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My Rights Regarding my Neighbour's Trees?

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 10 Nov 2020 | comments*Discuss
 
Trees Tree Law Tree Preservation Orders

Q.

What are my rights about my neighbours very tall fir tree which is only about 5 yards from my property? The tree was already existing before my property was built.

I spoke to the owner and he made it clear that he does not want it cut. Please help as it might damage my property.

(Ms Gloria Wright, 10 September 2008)

A.

You don’t say where the problem lies here in terms of the potential damage it may cause to your property. However, if any of the tree's branches are overhanging Into your property, it is within your rights to cut these branches off, even if your neighbour has told you that he doesn’t want you to do so.

It doesn't matter if the tree was there before your property was built. The important thing here is to establish your property's boundary lines, which will be contained within the deeds to your property or by contacting the Land Registry office.

There are two provisos here, however:

  • Firstly, you must ensure that the tree in question is not protected by a tree preservation order. These orders are granted by your local authority’s environment department and make it illegal to fell, uproot, prune or lop off any part of a protected tree without the express consent of the local authority. Should you do that without permission and the tree was protected by a preservation order, you could be liable to a fine of up to £30,000 or twice the value of the timber of the tree, whichever was the greater.
  • Secondly, if you do have the right to chop off the offending branches, it is your duty to return them to your neighbour.

Recoup costs from neighbour

If the problem you’re experiencing lies within the tree’s roots, you are also entitled to remove any roots which are invading your property. If they are very deep, you could decide to get a professional to come in and remove them for you, and then recoup your costs by claiming on the tree owner’s household insurance policy.

What your neighbour is NOT liable for

One of the important things to remember is that your neighbour would not be liable for any damage caused to your property with respect to any fallen leaves that might damage your lawn, block your drains or block your gutters, nor can he be held responsible for any trips or slips caused by wet leaves on your driveway.

With a fir tree that doesn’t shed its leaves, however, this won’t present a problem, but it’s worth bearing in mind for those who may have similar problems with other types of trees owned by neighbours. In other words, apart from overhanging branches and potentially damaging roots, there are other legitimate reasons why you may seek to cut down part of neighbour’s tree which is encroaching upon your property or in danger of causing other damage to it.

The best suggestion is to have another chat with your neighbour and try to resolve the issue amicably. You may need to explain to him that you know your rights, and should they physically try to prevent you from removing parts of their tree which is on your property, then seek further advice from your local environment department.

There is a full Action Guide here which is a great reference point for further advice.

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Hi. We have a footpath between our house and our meighbours wall. However their tree roots have grown underneath the footpath and pushed back two of our housebricks below the damp course. Is there anything we can do?
beth - 10-Nov-20 @ 1:38 PM
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tell - 7-Nov-20 @ 4:19 PM
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Bali - 20-Oct-20 @ 1:17 PM
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Nat - 26-Aug-20 @ 9:07 PM
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Joel - 11-Aug-20 @ 11:45 PM
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kathy - 10-Aug-20 @ 2:24 PM
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kathy - 10-Aug-20 @ 2:20 PM
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Patsy - 13-Jul-20 @ 2:32 AM
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Brown Owl - 5-Jul-20 @ 7:41 AM
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Rain - 20-Jun-20 @ 8:53 PM
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I give up - 16-Jun-20 @ 4:17 PM
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Roby - 8-Jun-20 @ 8:36 PM
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Smudge - 1-Jun-20 @ 9:40 AM
It started with my brother cutting the neighbour tree, the neighbour said he wanted it cut, so my brother cut them down abit as they were overhanging our garden. My brother than asked if he wanted the branches back.the neighbour said we could throw them over. However my brother was busy with work being it a pandemic and he being a key worker. The council had moaned about the mess in the garden that wasn’t even ours. So I decided I would slot the tree branches into the tree we had cut so that it didn’t hurt anyone. Then the wind picked up and the next day the neighbour knocked on the door and said I got it in his garden and has been moaning even now. My mum broke her back recently and I been trying to help but I haven’t been feeling well since October last year. My only guess that the neighbor is Angry maybe it damaged a plant when the wind hit it but I think. Am I liable for a plant damaged by his tree branch from his tree.
Trying to help - 24-May-20 @ 9:10 PM
Hi there, I wonder if you could help me. When I purchased a bungalow 8 years ago there were 2 x silver birch tree at the end of my next door neighbour garden which do look nice but, I've noticed that they have been planted over there boundary line in the farmers field (and a good chance without permission) these have been here years but I was wondering who would legally own them now? Would it be the farmer who's land there on or the property who planted them? There about 400mm over the boundary and a right sun block on our property on an evening. Any help would be much appreciated.
Twinkle - 12-May-20 @ 5:30 PM
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Lindy - 30-Apr-20 @ 11:39 AM
Abbey, your neighbour is allowed to cut anything that overhangs the boundary, and they should then offer to return to you whatever they have cut off (you are not obliged to accept it). Obviously beyond that they should not be entering or damaging your property without permission.If that is the case I would be politely but firmly asking her to stop.Take photos.
Clive - 18-Mar-20 @ 4:19 PM
I have a tree in my back garden and the neighbour is leaning over cutting down rather large branches and throwing them back over to our garden is this allowed? There is quite a feud over it she is leaning over to cut them when nobody is around. I have two small children here and it's dangerous. Could you help please where do I stand we both own our own properties ahead havnt asked permission or anything she has just simply took it upon herself it doesn't affect any gutters or anything like that it's at the back of the garden APPROX15 foot away from the house. Thanks
Abbey - 16-Mar-20 @ 9:21 AM
I have two problems with two different neighbours; 1- One at the back of my house who has a set of tall fur trees with their trunks are with 3 inches from my fence. The roots of the trees have now lifting the fence up and pushing my fence away. I have asked them very politely to remove the trees and I offered them contribution towards removing the trees and plant new trees away from my fence. Apart from cutting the tip of the trees, they don't want to do anything about it.This has been going on for the past 30 years and I don't know what to do. 2- At the time of construction of the propertied in the 60th, the sewage manhole that belongs to my neighbour on the right side of my property has been located within my property. This has been causing some problems whenever there is a blockage. It either flowing over out into my garden or men have to come into my property to deal with it. Do I have the right to ask my neighbour to relocate the manhole to within the boundary of their property? Grateful if you could let me have your advice on the above two problems. Best regards Khatab
K - 20-Jan-20 @ 11:11 AM
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PONGO - 3-Nov-19 @ 10:19 PM
10-4-19 We live in Minnesota and have a problem with out neighbor who blindly let a black walnut (deposited by squirrel) take root in his yard, about 2 feet from our property line. This was 5 years ago and the damn thing has grown like a weed, not to mention it's a toxic tree (a toxin called lugone is in this tree, which generally kills all vegetation near it). Long story short, it's now about 40 ft. high with branches that we had to spend a lot of money to trim last year, as he would not do it. They encroached onto our yard horribly and continue to do so every year. We cannot continue to pay for his tree trimming but we see no end in sight. Furthermore, we are alarmed at the fast growth rate and roots, which contain the toxin, will begin to travel near our deck and foundation. We've tried talking to him and he gets very angry, even going so far as to blast and berate my husband for almost 20 minutes about the situation. This is the same guy who, when we put in a new wood fence surrounding our property, 2014, my husband noticed buck thorn growing on his property in the corner of ours. Buckthorn is strictly illegal in Minnesota and when seen, must be removed immediately. This guy once again, shouted at my husband for pulling it out as he tried to explain to the neighbor what this bush was. Neighbor is from Scotland and clearly doesn't have a clue about trees, gardens nor taking care of one's own property! We are disgusted and have spent our time and money with this guy. Any suggestions. Our main concern is the fast pace of which the Black Walnut Tree is growing and the encroachment to our property up the road. Just to let you know, Black Walnut Tree has killed all my prize hostas, snowball bush, which was over 25 yrs. old and other perennials due to the tree being too close to the property line and excreting the toxin, not only in the roots, but from the leaves also, most of which fall into our yard in the Fall. Help From Minnesota?
TERRY - 4-Oct-19 @ 10:38 PM
My neighbour planted a conifer years ago when they moved in right against my fence which separates mine and their property as it is a terraced house. The fence panels have been replaced 3 times due to wear n tear. However the tree now is well over 8 metres high over hanging the 6’ fence, the tree is that big n bushy it has forced the fence panel to warp and rot - it overhangs my shed roof which was built before the tree was planted-the roof of the shed is wet thro, I often sweep all the dead debris up and put it back over the fence after all it is their mess their tree their property. There is no reasoning with these people - they own their property as we do, who could I contact to come and look at this problem, as it also roughly 6’ away from my house would the roots be growing under my house to cause more problems.
Bletch - 2-Oct-19 @ 4:29 PM
I moved into a council property where there is a huge willow tree I've been here 8 years and the tree has grown so big it's not managblethe council have told me because I rent from them it's my resposability to look after this tree as I don't own the land how do i stand in removing this tree
Kazzy - 16-Sep-19 @ 9:26 AM
We have asked my neighbour to prune a tree which has been planted, adjacent to the fence next to my extension 200 mm, since we built our extension, first he put trellis on top of the two metre fence,now this tree bush is growing higher than the fence to a height of about four metres high and bangs in the wind on my extension. what can I do ?
Busher - 31-Aug-19 @ 6:05 PM
My neighbours 40 year old willow tree branch has fallen into my garden but is still attached to the trunk. As she like me is elderly I hesitate to speak to her about it but as this tree is so old and very tall I wonder how safe the other branches are. Are they about to fall too?
Ba - 1-Aug-19 @ 8:29 AM
My neighbours shrub is growing five feet into my garden along the fence.Is he liable to cut it down in my garden?If not can I cut down as much as I can and throw it into his garden.Your advice would be appreciated.
Fedup - 13-Jul-19 @ 7:09 PM
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