Question: Two large common property trees are blocking views and sunlight in our 5 lot scheme. The majority want them trimmed, but two owners disagree and say we cannot trim the trees. How do we proceed?
In a block of 5 units, we have two trees in our common garden. The trees have grown considerably and now block views, light and sunlight.
The majority in the block would like to trim, not remove, the tree. The vote was 3 for and 2 against. The two top units object, as the tree height doesn’t affect them and they are insisting that we cannot carry out works. How do we proceed?
Answer: The common property tree should be pruned by the Owners Corporation as part of its repair and maintenance function.
The common property tree should be pruned by the Owners Corporation as part of its repair and maintenance function. As the Owners Corporation has a positive duty to repair and maintain the common property, it can’t vote against doing so unless a special resolution has been passed to determine that the item of common property is inappropriate to maintain, renew, replace or repair and that that decision will not affect the safety of any building, structure or common property in the strata scheme or detract from the appearance of any property in the strata scheme.
Before any pruning takes place, you should contact your local council, as in NSW, most councils require a permit unless an exemption applies. You need to make these enquiries from Council and also seek the Owners Corporation’s consent for pruning of the tree (the Owners Corporation would likely need Council consent for pruning too). You may not prune the tree without authorisation from the Owners Corporation.
You may have rights against the Owners Corporation to seek Orders that the Owners Corporation maintain the tree through NCAT. You will need to seek legal advice on the issue of obstruction to sunlight, views etc as this may fall under the law of nuisance which may require Supreme Court relief.
For the full question and our detailed response, visit the original publication at Look Up Strata.
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