Overgrown or Unsightly Premises

Overgrown or Unsightly Premises

An overgrown or unsightly property can be both a nuisance and a danger to neighbours and the community. Please note that all residents have a responsibility to keep their properties neat and tidy to improve the appearance of our Community, remove places for vermin to breed, and reduce health risks.

Overgrown premises

Richmond valley Council defines “overgrown” as vegetation (grass) that affects the visual amenity of the allotment (over 0.4 metres in height), is likely to attract reptiles or vermin or is deemed a fire hazard.

There are several problems caused by 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 the 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.

Untidy premises

Richmond valley Council defines “Unsightly” as objects or materials that are brought on to, or allowed to accumulate on, an allotment causing its visual amenity to be seriously affected. “Unsightly” objects or materials are those such as discarded or disused machinery, second-hand material and similar objects. They also include derelict vehicles, old white goods, building materials and household waste.


Richmond Valley Council is a great place to live. Keeping our yards free from overgrown vegetation makes our residential streets more visually appealing and protects the community from vermin and reptiles. Here are a few tips on how to take pride in the appearance of your home:

  • Store goods out of sight in your garage or shed
  • Put your rubbish out on time. Take advantage of Council’s kerbside collection service for general waste, green waste and recycling
  • Store objects or materials out of view and neatly stacked but ensure they do not harbour vermin
  • Dispose of old vehicles and machinery – some metal recyclers may collect and remove them free of charge
  • Mow or slash your overgrown vegetation regularly (whether dead or alive) and dispose of it responsibly.

What if I notice an overgrown property?

In most cases the best way to resolve an overgrown or unsightly property issue is through polite and productive communication between yourself and the property owner. If you haven’t already spoken with the resident about the overgrown property we strongly recommend you try this approach first.

If you have concerns about approaching or entering communication with your neighbour, or these measures have proven ineffective, you can report the problem to Council with the address or the location of the property by phoning (02) 6660 0300 and our rangers will begin their investigation.

How Council deals with overgrown and unsightly premises

Council regulates a range of potential nuisances relating to overgrown and unsightly conditions on private property. When council receives a complaint about overgrown vacant land or neglected dwellings, one of our rangers will inspect the property. Following there inspection rangers will try and make contact with the land owner, if unsuccessful they will issue the necessary letters to make sure arrangements are made to have the property cleaned.

It is important to note that achieving compliance under this process may take in excess of 6 weeks.

Please note that a failure to observe Council’s requirements regarding maintaining the vegetation on the property or unsightly accumulation of articles/items/household goods could result in penalties.


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