What to do about bamboo next door that has been planted on the boundary. Should we inform the Owners Corporation? Rod Smith, The Strata Collective has provided the following response.
Question: My next door neighbour has just planted bamboo on the boundary between our townhouses. When it invades my property, what are my options, please? This neighbour is quite aggressive.
I am in strata and my townhouse has other townhouses on either side.
One neighbour has just planted bamboo next door on our boundary. It is in pots but as you know, bamboo is incredibly aggressive and fast-growing and will surely grow through the drainage hole in the bottom of the pot and then I fear into the ground and into my property. Once it starts it’s very hard – almost impossible – to kill. Some can grow 300mm a DAY!
It’s also very tall – at the moment around 4 meters high and will grow further – and he’s just installed it.
I don’t really feel that I can approach him as he’s an aggressive person and I am sure that now he’s installed it, he won’t remove it.
When it invades my property, what are my options, please? Do I have any legal options that he will need to eradicate it when it grows into my property? I ask as I believe that the only way to handle this is to alert him so he has the option to replace it with something less aggressive before it gets to be a problem.
Answer: I suggest the Strata Committee be made aware of this planting so they can consider their options.
This is a fascinating situation however not that uncommon. Interesting enough, often the boundary of a townhouse lot usually has a limit in height which can be found on the strata plan. IE – let’s just say the limit of the height of the lot is 2m above the ground (the level of the strata), 2 metres beyond and into space is Strata property! IE, the height should be more of a concern to strata than the neighbour.
I also assume that there aren’t landscape standards in place for the property, nor are they part of a CA or BMC.
My guess is that strata may send a letter and ask him to chop it down or remove the bamboo next door. Strata’s generally don’t take action at NCAT unless the bamboo is huge and everywhere and causing serious problems.
The most appropriate option for the owner would be to get a lawyer to advise on best steps.
If they don’t want to get a lawyer involved, it may be best handled by sending a simple letter to strata advising them of the planting, showing a photo of the bamboo next door and advising strata that the owner has concerns regarding the height and potential damage to strata and lot property. I would also request that the Strata Committee be made aware of this planting so they can consider their options. The purpose of this action is simply so that the issue is reported to the Strata Committee so they can consider their options, as well as so no one can say the issue wasn’t reported.
If they feel safe to do so, it might also be worthwhile to write a letter to the neighbour saying that whilst you don’t object to any owner planting what is allowed in their courtyards, that they have concerns that the bamboo could grow out of control and cause future problems. I think it may be best in the first instance to report to strata, follow up in a month if no change – then consider a letter direct in a non-confronting tone.
In any case, the aggressive neighbour is going to become aware that our friendly neighbour has ‘dobbed them in’. I would suggest not to discuss the issue in person nor opening the door without someone present (such as the strata manager or chairperson) as such situations can become volatile. It may become unpleasant with the neighbour however it already sounds unpleasant so probably no change in that regard.
This is a best endeavours response, which I hope is helpful.
This article is not intended to be personal advice and you should not rely on it as a substitute for any form of advice.
This post on appears in Strata News #160.
If you live in strata and you have bamboo planted next door and it is causing an issue for you, we would like to hear about your experiences. If you have a question or something to add to the article, please leave a comment below.
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