Question: One townhouse in our complex has a tree growing within their lot that is now covering a section of the roof and contributing to blocked gutters. Can you please confirm whether or not it is the unit owner or the Strata’s responsibility to prune the offending tree?
Answer: Once you determine where the tree sit, in lot property or common property, that will then determine the responsible party to prune that tree.
That’s a tricky one because you have to go back to the strata plan. The strata plan will generally define where the common property starts and finishes (the depth). Generally, they might say that the lot owner space is from the upper surface of the hard flooring or the tiled surface in a courtyard, (I’m assuming there’s a courtyard where the street is located), and then it might limit the height to two metres high or three metres high. If the tree exceeds the height limit that’s noted on the strata plan, it now becomes common property.
Let’s say the limited height is two metres and the tree is three metres high. The Owners Corporation will prune it back to two metres, then anything below two metres will be the owners responsibility because it’s going back into their lot space.
You’d need to go back to the strata plan and have a look at what the definition of lot property versus common properties is for the courtyard and the cubic air space within that courtyard to determine where the tree sits. Once you determine where the tree sit, in lot property or common property, that will then determine the responsible party to prune that tree.
This is assuming the tree is in a courtyard that is attached to an individual lot as opposed to a communal courtyard. If the tree is in a common courtyard, then the Owners Corporation is responsible to prune the tree back.
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