Overgrown land, unsightly and hazardous vegetation

Council often receives customer requests in relation to overgrown properties during periods of increased rainfall and sunshine which encourages rapid growth of vegetation.

Complaints and resolutions

Council’s local laws assist in managing vegetation that is overgrown, unsightly or hazardous.

Should you experience issues with overgrown or unsightly properties there are various avenues of action that can be considered:

  • Dispute resolution: in most cases the best way to resolve an overgrown or unsightly property issue is through polite and productive communication between yourself and the property owner. If you haven’t already spoken with the resident about the overgrown or unsightly property, we strongly recommend you try this approach first. Council has also developed a letterbox-drop template which you may wish to use - simply print out the form, fill in your details (if you wish) and place it in your neighbour’s letterbox.
  • Dispute Resolution Centres: if the dispute is not resolved, you can contact the appropriate Queensland Government Dispute Resolution Centre regarding their non-legal mediation service - they may be able to assist without the need for expensive legal proceedings. For more information visit the Queensland Government Dispute Resolution Centre or phone their tollfree number on 1800 017 288.
  • Lodge a complaint with Council: should you wish to lodge a complaint regarding overgrown or unsightly properties you can do so using this online form, or you can contact Council on 3403 8888.

Responsibilities

Overgrown land and unsightly vegetation 

Vegetation that is overgrown, unsightly and considered not in accordance with the local amenity needs to be removed or cleaned up. The unsightly objects, materials or vegetation provisions of the Health, Safety and Amenity Local Law 2009 (HSALL) are about keeping Brisbane clean, green, safe and attractive.

This includes land that has:

  • overgrown vegetation
  • rubbish
  • stockpiles of materials
  • broken down vehicles and car bodies
  • scrap machinery and machinery parts
  • discarded bottles, containers or packaging
  • dilapidated building hoardings
  • shopping trolleys (on private property only).

Investigating an overgrown land and unsightly vegetation complaint

To determine whether a breach of the local law has occurred, Council takes into account things such as:

  • location of the premises (e.g. City Plan designation)
  • existing amenity of the area
  • approved use of the site/premises
  • nature and quantity of overgrown vegetation
  • additional information such as previous non-compliance and number of complaints will be considered
  • whether there is protected vegetation on a property.

Hazardous vegetation

Hazardous vegetation is any vegetation that Council considers constitutes a fire, health or public safety hazard. Under the Natural Assets Local Law 2003, Council may notify property owners to remove, prune or otherwise deal with hazardous vegetation. Hazardous vegetation includes vegetation which may:

  • potentially obstruct vision and the usage of the road by motorists
  • potentially cause injury or obstruction to persons using a footpath or other public area
  • have the ability to harbour vermin (snakes are native animals and are not considered vermin)
  • trigger bronchial or skin allergies
  • increase the risk of fire.

Investigating a hazardous vegetation complaint

To determine whether a breach of the local law has occurred, Council takes into account things such as:

  • the nature and quantity of potentially hazardous vegetation
  • whether vegetation is impeding pedestrian access or motorist’s sightlines
  • whether there is adequate clearance above footways (generally 2.5 metres)
  • whether there is adequate clearance above roadways (generally 5 metres)
  • whether there is protected vegetation on a property.

Making a complaint about overgrown land and unsightly or hazardous vegetation

Complaints about overgrown land and unsightly or hazardous vegetation can be reported online using the report-it online form or by calling Council on 3403 8888.  Supplying photographs will assist Council in providing a prompt response to your complaint. When submitting photographs, ensure that:

  • photographs depict a unique feature of the land (including the street number of the property) which positively identifies the unsightly or hazardous vegetation on a particular block, and
  • photographs show the overall nature of the unsightly or hazardous vegetation. 

Lodging a complaint

Should you wish to lodge a complaint regarding overgrown or unsightly properties you can do so using this online form or you can contact Council on 3403 8888.

Last updated: 10 September 2020