Overhanging Trees and Hedges
If your neighbour has trees or high hedges near your border, it’s possible that at some point without proper care, they could begin to encroach into your garden. We know that this can affect the enjoyment of your garden and even create hazards due to overhanging branches. In this guide we’ll explain the options available to you to reclaim your space.
- Speak to your neighbour
The most important first step is to discuss the issue informally with your neighbour. Not only is this the simplest and cheapest option, it is also a step that councils will require you take before you raise a formal complaint.
It helps to have the facts clear in your mind before speaking to your neighbour. Check the location of the tree or hedge against your property documents to be certain of ownership: a tree or hedge straddling a border is the joint responsibility of residents on each side.
Remember to keep good documentation of the discussions you have with your neighbour so that everyone is on the same page.
- Prune the tree or hedge yourself
If for whatever reason you’re unable to reach a solution with your neighbour, you are still entitled to take action yourself. If a tree or hedge is growing over your land, you are allowed to cut it back to the border line, even if that requires you to climb into the tree to do so. It is worth noting that your neighbour continues to own the tree, even the pieces you cut off! So you should ask your neighbour’s permission before disposing of them.
You should be careful to check that the tree is not covered by a Tree Protection Order or Conservation Area before undertaking any work yourself.
- Hire a professional
You could be held liable if you create lasting damage to your neighbour’s hedge or tree, so employing the services of a professional is often the best approach. If you want the best results, or if the job is beyond your abilities, you should hire a professional tree surgeon to cut the hedge or tree back for you.
We provide a range of residential tree and hedge maintenance services and would be happy to talk you through your options. If the tree is covered by a conservation area or a Tree Protection Order, we’ll even take care of the council applications on your behalf.
- Contact your council
If you’re still unable to resolve the issue, it may be time to involve your council. They may suggest a mediator for you and your neighbour to help settle the issue amicably. Failing that, it may be time to lodge a formal complaint. Your council’s website will provide guidance on how to do this, but they will want to know that you’ve attempted to resolve the issue informally first. The council will charge a fee to complain, typically around £400, to avoid frivolous claims.
The tree or hedge will need to be over 2m tall, and you’ll need to be able to demonstrate that it is already affecting the enjoyment of your garden.
The council will review both sides of the dispute, and either reject your claim or issue a notice for the work to be undertaken, specifying when and how the work should be completed. They cannot order that a hedge or tree be entirely removed, or order work that would result in the death of a hedge or tree.