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Problems With Neighbouring Trees: Action Guide

By: Abigail Taylor - Updated: 15 Oct 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Neighbours Trees Neighbour Branches

If your property shares a boundary with a neighbour's property, there are a few aspects of the law (and good neighbourliness) that you need to bear in mind when growing trees/hedges. This guide covers what you need to know and also what you can do if you are having problems with your neighbour's trees.

Cutting back trees

You have a common law right to cut back tree branches that overhang onto your property. It is however always best to discuss with your neighbour about any trees / hedges you wish to cut back before doing so.
  • The law states that any branches cut off belong to the person on whose land the tree originally grew, so you should ask your neighbour if they want them back, or if they are happy for you to dispose of them.
  • Do not just throw trimmings back over the boundary - this could constitute 'fly tipping'. Ask your neighbour whether they would like any trimmings back.
  • Equally any fruit on trees, even if they are growing on branches which overhang your property, still belongs to your neighbour. You are therefore stealing if you pick these for yourself without your neighbours' permission.

Neighbour cut my trees right back

My neighbour recently contacted me to say she was going to get the overhanging branches from the large tree in my garden removed and that some branches may end up in my garden. I said I didn't have a problem with her removing any overhanging branches.

I got up this morning to find that my trees had been basically chopped down. The overhanging branches were indeed removed but right down to the tree trunk! I now have a line of bare tree on my side. I understand that they have a right to cut back to the boundary line but these trees are not on the boundary line - do I have any rights regarding this situation?

  • If you are pruning a neighbours' tree, be careful that you do not damage the tree further back than your boundary.
  • If you damage the tree on their side, they may claim against you for the replacement cost of the tree.
  • Be careful to check if any trees are subject to a preservation order - your local authority will be able to tell you this. If you cut down a tree with a preservation order, you will be guilty of an offence under section 210 or 211 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

Can we invoice neighbour for tree cutting?

There is a 20 metre long fence between us and our neighbour with a wall of fir trees growing on the neighbour's side of the fence. We hired a gardener to trim the fir tree branches back to the border of the fence. Can we send the Invoice received from the gardener to the neighbour?

If you choose to cut down overhanging branches, or trim trees, you will have to pay for the cost of doing so yourself. Try speaking to your neighbour however as you may be able to reach some sort of agreement in relation to any gardening work required, though they are not obliged to contribute to this cost. Note that you are not entitled to access to your neighbour's property to enable you trim the branches on your side of the boundary without their permission.

Ownership of trees

Sometimes you may be unsure who owns the trees causing you concerns or the trees may be part of a shared boundary and you are unsure who is responsible for their maintenance:

Trees that do not belong to anyone?

We have several very large trees surrounding our garden who we have been told do not belong to any one we want them cut down just a small amount who can we get to do this. We have phoned the council but they've not been much help.

Trees that form part of a boundary

The boundary line between our house and our neighbour's is clear and undisputed. It presently consists of a wire fence. However, there are some very tall cedar trees planted many years ago on our neighbour's side of the boundary, but close to it.

These trees are essentially on our neighbour's land so we do not feel we have a responsibility to maintain them. Our neighbour, however, feels they are our responsibility as they form part of the "hedge" line to the left our property when viewed from the front. Who is right?

A tree belongs to whoever owns the property upon which the tree trunk originally grows, even if the branches or roots have begun to spread onto another property. The owner has a duty to maintain this tree so that it does not cause a hazard. Therefore if branches are broken and hanging precariously, the owner should remove these.

If a tree is planted on the border line between properties, you should check your Property Title Documents to see if these give ownership to one property. If not, you both share the duty to maintain the trees, and these should not be cut down without prior consent from both owners. To check your title deeds visit the land registry website or call them on 0844 892 1111.

  • There is no such thing as 'no man's land'. All land and therefore all trees are owned by somebody.
  • If you can't decide by looking at the original Property Deeds who owns a tree, a court will be able to decide for you. However this is an expensive resolution and so it may be better to simply agree ownership between you and your neighbour.

Damage caused by overhanging trees

Council owned trees damaging my property

Adjacent to my house is some green belt land owned by local council. On this land there are some large trees, 3 of which run adjacent to my property. Last year the council agreed to prune back the lower branches of the trees but only up to 20 ft in height. As a result, the branches at the higher level have continued to grow and some of the branches now virtually touch my property.

There are a large number of leaves coming off these trees and causing blockage to guttering etc. I am also concerned about the potential damage if one of these trees fell in the high winds. What legal position do I have?

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 with your neighbours before resorting to the courts, which is often a long and potentially expensive process - remember you still have to live next to this person, so an amicable solution will often lead to a more comfortable living environment.

If any damage was caused by a tree from your neighbours' property but this was due to 'an Act of God', such as a thunderstorm, any damage was not foreseeable. Your neighbour will not therefore be responsible for this. If any damage caused to your property is severe, you may wish to contact your Buildings Insurance company about this.

  • Falling leaves, fruit, flowers, and pollen are annoying, but you cannot legally ask your neighbour to prevent this or remove any fallen debris.
  • Liability to remove any fallen leaves etc lies with the owner of the Property affected (or the Tenants if they have maintenance obligations which include gardening).
  • Whilst falling leaves etc are annoying, they are not legally a 'nuisance', which has a very specific meaning.

Right to Light

Neighbouring trees blocking our light

A property we are thinking of purchasing has quite a few trees in the back garden which completely block any sunlight. Some could possibly have preservation orders on them. Is there any way we can have these thinned or removed. Does our right to sunlight override that of a preservation order?

The Rights of Light Act 1959 states that if a Property has received daylight for the last 20 years (the minimum prescribed period), they may be entitled to continue to receive that light. This means that if your neighbour builds a large fence or there are large trees which restrict the daylight your Property receives (for example by blocking daylight reaching a window), you may be able to apply to the courts for your daylight to be restored, or for any injunction to prevent a proposed fence being built.

If trees have a Preservation Order, this suggests that the Property does not have a Right to Light, as it will not have had a continuous period of daylight for at least 20 years. Usually the only way you can prune a tree with a Preservation Order is if it has become dangerous.

  • There is no right to direct sunlight, only daylight.
  • Even if you have a right to light, the amount of light is restricted to approximately equivalent to one foot of candlelight - more than most people receive anyway.
  • You do not have any right to a view which is obscured by trees. Equally you have no right to not have a view if trees previously covered an undesirable feature such as a brick wall.

Dangerous Trees

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.

More of interest

Sometimes you might need to access a neighbour's property to do essential maintenance on your own...what's allowed and what's not? Read Your rights to access neighbouring land.

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Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
I live next door to council owned property, over the last 15 years the trees on their property have grown taller reducing the amount of sun we get in our garden. I have approached the council but they say because the trees are healthy they have no desire to trim them. I don't want them to cut them down just reduce the height so that we can enjoy the little sun we get in this country. Is there anything I can do? The trees are in the middle of their property so we don't even have the option of trimming any over hang.
lifeafter40 - 15-Oct-17 @ 2:04 PM
My neighbour keeps hacking the back of my conifers. He cuts them back to the trunk.This is not necessary (they never overhang as we get them cut ourselves)My conifers at the back are now completely bare & look horrendous. He must lean right over his fence to cut them. We removed a hedge earlier this year to stop him hacking it & throwing all the clippings all over our garden , but it seems he thinks he can do whatever he wants! He has some kind of mental health problem & I can't talk to him (i have tried but he shouts at me) but he still shouldn't be able to do whatever he likes to my trees.
Want it stopped. - 11-Oct-17 @ 3:47 PM
Hi, My naighbour on the rear of my property has cut a load of my branches off my tree beyond my fence line, and thrown them over My fence onto my land, after I've told them that I don't want the branches back. So not only trespassing but causing criminal damage to my property. Do I have grounds to report them to there housing association landlord, and could I make a claim for damages . And could I possibly do them for illegal flytipping, for throwing them back over my fence after telling them not to. Cheers
Robbo - 10-Oct-17 @ 11:15 PM
Charlie - Your Question:
I'm building a summerhouse at the bottom of my garden which is quite long (approx 200 ft) there are a row of conifer trees along the boundary to the opposite garden which are in his garden and are horrendously tall. I have approached him and offered to Pay to have them reduced in height but he won't have it saying it doesn't affect him and he likes the look of the fall trees. He too has a long garden over 200 ft so the distance of both houses is long. I have trimmed some large branches off and cut down one half of one of the trees as it was listing 60 degrees in my garden and to be fair he hasn't noticed it gone. There are a few of the trees where the top section of the trunk clearly leans into my boundary. Am I allowed to cut whatever over sails into my garden even the top section of the tree ?

Our Response:
You're only allowed to cut down the branches that overhang your garden, you can cut the trunk. You might find the High Hedges laws useful
ProblemNeighbours - 9-Oct-17 @ 3:23 PM
VStar - Your Question:
Hi, my neighbour has a huge Ash tree in her garden and the leaves mainly drop into my garden. Can I chuck them over her fence? Also, it's put my garden into permanent shade and has killed some of my plants. Can I take legal action?

Our Response:
No, you cannot throw leaves from a neighbour's tree back into their garden. There is no right to sunshine in a garden unfortunately. Try talking to your neighbour to see if they're willling to perhaps have the tree thinned out to allow some more light through...even better if you offer to pay for it. They're not under any obligation to do anything about the tree however.
ProblemNeighbours - 9-Oct-17 @ 3:00 PM
I'm building a summerhouse at the bottom of my garden which is quite long (approx 200 ft) there are a row of conifer trees along the boundary to the opposite garden which are in his garden and are horrendously tall.I have approached him and offered to Pay to have them reduced in height but he won't have it saying it doesn't affect him and he likes the look of the fall trees . He too has a long garden over 200 ft so the distance of both houses is long . I have trimmed some large branches off and cut down one half of one of the trees as it was listing 60 degrees in my garden and to be fair he hasn't noticed it gone . There are a few of the trees where the top section of the trunk clearly leans into my boundary . Am I allowed to cut whatever over sails into my garden even the top section of the tree ?
Charlie - 9-Oct-17 @ 12:44 AM
Hi, my neighbour has a huge Ash tree in her garden and the leaves mainly drop into my garden. Can I chuck them over her fence? Also, it's put my garden into permanent shade and has killed some of my plants. Can I take legal action?
VStar - 8-Oct-17 @ 8:42 PM
JBOY - Your Question:
My neighbour has a large Ash Tree on her property which, if it should fall (storm or disease such as Ash Dieback), would without doubt land on my house. I have written a very polite letter to her 2 months ago asking her to consider taking some action but have not received a reply. A similar, adjacent tree was felled by her some 5 years ago for this very reason. I am today writing a second 'chase up' letter, again using the politest language I can muster!!What should I do next? Should I approach my local authority and if so, how long should I wait before doing so.Thanks for your help

Our Response:
Does it have ash dieback? Is it there some genuine reason why it might "fall down"? What action are you suggesting your neighbour takes? Sorry it's not clear from your comment. As long as the neighbour has it regularly checked for health/safety by a professional (arboriculturalist or tree surgeon), there is no reason why the tree should be removed. The neighbour will be liable for any damage done by the tree if he/she was aware that it was diseased or unstable etc.
ProblemNeighbours - 4-Oct-17 @ 1:58 PM
Longlens - Your Question:
Hello, My neighbour has several very mature trees in their front garden, one, in particular, is a Cooper beech with a trunk dimension of about a metre and is some 25 metres high, it's about 30cm from the boundary wall and 2mtrs from my wall and about 8mtrs from their wall. I suspect that it's roots have once again damaged my drains the last time this happened my insurance paid for the repair but I had to pay the excess and lose my no claim bonus and it remains a claim on my status when I try to change insurers. I'm about to have have the drain cleared again at my cost is there any resposiblity on the neighbour to remedy the problem or foot the bill. Thanks inadvance Longlens.

Our Response:
You would have to obtain a surveyor's report as evidence that the neighbour's tree roots were/are the cause of the problem. The neighbour will only be liable for damage that was ‘reasonably foreseeable’so you may have to show that they knew, or ought to have known, that such damage would arise.
ProblemNeighbours - 4-Oct-17 @ 11:15 AM
Shells - Your Question:
- cont - I now need to put a parameter fence and deal with the poor condition of my garden in order to keep him safe. I am however unable to do any work until something is done about this tree. Please advise as I am at my wits end. I don't believe the council will do anything as it is just the one tree. I have been unable to work and am financially limited so taking private legal steps is not an option (something they are more than aware of). Thanking you in advance Shells

Our Response:
You're right the council will not do anything about the tree. The fence you mention...does it say in your deeds that your neighbour has to maintain a fence between the properties? If so then, obviously you can enforce this but only really through the legal system. If you cannot afford court, could you try a mediation service? We can't really help with any other suggestions unfortunately as they are all potentially costly:
Employ a firm to cut back the branches on your side (the neighbour is not responsible for the birds or the sap unfortunately)
Erect a simple fence on your side of the boundary (site it so it goes around the tree) sufficient to keep your dog in (again unless the deeds specify so, the neighbour doesn't even have to have a fence in place)
You are also entitled to cut back any tree roots as far as the boundary - but again you would have to bear the costs.
ProblemNeighbours - 4-Oct-17 @ 10:46 AM
My neighbour has a large Ash Tree on her property which, if it should fall (storm or disease such as Ash Dieback), would without doubt land on my house. I have written a very polite letter to her 2 months ago asking her to consider taking some action but have not received a reply. A similar, adjacent tree was felled by her some 5 years ago for this very reason. I am today writing a second 'chase up' letter, again using the politest language I can muster!! What should I do next? Should I approach my local authority and if so, how long should I wait before doing so. Thanks for your help
JBOY - 3-Oct-17 @ 1:30 PM
Hello, My neighbour has several very mature trees in their front garden, one, in particular, is a Cooper beech with a trunk dimension of about a metre and is some 25 metres high, it's about 30cm from the boundary wall and2mtrs from my wall and about 8mtrs from their wall. I suspect that it's roots have once again damaged my drains the last time this happened my insurance paid for the repair but I had to pay the excess and lose my no claim bonus and it remains a claim on my status when I try to change insurers. I'm about to have have the drain cleared again at my cost is there any resposiblity on the neighbour to remedy the problem or foot the bill. Thanks inadvance Longlens.
Longlens - 2-Oct-17 @ 7:50 PM
- cont - I now need to put a parameter fence and deal with the poor condition of my garden in order to keep him safe.I am however unable to do any work until something is done about this tree. Please advise as I am at my wits end.I don't believe the council will do anything as it is just the one tree.I have been unable to work and am financially limited so taking private legal steps is not an option (something they are more than aware of). Thanking you in advance Shells
Shells - 2-Oct-17 @ 7:03 PM
My neighbours tree is on his boundary at the end of his front garden.The tree butts onto where my garden starts.There is no fencing between our gardens (This is the side which they are responsible for maintaining).The tree has not been maintained or trimmed for years.The bottom of the trunk has now grown into my garden; the roots are thick and causing the tarmac to lift along the length of mydriveway and its position blocks my view when trying to reverse out (we are a small close and I am right at the end where people tend to park or stop to turn their cars around.I used to climb up and remove some of the lower branches however the tree is over two storey's high. Ill, health and being in 50's, I cannot be reasonably expected to climb up and maintain this tree.The branches overhang a public footpath as well as bits of the tree debris often hitting us when we’re out and bits of branches hit my cars during high winds.The fencing along their boundary and which separates our two gardens is also in a poor state. I have a dog (which did belong to them but spent increasing amount of time around ours and would not or became distressed when returning to their property).The dog has had lots of issues and within a month of 'officially becoming ours' he, escaped out of the back garden and was lost.After an hour of searching I discovered that he was in fact stuck between my garden and his old owners, in their fence trying to get into their garden through the broken slats.He was in a bad way when I found him and still has health issues due to damage caused. His old owners were fully aware of this but made no attempt to secure the fence. They had and continue to overhaul the inside of their property with tradespeople in and out all of the time.I recently again found our dog out in the front area causing havoc on the road.Unkind comments were made in relation to us and about controlling our animal.I discovered that he had escaped because their workmen had the previous day damaged the fence and posts.The post obviously belongs to them and my gate is attached.Their post was hanging inside my garden and my gate on the floor hence our dog in the street.Again attempted to address this with them - they denied knowledge and I eventually had to call out another neighbour to secure my gate and their fence in the process in order to keep my dog safe.They also clarified that they had no intention of fixing or working on the fence/gate etc. My daughter left her car in the front garden.It has begun to rust where pigeon droppings had begun to corrode the paintwork.I cannot park on that stretch as by the morning I cannot see through the glass because of sap and my car is covered with droppings.The remainder of the garden is shingled and parking here causes our 10 year old dog difficulties in getting in and out of the car as the shingle moves or bits get caught in his paws.I now need to put a parameter fence and deal wit
Shells - 2-Oct-17 @ 6:59 PM
rammy - Your Question:
My daughter is in the process of selling her house, the buyers lender asked for a structural survey because of some cracks in the mortar. This was completed today & the is subsidence caused by a line of neighbours Conifers that lie along the length of her house about 4 feet away. I assume my daughters Building insurance would cover the damage but who is liable & what can she do if the sale falls through?????

Our Response:
If it can be proven that the subsidence is a direct result of the conifers there's a chance she may be able to claim from the tree owners. Proof will mostly likely be needed in the form of both an arboriculturalist's and a surveyor's report. The owner of the trees can only really be held liable if they were in a position to "foresee" the damage likely to be caused by the roots. Your daughter may have to seek professional legal advice to resolve this if the tree owners dispute liablility. Here buildings insurers may be able to advise on this too.
ProblemNeighbours - 18-Sep-17 @ 11:08 AM
My daughter is in the process of selling her house, the buyers lender asked for a structural survey because of some cracks in the mortar. This was completed today & the is subsidence caused by a line of neighbours Conifers that lie along the length of her house about 4 feet away. I assume my daughters Building insurance would cover the damage but who is liable & what can she do if the sale falls through?????
rammy - 15-Sep-17 @ 12:49 PM
Stressed out - Your Question:
My neighbour has trees overhanging my property that are too close to foundations. They have been repeatedly asked to remove as they have started cracking retention wall and they refuse to. Their laurels have already cracked the rain drain servicing the whole street and she has already been warned by the council and pcso about her behaviour. What can I do as this is causing me health problems and upsetting my ill mother.

Our Response:
Your local water company should be able to take action regarding the rain drain. You should get evidence from a surveyor regarding the retaining wall before taking legal action.
ProblemNeighbours - 6-Sep-17 @ 2:41 PM
Additionally she's made a point of harassing which was something she did to my late father and which is now documented. As well as chasing workmen away or contacting them to try and get them to agree in her favour.
Stressed out - 5-Sep-17 @ 5:02 AM
My neighbour has trees overhanging my property that are too close to foundations. They have been repeatedly asked to remove as they have started cracking retention wall and they refuse to. Their laurels have already cracked the rain drain servicing the whole street and she has already been warned by the council and pcso about her behaviour. What can I do as this is causing me health problems and upsetting my ill mother.
Stressed out - 5-Sep-17 @ 4:54 AM
Roseby - Your Question:
My neighbor trees over hanging into my garden, I asked them to cut and trim them down.They asked me to pay for it, and charged me £150, took the money and not done the job.Any idea how can I resolve the problem.Thanks

Our Response:
If they took the money from you and didn't do the work, you can take it to the small claims court.
ProblemNeighbours - 4-Sep-17 @ 10:24 AM
Our neighbour isfrom hell. She has already been warned by the police about her behaviour now she has asked for the hedge to be trimmed as it is touching her fence. Please note there are no hanging over branches as I have already trimmed them back a few months ago. We are talking four very small pieces which touch herfence on my side .Thefencewhich belongs her is 36 inches high. I have measured the conifers they are less than 2 meters high and I have removed the leading growth shoots so they grow side ward rather than upwards.She now wants me to either take them down or put up a new fence in front of her so my trees do not touch her fence . How do I stand regarding my trees touching her fence as I do not intend to remove them or put up another fence ? I do however intend tomake sure the branches don't hang over the fence as I won't give her the pleasure of cutting themdown.
fed up - 31-Aug-17 @ 6:24 PM
There is a line of bushes at the bottom of our neighbours garden (rented property) that seriously overhang our garden and block our seaview. When I moved in 10 years ago I was told that there is a verbal agreement between all neighbours that we can keep the bushes at a reasonable level from either side. Over the last 4 years the bushes have got higher and higher and then we lost our view 2 years ago. I found out off my other neighbours whose gardens this affects who I needed to contact to check this agreement and they told me. I rang the woman who said that yes, there is a verbal agreement and I asked her if she was in charge of this property and she said yes and was I OK to go ahead and cut the trees back (it meant accessing their garden) and she said yes, that's fine. A week later the owner of the house turns up at mine saying that she knew nothing about it. The agreement had been between her ex-husband and the property management company and her husband had died 18 months ago and left the property to her. No one had told her about this and when I called the management company they hadn't informed her of my call or that they had said to go ahead but they did acknowledge that they had spoken to me and said it was OK to do the work. She is now talking about suing me. Surely this is an issue with her property management company and not me? Help!
Agreed - 31-Aug-17 @ 2:06 PM
My neighbor trees over hanging into my garden, I asked them to cut and trim them down. They asked me to pay for it, and charged me £150, took the money and not done the job. Any idea how can I resolve the problem. Thanks
Roseby - 28-Aug-17 @ 6:44 PM
Hi my nabor has trees out his back which I'm picking dead leaves and can't dry washing as trees r by my line as for blocking my light don't ask lol I'm asking if I can do anything about it as our gardens r very small thanks for reading
Alz - 27-Aug-17 @ 4:35 PM
A sycamore tree in the middle of my land isblocking a neighbours ViewI have been askedto 'top it out' am I obligated to do so?Thank you in advance .
Fdivor - 26-Aug-17 @ 11:34 AM
I have a sycamore tree in the middle of my land it is blocking a neighbours view I have been asked to 'top it out' am I obligated to do so? Thanks in advance.
Fdivor - 26-Aug-17 @ 11:30 AM
Hi, we are tenants of social housing, been at the property for 8years at the corner of property is a fir tree that is way taller than the house and was when we moved in. It's just got wider in in the past few years. The tree root is now causing damage to the drains and fences of neighbours. Our tenancy agreement states we are responsible for hedges, which we happily maintain, but does not mention trees. Landlord is insisting we take responsibility for cost of felling tree, which we can neither afford or feel we should be responsible for its over 40years old according according to the elderly neighbours who own their property. As we did not plant tree, and as it isn't mentioned in tenancy agreement, and obviously don't have buildings insurance to potentially cover the damage it is doing to neighbours property who's responsible for it?! Any advice much appreciated as both myself and elderly neighbour feel we are being bullied by housing association.
Rebekah - 25-Aug-17 @ 2:12 PM
Hilary - Your Question:
We have 3 trees which overhang the neighbours garage and are begining to get close to a couple of their windows.If the trees have been there for more than twenty years and the neighbours moved in about 1996.The neighbours have assumed we should trim the trees at our cost.Is this correct?We have also been advised that if the trees are trimmed excessively this may cause damage to the trees and even our property-should we enlist the help of an expert?We are about to put our property on the market,and the neighbours are aware of this - if we do so we might have to reveal there is a dispute-how best can we deal with this?thanks in advance.

Our Response:
You are not obliged to trim back the trees unless you foresee definite damage/ or they are unhealthy. If you a tree owner is aware of the likelyhood to cause damage, they can be held liable. Just because they are getting close to the neighbour's windows/garage roof doesn't mean they're about to fall down etc, but it might be worth getting a professional to take a look. Your neighbours are entitled to cut back any branches as far as the boundary (at no cost to you).
ProblemNeighbours - 24-Aug-17 @ 11:37 AM
We have 3 trees which overhang the neighbours garage and are begining to get close to a couple of their windows.If the trees have been there for more than twenty years and the neighbours moved in about 1996. The neighbours have assumed we should trim the trees at our cost.Is this correct? We have also been advised that if the trees are trimmed excessively this may cause damage to the trees and even our property-should we enlist the help of an expert? We are about to put our property on the market,and the neighbours are aware of this - if we do so we might have to reveal there is a dispute-how best can we deal with this? thanks in advance.
Hilary - 22-Aug-17 @ 5:38 PM
Freddie - Your Question:
Hi,Along the boundary of my property (just on my neighbour’s side) is a tree of unknown species. It's almost reached the size of my two-storey house and some of the branches are touching my chimney, which is just one storey high as it's built on a small single storey extension which is a purpose-built original feature of the house. We use the chimney in the autumn/winter as it's attached to a log-burner. The roots of the tree are also visibly sticking out of the earth within 5 cm of my house (and are at least a few cm wide so are likely to be touching my property under the ground as the exposed roots head that way, but I can't see this).I have spoken to my neighbours and they have declined to do anything about the tree, i.e. either the overhanging branches touching my chimney (which blocks the movement of the surrounding air making my fire harder to start, slower to burn and more likely to 'blow-back' smoke into my house) or the roots. I've previously trimmed back some of the overhanging branches but as the boundary between our properties is close to my house, they quickly grow back and I've been unable to do anything about the roots, although I'm very concerned about this. This tree was identified as a potential risk to my property on the survey when I originally purchased it (owing to the roots) and it was advised that the tree should be managed accordingly, i.e. ideally not allowed to get any larger. This hasn’t happened and I've also been refused access to my neighbour's property to trim back any overhanging branches on my side, which makes any trimming back on my side minimal, so the tree grows back quickly.In an ideal world I would like to reduce the size of the tree so it’s not encroaching on to my chimney and maintain it such, by limiting its size, that the roots don’t get any larger and damage my property. My neighbours have made it clear that they will not cooperate with me so what can I do legally, if anything? Thanks.

Our Response:
You could try a civil action to force them to remove the tree. You would need solid evidence that the tree is likely to damage your property and that you cannot trim back the branches sufficiently from your side of the boundary.
ProblemNeighbours - 21-Aug-17 @ 10:46 AM
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