Lost views and sunlight

TreesIf your views or sunlight have been substantially affected by vegetation on neighbouring land it is possible to require the offending plants to be trimmed or removed to preserve the view which existed when you took possession of the property.

This is due to amendments to the Neighbourhood Disputes (Dividing Fences and Trees) Act which came into force in November 2011.  The act has retrospective effect to the extent that it will apply to properties purchased before 2011 which was confirmed in the case of Mahoney v Corrin 2013.

The rights do not pass from owner to owner however and each owner will only be allowed to require the views or sunlight to be restored back to what they were when they first bought the property. It would therefore be prudent for prospective buyers to consider whether neighbouring trees may have impeded sunlight or views during the time in which seller owned the property and require them to insist on their rights being enforced before settlement.

It will be necessary for the applicant to be able to provide evidence of what the views were at the time they purchased the property; which would typically include the production of photos taken around the time of acquiring the property.

It’s worthwhile noting this act can also override vegetation protection and other state and local laws.