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)
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.
I bought my house in 2007. At the back of my property are several oak trees which are on neighbours land and form part of a group of trees which are subject to a TPO.
The girth of one of the trees has naturally increased and now touches my back fence. Over the coming years it will undoubtedly continue growing and I suspect will break my fence and damage some raised borders in my garden which are just in front of said fence.
There is no house on my neighbours land at the moment and the woman who owns the land seems very reasonable however the council are extremely protective of this group of trees (even though they are quite unsightly and of mixed health) and I suspect they will push back against any removal of the tree.
What is my legal position regarding trees which are protected by a TPO, but which are (or will) cause damage to a neighbouring property?
hutch - 5-Sep-23 @ 2:05 PM
About ten years ago my neighbour took a dislike to a specimen tree growing near the boundary in my garden and had it cut down while I was out at work. The police initially said it was a civil matter, then that it was technically criminal damage but not in the public interest for them to take any action. I planted a replacement tree in a different location, and kept it trimmed back so it does not encroach on the boundary. In recent weeks (late spring) I have noticed the leaves turning brown and crispy. Today I'm fairly sure I saw my neighbour deliberately spraying the replacement tree with weedkiller - whatever the substance was, they were also using it to spray the paths in their garden. Reluctant to contact the police again as they are clearly not interested - advice on any other legal remedies appreciated.
Finalstraw - 27-Jun-23 @ 3:33 PM
Why are people posting there gripes!!??...is anybody actually getting the advice they are after!??
Really - 7-Dec-22 @ 9:30 AM
if a large group trees are so close to another property they overshadow it block light, and they catch fire and in turn burn down the adjacent property who is responsible
curly - 15-Nov-22 @ 5:45 PM
I own my home ive been here 40 years. My neighbours are the housing association Bernicia i Replaced the fence all around my boundary years ago. The rented neighbour planted trees 10 years ago, leylandi and conifers and acers, which have grown huge. As long as I maintained in the door cause damage to my property.They also put Cane on my fence But didn’t ask us. The trees are now overgrown they have pushed to the fence and offence fence The trees are now overgrown they have pushed to the fence and the fence is now wobby and brealing only in the parts where the trees are. The housing association said that they have no garden regulations or policies and that disputes over fences is between the neighbours not them, why should I have to pay for fence replaced with a new fence for it to be damaged by their tenant? There is another beighnour whos has the same problem, The tree is broke the fence at the back of her garden and it took them five years to move the trees and they let her pay for a new fence when it shoukd have been bernicia/tenant as they broke it. I think it’s on fair that let the tenants Planttrees in that aren’t maintained that aren’t kept within the height that makes it easy man to maintain and allows it to grow and push over fences on neighbours boundaries. This is a small garden. Delete any of us do what I like and then brush off of responsibility and it’s not fair I don’t wanna pay £2400 for a new friends in six months time for Trees to be doing the same thing again.
PatTyS - 13-Aug-22 @ 8:51 PM
Inwon my home ive been here 40 years. My name is Home is on fire the housing association Bernicia
Replace the fence all around my boundary years ago. Some neighbours pmabtes trees 10 years ago, leylandi and conifers and acers, which have grown huge. They also put Cane on my fence But didn’t ask us. The trees are now overgrown they have pushed to the fence and offence fence The trees are now overgrown they have pushed to the fence and the fence is now wobby and brealing only in the parts where the trees are.
The houskng association said that they have no garden regulations or policies and that disputes over fences is between the neighbours not them, why should I have to pay for fence replaced with a new fence for it to be damaged by their tenant?
There is another beighnour whos has the same problem, The tree is broke the fence at the back of her garden and it took them five years to move the trees and they let her pay for a new fence when it shoukd have been bernicia/tenant as they broke it.
I think it’s on fair that let the tenants Planttrees in that aren’t maintained that aren’t kept within the height that makes it easy man to maintain and allows it to grow and push over fences on neighbours boundaries. This is a small garden.
Delete any of us do what I like and then brush off of responsibility and it’s not fair I don’t wanna pay £2400 for a new friends in six months time for Trees to be doing the same thing again.
PATTYs - 13-Aug-22 @ 8:48 PM
Hi, next-doors tree is growing into our tree & said tree branches are over our garden, over our pond & the greenhouse.Unfortunately the neighbour died, the house has since been sold (over a month ago) as yet there's no sign of the new neighbour to ask permission to enter the garden to cut down said overhanging branches.
Can you please advise us of what our next course of action should/can be?
Barry, Swindon, Wiltshire, UK
Baz - 6-Jul-22 @ 8:16 PM
My neighbour, which is a church, has a tree in his garden. The tree is quite tall and its branches are laying over my roof and creating moss over the roof. I know had to hire someone to come in and scrape of the moss from the roof floor. I haven't approached my neighbour yet as I have been cutting bits and pieces from my side in the past but now some of the branches are too high for me to safely perform the trimming. By law should my neighbour maintaining his/her tree and be held liable for the moss? I wanted to ask before I approach them. Many thanks.
mossy - 28-Sep-21 @ 1:11 PM
Neighbour has a conifer tree right under window , which is now as high as the bedroom on first floor . My concern is can this cause structural problems because we a linked to them ( semi detached) if it grows any higher or problems withthe roots under my house ?
Thank you x
Concerned in Coventr - 10-Aug-21 @ 1:48 PM
Neighbours have tree taller than house which drops yellow petals/seeds,his side of house is to our back of house we cannot have windows open as all these seeds enter. They are even in front bedrooms. They block the drains on roads which then cause blockages. He’s not interested in cutting down.
Ei - 23-Jul-21 @ 5:35 PM
I realised my tree part got dry and brunches died. I removed died brunches. I looked over the fence outside into my neighbours garden my trees roots were growing intoto their shed . The brunch was broken and looked dry too. I think my neighbour tried to poisoning roots and caused a damage to my tree in my garden. What to do with this issue?
Natalia - 20-Jun-21 @ 3:08 AM
Hi. Our "over the back" neighbours keep trying rope around ours trees, to create a make shift washing line. To do this, their rope is from their house, across their garden, OVER their shed/shed roof, across our fence / boundary finally being tied around our tree. I've cut the rope, but they have just done it again. They haven't spoken to us about it, they haven't asked if they can do it. They know who we are and where we live, but have made no effort to talk to us. Am I within my rights to keep cutting the rope?
BB31 - 17-Apr-21 @ 2:52 PM
The pathalongside my house is 1 metre wide and the neighbour has a fir tree right next to the fence which is now taller than my house. The branches are knocking on the sloping roof of my bedroom when there is a wind. The adjoining fence to our properties, just a metre away, is on a small brick wall, which has now been split by the roots of the tree. Above this is a concrete panel, also now split, and then a wooden fence which is now being pushed out towards my path. I have asked the neighbour ( with whom I am on good terms)now 6 times to attend to the problem but nothing has been done. What can I do now, and what are his responsibilities? I am 78 years old and don't want any hassle but the problem is really getting me down.
Labrador - 15-Jan-21 @ 9:47 AM
I'm in Ca, neighbor behind us (40 years) has 4 over grown eucalyptus trees and 3 Queen palms. Whatever comes up from the ground is not managed so becomes a huge mess, it has become a complete block of the sun for us. We frequently call code enforcement to force him to remove the dead leaves, brush, the constant fire hazard, etc. and now have a rat, squirrel, possum & raccoon population which has my dog barking constantly at all hours. We have constant branch damage, we've replaced our patio, water fountain and the fence we share with him all at our expense. My grass & plants have all died due to the eucalyptus trees taking all sun, water and have been told plants cant compete with them as they have a toxic oil to the soil. We would like to know legally what our options are as we have spent 40 years being nice and we have lost thousands of dollars accomplishing nothing.
Shell - 11-Dec-20 @ 9:01 PM
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
There is council owned land at the bottom of my garden [ a reservation area] recently a branch from a very tall pine tree fell in a gail and damaged my shed and fence. I had previously got in touch with the council regarding the fact that the tree was leaning towards my property. I got in touch with the council regarding the damage. The damage was inspected by someone from the council and I was told they had put it in the hands of there insurance. Despit getting back in touch with the council I still haven't had anything back from them or there insurance what are my rights regarding this.
tell - 7-Nov-20 @ 4:19 PM
Hi I brought a house neighbours had a tree in garden I was evening garden out pulled roots out council came out and said I can be fined for pulling roots out when tree is on the neighbours garden the tree is protected the council say what is going to happen now
Bali - 20-Oct-20 @ 1:17 PM
my next door neighbours rent the house which has more than doubled in height and width in 20 years i have lived hereI have paid several times to jhave the overhanging branchescut down now they are worse than ever and have spread to almost half way across my garden Do i have some sort of right to have it cut right back
Barbara - 5-Sep-20 @ 1:59 PM
Neighbour is currently up for sale. He has a sycamore tree in his garden very close to our fence the roots are now quite visibly in our garden. Probably span 1/2m by 1/2m, so quite a big area and that’s all we can see, we know there are roots much lower into the ground. They are stopping us from plantingand very close to our patio. The roots are being to grow Sycamore off shoots We’d like it removed- where do we stand in terms of cost? Can we claim from his insurance ? We have a cordially relationship with them any advice would be greatly appreciated
Frustrated - 1-Sep-20 @ 7:35 AM
I have a neighbour who has a very big pine tree and all the pine needles are Shedding into my gutters and blocking them. The pine needles and acorns fall all over the garden and pathway making it dangerous for me to walk and risk falling. I need your advice what to do ?
Nat - 26-Aug-20 @ 9:07 PM
So let me get this straight - the maximum height I can build an outbuilding within 2m of a boundary is 2.5m or else I need planning and my neighbours permission, but I can plant an 80 foot tree ON the boundary and that's perfectly ok??
Who comes up with this drivel.....?
Joel - 11-Aug-20 @ 11:45 PM
I need advice regarding next door neighbour tree, which is about 60ft and hangs more on my garden than theirs. i am constantly sweeping up needles and it has killed loads of plants and grass. also there are loose branches which are dangerous. when i managed to get hold of owner, his aunt lives there, he just took my number and has not got back to me. i am an old age pension and feel worried when it is windy in case a branch blows down. many have done so, one having broke fence of neighbour other side of me.what are my rights? the coucil when contacted said not their problem as not a council property. am very angry and worried over situation,. any advice/help please.
kathy - 10-Aug-20 @ 2:24 PM
my next door neighbour has a huge tree whose branches or more in my garden than theirs. it is at least 60ft high and my garden is constantly covered in needles. also there are several loose branches that are hazarous. ii contacted the owner, his own lives there, he took my phone number, but have had no response. i contacted the council who were no help at all, stating that is the property is not council they wont help. i am an old age pensioner and i am afraid to go near the tree for fear of falling branches when it is windy. any advice please.t
kathy - 10-Aug-20 @ 2:20 PM
A neighbour who lives two doors away has made some comments to me re a tree at the bottom of my garden. He was quite sarcastic & seemed annoyed that it obscured the sunshine for part of the day. I wouldn’t mind so much but he has a 120 foot garden to move around in & chase the sunshine. I’m less inclined than ever to trim it back but i’m not sure if i’m breaking any rules.
Missy - 6-Aug-20 @ 11:20 AM
my nieghbour is planting 4 conifer trees 2ft away from my property is there anything i can do about this ?
Neat - 4-Aug-20 @ 12:43 PM
Hi my neighbour planted a tree 40years ago but has planted it dead in the middle of my garden and theirsand now it's not only grown half in my garden s that big it now blocks sun in my garden and not theirs its killed all my grass but not theirs its affected my garden more and more each year is there anything I could do for the tree to be cut down.
Patsy - 13-Jul-20 @ 2:32 AM
Hi, Unknown’s to us, our neighbour planted a eucalyptus tree right next to our fence. Three years on and it has grown almost as tall as our house and drops leaves and bark all over our garden, in fact it hangs more in our garden than his, it also emits an awful smell. Can I insist he removes it holds no benefit to him as it may as well be in our garden. Hope this makes sense.
Brown Owl - 5-Jul-20 @ 7:41 AM
I have a very disrespectfull neighbour who I cant communicate their plants taking over my shed roofs and damaged their trees and roots fences broken damaged all fences and posts.have pets they can’t control they get in to my garden and inside of my house I’m allergic to cats any help ??
Rain - 20-Jun-20 @ 8:53 PM
Hello, my next door neighbour has a tree growing about 5ft away from our houses on the other side of our fence growing rapidly, if it is left there it would definitely damage hers & my foundationsas were mid terrace,
With its roots we do not speak as I find my neighbour unapproachable, I own my property while she is renting from the council is there anything I can do help very much appreciated.
I give up - 16-Jun-20 @ 4:17 PM
I have a neighbour that has 2 huge oak trees in her garden growing way above our houses. We have relatively small gardens. I get no sunlight from 11amtill 3pm. The huge branches are growing over my garden but are so out of control we cant get at them. Any advice please