Trees and fences
Disputes over fences and trees, with their encroaching leaves, branches and roots, are common causes of bad relationships between neighbours.
The issue could range from a tree that blocks your sun or roots that choke your drains, to a fence that your neighbour wants to build or replace - often at considerable expense.
Your differences can usually be settled with a combination of tact and compromise but if that does not work, legal action may be the only way to sort the issue out. That could cost anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars and may destroy neighbourly goodwill.
The Property Law Act 2007 says property owners are responsible for any nuisance or damage their trees cause to neighbours, even if the trees were planted before they bought the property.
You have a range of options when a neighbour's tree is causing you a nuisance, from a friendly chat through to a court order.
You should first try to approach your neighbour and explain the problem as you might be able to reach an amicable solution between you.
If you do seek a court order to have a tree trimmed or removed on your neighbour's property, in most circumstances you will be required to meet the cost of the work. You will also have to provide evidence of the nuisance and convince the court of the merits of your request.
To know your rights when it comes to neighbours' trees and your property see Consumer's advice.
Fences do not just define a property boundary. In whatever shape, form, style or construction, fences play an important role on your property and in your neighbourhood.
High, solid fences between houses, streets and open spaces can create wasted spaces and dead ends, prevent good surveillance and have poor visual appeal.
Closed boarded, high fences may not only be unattractive but can also increase crime by reducing visibility. Hastings District Council encourages fencing options which are practical, look good and help to reduce crime by increasing people's ability to see across both public and private spaces.
Residents considering building a fence around their property in Hastings can help achieve these goals by considering and implementing good practice fencing design.
The Residential Fencing Guide identifies three boundary options that will enhance your neighbourhood, streetscape and open spaces. For more information see the Fencing Act.