Key Points:

All 84-year-old Scotty Dalgleish wanted to do was brighten the driveway she shares with neighbours by decorating it with plants. Instead, she was taken to court.

Her neighbour in Otumoetai Rd, Tauranga, so disliked the potted plants bordering the driveway that she took Mrs Dalgleish to the Disputes Tribunal last month.

The ensuing row has prompted a disappointed Mrs Dalgleish to put her house on the market.

With nearly a quarter of all Tauranga dwellings now on cross-lease sections, the issue has prompted local real estate agents and solicitors to remind buyers to be aware of the potential requirements and restrictions when purchasing a cross-lease section.

Mrs Dalgleish, who has been in her Otumoetai Rd home for two years, started setting up the pot plants 18 months ago.

The neighbour claimed the plants were untidy, unattractive and distracting and that Mrs Dalgleish was arranging the pot plants illegally.

Mrs Dalgleish estimates she has spent more than $500 on the flowers and ceramic pots to brighten up the view. "It's a long, empty driveway. I thought I could look out and see something nice."

She said that as she paid the weekly bill for the lawn mowing, she felt entitled to decorate the driveway, while her neighbour said she had painted the fence in return.

The neighbour, a resident for the past 10 years who did not want to be named, said it was a legal issue. "On a cross lease, you can't put things out that the other person does not agree to."

The neighbour said the pots could act as barriers if a delivery truck or ambulance ever needed to get up the driveway. The tribunal ruled that if the neighbours could not come to an agreement then all the plants had to be removed, which Mrs Dalgleish has done.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES