Untidy Properties

What is an overgrown or untidy property?

An overgrown or untidy property is a property that may have become overgrown with vegetation or is in a condition where it has become a public health and safety risk. For example, the property might be attracting vermin like rats and mice.

Ideas about whether a property appears overgrown or untidy can vastly differ from person to person. A property that is considered unsightly or untidy may not necessarily be a health or safety risk, and the assessment of such property will be made by an Inspector or Officer acting reasonably.

Owner's responsibilities

Property owners are responsible for ensuring that their property is maintained and doesn't provide a place for vermin to live and breed. This means keeping properties free of long grass and vegetation as well as waste.

If there's a property in your neighbourhood that you believe is a health or safety hazard due to an unkempt section, you might first try talking to the property owner.

When we will take action

Where a threat to public health and safety is identified, Council has discretionary power to issue notices or orders where appropriate.

This means the landowner may be ordered to remove the overgrown vegetation or waste and make the property safe.

However, where the premises are considered unsightly and not a public health and safety risk, Council generally declines to become involved. It becomes a matter for the owners to resolve between themselves.

Concerns about potential fire hazard

The following can present a potential fire hazard to people and property:

  • Long, dry grass
  • Dried vegetation
  • Piles of combustible materials

Try to talk to the property owner about your concerns, in the first instance. If the matter remains unresolved:

Please note that Fire and Emergency NZ is only able to take action to deal with genuine fire hazards, and not where the property is unsightly or presents a health hazard.


Complaints must be in writing, email info@greydc.govt.nz

You will need to give the details of the property along with your name and contact details. It is very difficult to action an anonymous complaint.

Page reviewed: 12 Aug 2019 4:02pm