Neighbour's tree is cutting the sun out

Farmer Freddy is losing his sun due to a neighbour's tree.

Farmer Freddy was sitting on his porch with his daughter Pebbles, enjoying a cup of tea. The sun was shining, the birds were singing it was another beautiful summer evening.

"We're not going to have the sun for too much longer, Dad" mentioned Pebbles. "The neighbours trees are going to cut it out."

"Yes, I've noticed that recently" replied Freddy. "And it's only going to get worse as we get into late February and March. I was concerned when old Farmer Tom sub-divided that block that having neighbours closer by might cause some problems. Tom would have been happy for me to cut that tree down, but it may not be so easy with the new neighbours. Do you think there's anything we can do about it?"

"Well Dad, there might be a few legal options, but the first thing you'll want to do is to have a chat with them to see if you can come to some sort of arrangement for trimming or removing it," said Pebbles. "That would be a good chance to go and actually introduce yourself to the new neighbours."

"Well they haven't come to say hello to me yet," grunted Freddy. "But what if they don't want to trim or chop it? What can I do then?"

"If the tree overhangs the boundary, you can trim it back to the boundary without their permission," replied Pebbles. "First though, it would be worth checking with the local council to make sure the tree is protected in the district plan."

"I don't think it does overhang much," said Freddy. "In any case, the problem is that it's too high so it blocks the sun and the view."

"If the tree is on the neighbour's land, and you can't agree a solution between you, you can see if they'll agree to go through a managed dispute resolution process, with a trained mediator, for example," advises Pebbles. "Failing that, you'll need to go to the District Court and seek damages, or an order to trim or remove the tree."

"What would a Court take into account?" asked Freddy.

"Well, Dad, it would consider if it would be fair and reasonable to make the order," answers Pebbles. "That involves factors like whether the tree presents any danger to people or property, whether it reduces the value of your property or unduly interferes with your enjoyment of your land. It would also look at the issue from your neighbour's perspective."

"If the Court did order the tree to be trimmed or cut down, would I have to pay?" asks Freddy.

"Yes Dad, you probably would," replied Pebbles. "After all, you are the one who wants the work done. In the first instance, the order would probably require the neighbour to trim or remove the tree. If they didn't comply with that, in the set time, you could go back to Court seeking an order to allow you to go onto their property to do it yourself."

"That'd go down well at the local Christmas party," smiles Freddy, ruefully. "I think the best course might be to have them over for a cup of tea, get to know them and have a chat about it. Do you think I should bake them a cake?"


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