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Letter Template: Problem with Neighbour's Tree

By: Abigail Taylor - Updated: 16 Jul 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Neighbour Tree Letter Danger Damage

If a nearby tree looks diseased / broken or overgrown, it could cause concerns about potential damage to your property if it falls. If you have concerns, what can you do?

Have a Chat

Always try to speak to your neighbour about any problems. If this isn't possible try sending an informal note. If that doesn't resolve the issue, then a more formal letter may be required.

To assist, a template informal note and more formal letter are below:

Informal Note to Neighbour About Problem Tree

Dear [name]

Just a quick note regarding the tree at [location]. [I/we] have concerns that the tree is [diseased / has a broken branch / is overgrown] and may damage my property if it falls.If the tree belongs to you, please could you have a look at this and arrange any required pruning etc to make it safe? If not, [I/we] will do some further investigating to find the owner.

Thanks for your help.

Best wishes,
[Name] [Your house number]

Formal Letter to Neighbour About a (Potentially) Dangerous Tree

[Your Address]

[Neighbour's name]
[Address / 'Delivered by hand']
[Date]

Dear[Neighbour's name]/[If unknown, just address as 'Dear Neighbour'],

Re: Potentially dangerous tree

I live at [address], next door. I am writing in relation to concerns I have about a potential threat to health and safety posed by trees on your property.

The tree(s) that I am concerned about is/are [beech/oak/pine etc] located [describe location e.g. to the east side of your garage]. I have marked the trees on the enclosed rough sketch map so that you can clearly identify which tree(s) in particular cause me concern.

I am particularly concerned about this/these tree(s) because: [select appropriate]

  • The tree(s) is leaning to one side and appears at risk of falling
  • The tree(s) looks dead/diseased
  • The tree(s) has a large broken branch which is at risk of falling
  • The tree(s) has overgrown and is resting/encroaching on my property

The owners of trees have a legal duty of care to make sure that their trees do not pose a danger to neighbours or their property. I would therefore be grateful if you could obtain a tree survey and if this shows it is potentially dangerous, to arrange for removal or pruning of the tree.

You may have previously been unaware of the condition of the tree(s) and the potential problems caused by this. However now that this has been brought to your attention, I would request that you take action. If you do not do so, the local council potentially could take action themselves to assess and remove any trees. They may however charge any cost of doing so to you, and that is likely to cost more than if you initially carried out the work.

I am keen to resolve this amicably; we are after all neighbours! I would therefore be grateful if you could look into this matter and arrange assessment and removal or pruning of the tree(s) as a matter of urgency.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation.

Kind regards,

[Your signature]
[Your name]

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Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
Last summer my neighbour planted a tree right in front of my kitchen window, about 5 foot from my house wall. I have lived in my house for 23years. A sale of land between previous owners means that house wall with kitchen window in it is only accessible through their garden. I am concerned about the roots being so close to my building foundations and also the fact that the tree is growing big enough now to block out light.
Jd - 16-Jul-17 @ 6:49 AM
Mrs Gibbs - Your Question:
My next door neighbour has an oak tree, the canopy of which has now spread beyond the width of their garden and is now encroaching into my air space, which I understand is classified as "trespass". Please advise if this is correct and do I have the right to insist that it be cut back or do I have to be polite and request that the over hanging branches be removed. In conclusion, may I ask if you have a letter template covering this type of complaint. Thanking you in anticipation.Mrs Gibbs.

Our Response:
In general a tree owner is not obliged to remove branches that overhang a boundary into a neighbour's garden. As the neighbour, you can cut back anything that overhangs your side of the boundary. You should offer back any branches that you have removed, but the tree owner does not have to accept them. If you think the tree is dangerous or diseased in any way you should inform your neighbour to make them aware of this - they can then take decision about what they want to do with the tree and (being aware of the danger) can be held liable for any damage. This doesn't apply to a health tree (where as mentioned, the tree owner has no obligation to remove any growth into a neighbouring property).
ProblemNeighbours - 26-Jun-17 @ 11:10 AM
My next door neighbour has an oak tree, the canopy of which has now spread beyond the width of their garden and is now encroaching into my air space, which I understand is classified as "trespass". Please advise if this is correct and do I have the right to insist that it be cut back or do I have to be polite and request that the over hanging branches be removed.In conclusion, may I ask if you have a letter template covering this type of complaint. Thanking you in anticipation. Mrs Gibbs.
Mrs Gibbs - 23-Jun-17 @ 9:41 AM
The house behind ours has a tree that has grown to around 30 feet. They have previously refused to do anything about it due to the amount it will cost. The branches are now over hanging a good 10 feet into our garden (there is a foot path between us and them). As well as the loss of daylight, my main concern is that we have a pipe running through our garden and that the roots will hit this in the not too distant future. What rights do we have? Thanks.
RugbyGirl82 - 26-May-17 @ 11:59 AM
daveed - Your Question:
I have a silver birch growing in my garden that my neighbour has asked me to prune. The extent of pruning he asked for, is to take out the top as it is depriving him of light. The tree provided privacy to my garden and the upstairs windows. He has without my permission previously cut branches over hanging his property, which I accept he is entitled to do, although he never consulted with me. There are some branches that have been cut back closer to the trunk beyond the extent of the boundary line. I have consulted a tree surgeon / arborist who has confirmed the tree is not dangerous, there is no evidence of shallow roots and that the degree of pruning to clear any further overhanging branches could not be achieved without leaning a ladder against the tree or my fence. He gave me a quote for the work. I have told my neighbour that I'm not prepared to pay (for fear of setting a precedent), that it affords me privacy, that it is not dangerous or restricting daylight. I have said he can pay but I'm not granting general consent for him to prune what he wants without talking to me further. Is there anything more I should do to avoid him ignoring my request and pruning the tree anyway?

Our Response:
Your neighbour can only cut back anything that overhangs his side of the boundary (he doesn't have to ask your permission to do this). He cannot force you to prune the tree simply because it's cutting some light from his garden and clearly the tree is not causing any damage to his property. If he were to try and remove any further branches from your tree this would be criminal damage and possibly trespass depending on whether he needs to lean over the boundary. It might be worth having a polite conversation with him to let him know that he cannot cut any more from the tree etc.
ProblemNeighbours - 5-Apr-17 @ 11:21 AM
I have a silver birch growing in my garden that my neighbour has asked me to prune. The extent of pruning he asked for, is to take out the top as it is depriving him of light. The tree provided privacy to my garden and the upstairs windows. He has without my permission previously cut branches over hanging his property, which I accept he is entitled to do, although he never consulted with me. There are some branches that have been cut back closer to the trunk beyond the extent of the boundary line. I have consulted a tree surgeon / arborist who has confirmed the tree is not dangerous, there is no evidence of shallow roots and that the degree of pruning to clear any further overhanging branches could not be achieved without leaning a ladder against the tree or my fence. He gave me a quote for the work. I have told my neighbour that I'm not prepared to pay (for fear of setting a precedent), that it affords me privacy, that it is not dangerous or restricting daylight. I have said he can pay but I'm not granting general consent for him to prune what he wants without talking to me further. Is there anything more I should do to avoid him ignoring my request and pruning the tree anyway?
daveed - 3-Apr-17 @ 5:52 PM
moe - Your Question:
Concerned the offending tree belonging to the housing association has already caused damage to my boundary wall the roots have undermined it and are now protruding up in my garden. They are refusing to repair the damage caused. What can I do in this instance.

Our Response:
You can cut back any roots that intrude into your garden and can cut back any branches that are growing over the boundary line which might prevent further damage. If you want reimbursement for the cost of repairing damage already done, you might need to consider legal action or your home insurer. In general, a tree owner is only liable for damages if he/she is aware of the potential danger before it occurs.
ProblemNeighbours - 5-Jan-17 @ 9:49 AM
Concerned the offending tree belonging to the housing association has already caused damage to my boundary wall the roots have undermined it and are now protruding up in my garden. They are refusing to repair the damage caused. What can I do in this instance.
moe - 4-Jan-17 @ 12:02 AM
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