has a 100 year old tree and the roots have entered our property and lifted the building causing a great deal of damage. The owners of the tree refuse to remove it or accept any fault. Are we responsible for the cost of repairs? If so, the owners who are not affected also required to meet the costs? 

– Donald, NSW

You may approach the Council to help resolve this matter. The tree may be protected by a council imposed Tree Preservation Order (TPO). If this is the case, there will be restrictions on consents and tree pruning (including root pruning).

This may be detailed in the Local Environment Plan for Council.

Generally, where there is no TPO in place, you will have a right to prune branches or roots of the tree away from your property that are a nuisance or may cause damage. If the owner of the tree refuses to cover costs for the pruning and damage, you can seek resolution under the Trees Act and the mechanisms in place through the Land and Environment Court. You may refer to this website for more information.

From a strata perspective if the damage to the building is to common property (property shared by all owners in the units such as common walls and concrete slabs) then the owners corporation can help resolve the matter and make the repairs under S106 of the Strata Scheme Management Act.