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Letter Template: Problem with Neighbour's Tree

By: Abigail Taylor - Updated: 2 Jun 2018 | 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?

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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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My neighbor has a tree in her back yard. The branches are over hanging in my backyard, I have to rack the leaves when they fall and it's blocking the sunlight for my plants growth. I have talked to her about her hedges that are also over grown in my yard. She had a Nasty attitude. So can you help me legally to get her to trim her tree. Thank you
What to do - 2-Jun-18 @ 6:54 PM
ann - Your Question:
My neighbor has a huge elm tree that is dead it's branches are hanging over that if it fell it would crush my home I spoke to him two weeks ago and haven't heard anything I'm pretty scared I don't have money to trim the limbs

Our Response:
The answer is in our guide here
"If you are concerned that a tree is diseased or damaged and poses a danger due to having fallen, or being at risk of falling, you should contact the owner of the land on which the tree is growing. If the land belongs to the local council, contact them to request that the tree is cut down or pruned.
If you are unable to contact the land owner or they refuse to take action, contact your local council's Environmental Health Office. The owner is not under any legal duty to take action, but will be liable if a tree they knew to be damaged caused damage to Property or injury to a person.
As prevention is often better than waiting for damage or injury to occur however, the Environmental Health Office may be able to invoke the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 if the tree poses an immediate risk to Property or people. This allows them to serve notice on the land owner to make the tree safe. If they fail to do so, the Environmental Health Office may undertake this work themselves. The land owner would then usually be charged for any gardening required."
ProblemNeighbours - 16-May-18 @ 10:46 AM
my neighbor has a huge elm tree that is dead it's branches are hanging over that if it fell it would crush my home I spoke to him two weeks ago and haven't heard anything I'm pretty scared I don't have money to trim the limbs
ann - 14-May-18 @ 5:08 PM
ccczzz - Your Question:
There is a tree that is at the bottom of my garden that is at the side of the neighbours. We have had several talks about going half half to get it cut down but the neighbours have pulled out. The tree has grown to the point were it has uplifted the fence. What can I do? I'm also thinking about a written agreement if it does happen- any tips on how to write it?

Our Response:
Who does the tree belong to? Sorry it's not clear.
ProblemNeighbours - 27-Apr-18 @ 12:05 PM
There is a tree that is at the bottom of my garden that is at the side of the neighbours. We have had several talks about going half half to get it cut down but the neighbours have pulled out. The tree has grown to the point were it has uplifted the fence. What can I do? I'm also thinking about a written agreement if it does happen- any tips on how to write it?
ccczzz - 24-Apr-18 @ 6:17 PM
Rose - Your Question:
Please my house is nearby is next door to an embassy, the tress at the embassy bring a lot of rubbish to my house. I would to write to them if they can cut down the trees to prevent the flowers from falling to my house. How do I go about the letter. Thank you.

Our Response:
The letter template is designed to help with a neighbour's problem tree and we hope that helps. Note however, that a tree owner is no obliged to cut down trees simply because foliage, flowers etc are falling into a neighbouring property.
ProblemNeighbours - 11-Apr-18 @ 3:11 PM
Please my house is nearby is next door to an embassy, the tress at the embassy bring a lot of rubbish to my house. I would to write to them if they can cut down the trees to prevent the flowers from falling to my house. How do i go about the letter. Thank you.
Rose - 11-Apr-18 @ 1:48 PM
Barneybabes - Your Question:
Hi, I have a huge oak tree approximately 3' from my boundary fence on my neighbors side. My neighbor however is the parish council and the tree is in the village hall car park. The tree is well over the roof of my bungalow, about 10 feet and is brushing on the tiles and against the chimney which will soon be causing damage. The tree and branches are too high up to lop off so this would require a tree surgeon. I am disabled, on benefit, female and 64 years old. Clearly I do not have the ability or the money to deal with this. Where do I stand regarding who has to pay for the work please? Many thanks

Our Response:
Have you tried discussing it with the parish council? Here's the advice from the above article:
"You cannot force your neighbour to remove overhanging branches or fallen leaves on your property. However if these cause excessive damage, you can sue them for the cost of repair. It is however always better to try to amicably resolve any disputes so contact the tree owner to discuss it. "
"If you are concerned that a tree is diseased or damaged and poses a danger due to having fallen, or being at risk of falling, you should contact the owner of the land on which the tree is growing. If the land belongs to the local council, contact them to request that the tree is cut down or pruned. If you are unable to contact the land owner or they refuse to take action, contact your local council's Environmental Health Office. The owner is not under any legal duty to take action, but will be liable if a tree they knew to be damaged caused damage to Property or injury to a person."
ProblemNeighbours - 26-Mar-18 @ 3:27 PM
Hi, I have a huge oak tree approximately 3' from my boundary fence on my neighbors side. My neighbor however is the parish council and the tree is in the village hall car park. The tree is well over the roof of my bungalow, about 10 feet and is brushing on the tiles and against the chimney which will soon be causing damage.The tree and branches are too high up to lop off so this would require a tree surgeon. I am disabled, on benefit, female and 64 years old. Clearly I do not have the ability or the money to deal with this. Where do I stand regarding who has to pay for the work please? Many thanks
Barneybabes - 23-Mar-18 @ 9:54 PM
Debish - Your Question:
I have a neighbors conifer hedge that is approx 12 to 14 feet high , is there a limit on height ? The trees do not overhang the boundary.

Our Response:
There are no legal limits to hedges but the High hedges section of the Antisocial behaviour act legislates for this. It allows you to raise a complaint to be investigated by your council if a high hedge (evergreen) detracts from the reasonable enjoyment of your property or garden. The council will consider all relevant factors, including light, views and the your need for privacy. Taking it to the council incurs and fee and should only be a last resort - talk to your neighbour first and see if you can persuade them to reduce the height of the hedge or remove it and replace by a hedge made from other plants or a fence. It may help if you offered to contribute towards this work :-)
ProblemNeighbours - 23-Mar-18 @ 2:33 PM
I havea neighborsconifer hedge that is approx 12 to 14 feet high , is there a limiton height ? The trees do not overhang the boundary.
Debish - 20-Mar-18 @ 7:32 PM
What's the law on high leylandi hedges . At the back of my garden there are a row of 8 l eylandii and 13 feet high. The neighbour that owns them lies about when he gets it did and leaves it for 3/4 years before he fits it. He should get it cut anually. It's upsetting when it's so overpowering. Any thing in the law about this . We are private properties so council dont get involved.
Jimbo - 13-Mar-18 @ 5:52 PM
I would be extremely grateful if you could advise me of what to do with regards to a 3 / 4 fir trees which are on the border between mine and a problem neighbours these trees are well over the height of a 2 storey house, not only are they well over the height I believe is acceptable bit they are also blocking light to my kitchen and the damage the roots are causing to my own property, the needles are also killing my grass and plants. I contacted the council regarding this as negotiation is out of the question as these people after myself and my mom spoke to them about the trees then went and had a solicitors letter sent to me saying I was not able to touch their fence and this was because of some drawing pins in the fence, when I tried to approach them they phoned the police on me who told me not to approach them again. The council expect me to pay £433 to have someone come out and make a decision whether they should be cut, I am a disabled guy who lives alone and can't afford to pay this especially as it's no guarantee. This neighbour had the cheek to have a goat my dad the weekend making a threatening statement as he was cutting some branches on my side to try and repair my shed roof due to age and damage caused my their fir trees. I am desperate and this is causing extra stress and making my health to suffer. They have also damaged my path when they rushed to erect the fence before I moved in because I believe they have also stolen part of my land and after being advised through a neighbour who has contact with the previous owners sisters they had already done on the previous owner due to his poor health. Any help or advice would be much appreciated
Jay - 30-Aug-17 @ 12:30 PM
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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