Property owners are responsible for ensuring that their property is maintained and doesn’t provide a place for vermin to live and breed. This means keeping properties free of long grass and vegetation, as well as waste.
Problems between neighbours about overgrown or untidy premises are generally matters to be resolved between the owners. Council may assist in investigating overgrown or untidy premises issues, providing advice for possible solutions to affected landowners. However, where there is not a threat to public health and safety, Council has limited powers to intervene.
Definition of an overgrown property
- The property is in a built-up urban area.
- The property is likely to be harbourage for, or is home to, vermin, and/or is likely to create unsafe or unhealthy conditions that impact on others. Vermin does not include any native fauna. Evidence of vermin can include rodent sightings, faeces, nests, runs, eggs etc.
- If you are concerned that the condition of the vegetation on a property poses a fire hazard, please contact the Rural Fire Service (RFS) Fire Centre on 02 4474 2855 or the NSW Fire and Rescue Zone Office for action.
You can also report your concerns of the bushfire risk to the property direct to the RFS for assessment.
- An 'untidy' property does not necessarily mean that the property is unsafe or a public health risk.
- This process can take up to four months or more before a final outcome is achieved.
Talk to your neighbours
Often property owners are unaware that their lack of property maintenance is causing a problem, and are usually happy to address the problem after being notified.
Council encourages residents to talk to their neighbours, where possible, about the problem and to seek a mutually suitable solution. Please note that Council is unable to release property contact details.
What Council can do
If you contact Council, the following steps will generally be taken:
- If the property is not deemed to be a fire risk, Council will inspect and assess the property to determine whether the property is overgrown or untidy. Upon confirmation, Council will send an initial letter to the property owner advising them of the concerns raised about their property, and the requirement to remove vegetation within 28 days. If the property is not a public health and safety risk, this letter is considered a courtesy letter only and no further action is likely to be taken by Council.
- If at the end of the 28-day period the property works have not been completed, you should notify Council. A Council Ranger will then inspect and assess the property again, and if the overgrown nature of the property is confirmed, a reinspection fee may be issued to the property owner with a second letter providing a further period of 14 days to carry out the required removal of vegetation.
- If the property owner fails to comply, Council may take formal enforcement action. If Council does not deem the property to be unhealthy or unsafe, you will be advised that Council will be unable to assist you.
We can help you
If you have an enquiry about an overgrown property, please contact our Rangers:
- T: 02 4474 1019
- E: Council's Rangers