An overgrown property can be both a nuisance and a danger to neighbour's and the community. Please note that all residents have a responsibility to keep their properties neat and tidy to improve the appearance of the community; and to remove places for vermin to breed and reduce health risks.
Barcaldine Regional Council defines "overgrown" as vegetation (grass) that affects the visual amenity of the allotment and is likely to attract reptiles or vermin or is deemed a fire hazard. In accordance with Local Law No. 3 (Community and Environmental Management) 2011, it is an offence for land to be kept in such a way that the vegetation has seriously affected the visual amenity of the allotment or is likely to attract or harbour vermin or reptiles. Failure to comply with Council's Local Laws may result in the issue of a fine or fines.
There are several problems caused by an overgrown land. Residential properties with overgrown land create a visual eyesore and may impede the public's access to footpaths and streets. If you have difficulty walking along footpaths or driving along streets as a result of hedges or trees growing out into your path or line of sight, you can report the problem to Council with address or the location of the property.
Overgrown land is associated with a number of problems within our community which, if left unnoticed, are potentially disastrous. Other problems associated with overgrown land are:
- The land can become a breeding ground or a resting place for vermin such as rats, mice and snakes, all of which can live and nest in tall grass. These can cause disease and become a problem for surrounding residents.
- Overgrown trees and shrubs may obstruct traffic control devices and pose a safety hazard to pedestrians and drivers.
- The land becomes a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes, especially in the wet season. This can increase the risk of mosquito borne disease outbreaks
- In the dry season, the land becomes a fire hazard which may hamper fire fighters and can quickly spread to buildings and neighbouring properties.
My neighbours block is overgrown, what can I do?
If your neighbours block is overgrown, and you are unable to discuss this with your neighbour, a request can be logged with Council. To do this, please contact your local Council Administration Office (https://www.barcaldinerc.qld.gov.au/contact), ensuring you have full address details of the property. Please note that by logging this request, Council will not immediately enter the property and perform the works, as due process must be followed.
I have received a notification my property is overgrown, but cannot complete the works, can Council do it for me?
On most occasions, Council is unable to mow residents’ properties (vacant land only) for them. As such, if you are unable to maintain your property yourself, it is recommended that you engage the services of a mowing or gardening contractor on a regular basis to maintain the standard. Should you have extreme difficulties with this, please contact your local Council Administration Office (https://www.barcaldinerc.qld.gov.au/contact) and request a private works.
How Council deals with overgrown premises
Using Local Law No 3 (Community and Environmental Management) 2011, Council regulates a range of potential nuisances relating to overgrown allotment. The following steps will be taken to bring to property to a compliant state:
Step 1 - Inspection conducted and a courtesy letter issued to the occupier
Step 2 - If no action is taken after a 21-day period, the occupier is issued a formal notice.
Step 3 - If no action is taken after a 21-day period, the occupier is issued with an Entry Notice. Council or its contractors will enter the property on a given date (if no action taken after another 21-day period); clear the property of rubbish and for grass and vegetation to be trimmed. The cost of such work will be the responsibility of the occupier. Fines may be imposed, or Legal Action taken.
Achieving the right result can often take time; on average the time taken to bring a property to a compliant state with the cooperation of the occupier is around 65 days.
Unsightly properties can occur when objects or materials that are brought onto or allowed to accumulate on any vacant land, residential or commercial property, seriously affect the aesthetic of the property. Materials generally classified as unsightly include discarded or disused machinery, second-hand materials and similar objects, as well as derelict vehicles, old whitegoods, building materials and household waste.
Responsibilities of residents
Keeping your yard free from overgrown vegetation and objects makes our residential streets more visually appealing for everyone - here are a few tips on good ways to keep order in your home:
- Store goods out of sight in your garage and shed.
- Ensure you put your rubbish out for collection each week.
- Store objects and materials out of view and neatly stacked off the ground to ensure they do not harbour vermin.
- Dispose of old vehicles and machinery – some metal recyclers may collect and remove them free of charge.
- Cut or slash your grass regularly (whether dead or alive) and dispose of it responsibly
- Organise for someone to come and maintain your yard if you are going away for a period of time.