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Often a property owner is not aware that there may be a problem with overgrowth on their property. In the first instance you are encouraged to speak to the property owner directly, and in most situations they are happy to address the issue.

What is an Overgrown Property?

For a property to be considered 'overgrown', it must meet some or all of the following criteria:

  • The property must be located in a residential zone. As a general rule, Council will not respond to customer requests where the property is located in a rural or semi-rural zone, or classified under Environmental Protection.
  • The property must be confirmed to be home to vermin likely to create unsafe or unhealthy conditions. Vermin does not include any native fauna. Evidence of vermin can include:
    • Rodent sightings
    • Faeces
    • Nests
    • Runs
    • Eggs
  • The vegetation in question must be more than 600mm (approximately) in height and cover a significant portion of the property
  • The overgrowth has been determined by the Rural Fire Service or Fire and Rescue NSW as posing a bushfire hazard.

What can I do?

The first step is to speak to the property owner directly.

If this course of action does not resolve the problem, you should ensure the property in question meets the guidelines above, before reporting an overgrown property to Council. Council may not be able to assist if the property is not considered to be an unsafe or unhealthy environment.

What can Council do?

It is important to keep in mind that the timeframe for this process can be quite long due to a number of variables, but mostly the willingness of the property owner to respond and manage the vegetation.

Once a valid complaint about an overgrown property has been received, Council will use the following process:

Step 1

Council will send an initial form letter to the property owner advising them of the concern raised about their property - your personal details will not be disclosed.

The letter will explain the situation and give the property owner a 28 day period to maintain the property to a reasonable standard.

Step 2

If at the end of the 28 day period the property works have not been completed, please contact Council again. Council will then inspect and assess the property.

If Council deems the property to satisfy the guidelines of an overgrown property, a formal process will commence which includes the issuing of a formal notice on the property owner which will direct them to manage and maintain the vegetation. In accordance with legislation, a four week period is provided for the property owner to complete the work.

Step 3

If the property owner fails to satisfactorily comply with the notice, enforcement action by Council may result.

If Council does not deem the property to be unhealthy or unsafe, you will be advised in writing that Council will be unable to assist you.

If you need further assistance:

Contact
Environmental Health and Compliance
Phone: (02) 4988 0190
Email: council@portstephens.nsw.gov.au