Trees on Private Property
Many areas in the City of South Perth are experiencing a significant loss of trees on private properties, reducing the overall tree canopy cover. It is critical that these trees are preserved wherever possible.
Preserve an existing tree - Significant Tree Register
To preserve a tree on private property, the property owner may wish to register the tree on the City’s Significant Tree Register.
A tree or group of trees may hold significant value for their visual, aesthetic, botanic, scientific, ecological, historical, commemorative, cultural or social aspects.
A tree or trees nominated for listing must meet one or more of these criteria as well as an analysis of health to be considered for listing.
If a tree is nominated by someone other than the owner of the property on which it is situated, written consent from the owner must be obtained.
Once registered, the Tree of Special Significance will be listed on the title of the private property it is planted on. Trees of Special Significance can not be removed, pruned or maintained in any way without written permission from the City.
All the Significant Trees in the City are identified with a purple dot on Intramaps.
Branches and roots from neighbouring trees
While trees can grow beyond property boundaries, it is important to respect your neighbour's safety and public amenity when managing trees on private property.
Branches and roots from trees can, and often do, extend well past property boundaries. Despite this, trees should ideally be left to grow naturally without unnecessary pruning.
If a branch or root of a neighbour’s tree encroaches on your property and causes an issue, you are allowed to cut and remove the branch or root up to the boundary of your land. You must not cut the branch or root on your neighbour’s side of the boundary without their agreement.
It is best to discuss any pruning with your neighbour, especially if you are cutting any structural roots, as this may weaken the tree. If in doubt, please engage the services of a reputable consulting arborist.
Any root, branch, flower or fruit on a branch that is removed remains the property of the tree’s owner.
If you think your neighbour’s tree is a danger to people or property you should:
- Speak with your neighbour about your concerns and attempt to reach an amicable solution
- Write to the owner requesting works to be undertaken on their tree and keep a copy of the letter
- Obtain an arboricultural report from a qualified consultant and give it to the owner with a request to carry out required works.
Damage caused by a neighbouring tree
If a tree has caused damage to your property, you can notify your neighbour in writing and request:
- Reimbursement for the costs of repairs and other expenses
- That the offending part of the tree is removed.
If you cannot reach an agreement, it may be necessary to issue legal proceedings. The court may order the tree’s owner to have the encroaching branches or roots removed. If the property owner does not take action, you may report the issue to the City.
Under the Local Government Act 1995, Schedule 3.1, the City can respond to safety concerns over trees on private properties. The City may issue a notice to your neighbour to undertake appropriate works, however you must be able to provide proof that you have first taken the steps outlined under Tree safety to resolve the matter. You may also wish to contact Legal Aid WA and the Citizens Advice Bureau to seek advice on resolving the dispute.