Overgrown land

One person’s idea of an overgrown or untidy property can vastly differ to another’s and not all residents keep their property in a similar condition. However, an unsightly or untidy property can be a great concern for neighbours.


What you can do

If a property near you is causing a problem or concern for you, there are several things you can do.

Talk to your neighbours

In the first instance, try to solve the problem by talking amicably and calmly to the property owner or occupier. Often people are not aware there is a problem and are happy to work with you to solve the issue after being notified. Involving Council or other agencies too early in the negotiation process could result in a breakdown in relations, which may have been avoided had you talked with them directly.

Contact a Community Justice Centre

If talking to your neighbours does not solve the issue, you can contact the Community Justice Centre, which specialise in settling differences between neighbours without entering complicated legal processes. Services are free, confidential and voluntary, and have a 95% success rate. For more information contact the Community Justice Centre online or by phoning 1800 990 777.

Contact Council

If you have evidence that proves that the condition of a property is unsafe or unhealthy, such as rodent sightings, droppings and nests, you can contact Council’s Citizen Services on 02 4934 9700 to lodge a request. You will need to provide your name, address, phone number and location of the overgrown property.

Any potential fire risk of overgrown vegetation should be directed to NSW Rural Bushfire Service.

Council does not generally respond to citizen requests in relation to overgrown vegetation in rural or rural residential areas.

What action will Council take?
  1. Council will write to the property owner/occupier regarding vegetation on the property (your personal details are not disclosed) and request that the owner maintain the property to a reasonable standard.
  2. If a second request is received, Council will inspect the property and if satisfied that the property poses a risk to health and safety, then Council may commence formal legal proceedings. You may be called upon to testify in court should the matter proceed to that stage.

Please be aware that in some circumstances the period of time to achieve an outcome can be quite long. This is due to a number of variables, but mostly the willingness of the property owner to respond and manage the vegetation. 

Did you know?

Overgrown vegetation does not include any vegetation that is protected by the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016, Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 or Council’s Tree Preservation Order, and does not include commercial crops. Whilst native mice, native rats and snakes are not considered vermin and are protected under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974.

Should the presence of snakes concern you, it is recommended that you contact the National Parks and Wildlife Service or a wildlife rescue/relocation service for advice.