The seasonal rainfall during the spring and summer seasons encourages vegetation growth that if not adequately maintained can become overgrown.
It is during this period that Council receives a large number of customer requests about overgrown properties. To ensure this is managed and resources can be directed to where they are most needed a procedure has been developed.
Council also wants to help property owners understand when a property would be considered overgrown and the process Council may initiate to ensure property owners maintain their properties to a reasonable standard.
What to do if you think a property is overgrown
In the first instance and prior to contacting Council you are encouraged to contact the property owner and discuss your concerns with them. Often a property owner is not aware of the situation and, most of the time, they are eager to address the matter once informed.
It helps to keep in mind that not all property owners wish to maintain their properties in a perfect ‘park like’ condition and whether a property is considered overgrown also depends on the properties zoning. If you are unable to contact the owner or your concerns are ignored then Council may be able to assist but only if the property is deemed to be in an unsafe or unhealthy condition.
The following guidelines will help you determine if Council can assist:
- The property in question must be located in a residential village zone. As a general rule Council will not respond to customer requests for overgrown blocks outside the villages.
Overgrown Vegetation does include vegetation that is considered to be in a state in which it is likely to render the land in an unsafe or unhealthy condition. This would include vegetation that due to the un-kept nature would likely be a harborage for or encourage vermin or presents as a potential fire risk.
Evidence of vermin can include rodent sightings, faeces, nests, runs or eggs. (Vermin however does not include any native fauna); and/or
- The vegetation in question is more than 600mm (approximately) in height and covers a significant portion of the property. Please note: Overgrown Vegetation does not include any vegetation that is protected by the Threatened Species Conservation Act, Environment Protection and does not include a commercial crop.
If you are concerned about an overgrown block in your neighbourhood call Council on 02 6724 2000 to report it.
If a property is deemed overgrown what happens next
In this instance Council will inspect and assess the property. If Council is satisfied of the overgrown nature of the property then a formal process will be commenced. (Note: If Council is not satisfied of the overgrown nature of the property then you will be advised in writing or phone that Council is unable to assist).
This involves the issuing of a formal notice to the property owner directing them to manage and maintain the vegetation. In accordance with administrative provisions of the legislation a four (4) week time frame is generally provided. The failure by the recipient of a notice to satisfactorily comply with the required stated works may result in enforcement action by Council.
Please be aware that in some circumstances the period of time to achieve an outcome can be lengthy. This is due to a number of variables but mostly the willingness of the property owner to respond and manage the vegetation.