Tree maintenance in a body corporate

Tree maintenance in a body corporate

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Tree maintenance responsibilities in a body corporate

Trees can add significant value to a property, particularly if they are well-maintained and add to the aesthetic of the property. They can provide shade, privacy, and a sense of tranquillity, all of which are highly sought after by potential buyers. On the other hand, poorly maintained or overgrown trees can detract from the value of a property and even be a safety hazard. It is essential to ensure that trees in a body corporate are well-maintained to enhance the overall value of the property and also important to understand the obligations regarding maintenance of trees depending on their location within a scheme.  

Responsibility of tree maintenance on common property

Trees located on the common property are the responsibility of the body corporate to maintain and any issuing relating to their maintenance should be addressed with the body corporate. This includes trimming, pruning, and removing dead or dangerous branches or stumps to ensure the safety of residents and visitors to the scheme and also maintain a good condition of the property.
In some cases, some trees located on common property may be designated as protected, which means that they cannot be removed without approval from the relevant authorities. This is typically the case with larger, older trees that either hold historical importance or are required for environmental or sustainability purposes.

In some cases where trees are not protected, it is still good practice to check with your local council authority or an arborist to determine whether removal of the tree is in fact lawful.

Responsibility of tree maintenance within the boundary of a lot or exclusive use area

If a tree is located within the boundary of a lot or within a lot’s allocated exclusive use area, the owner of the lot is responsible for tree maintenance regardless of planted the tree (i.e. a developer or a previous owner).

If the tree is located within the exclusive use area, the owner should always refer to their community by-laws in the first instance to determine your specific maintenance obligations.

Tree maintenance in this context can include pruning, lopping and in some cases removal. Where a tree may be impacting the structure of a lot, such as the façade of the building, gutters, downpipes, pathways, fencing or neighbouring properties, it is important for all owners to regularly inspect and undertake the necessary maintenance to avoid damage and any potential issues of liability, which includes body corporate insurance.

Professional tree maintenance

In some cases, tree maintenance can be risky business. Sometimes due to the size or location of a tree, it may require a skilled tradesperson to attend to carry out the tree maintenance.

Caretakers and owners should avoid attempting to carry out tree maintenance where their safety is at risk due to height or by simply not having the appropriate equipment available.

If your safety is at risk, it always best to check with a tree maintenance expert before you undertake any potential risky works. 

Consult your body corporate manager

If you are unsure about the responsibility for maintaining a tree in your scheme you can contact your body corporate manager for advice.

The body corporate manager can provide you with the necessary guidance on your obligations to maintain trees within your scheme. Your body corporate manager can also provide details about any specific regulations or by-laws that govern tree maintenance within your scheme.

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