Problem with your neighbours overhanging tree – Blackheath
020 3137 4996
Is your neighbours tree overhanging into your garden?
If you share a border with a neighbour you may have your neighbours tree or trees over hanging into your garden. You may believe that all parts of the tree on your side of the boundary are yours, to do with whatever you choose, but there are a couple of legal factors to consider before you act.
In addition it is important to always act in a neighbourly way; these sort of issues can get out of hand very quickly so it is crucial to communicate with your neighbour before you start hacking away at the tree with an axe .That way you can avoid getting into a full blown row and descending into a neighbours from hell scenario.
According to law, the tree belongs to your neighbour. This means that any branches overhanging your property or any fruit on the trees do not actually belong to you even though it is over your side.
You should speak to your neighbour before you take action. Ask if it is ok to cut back the branches on your side, or if it is OK to pick their fruit (failure to do so is technically theft).
Ask if they want the cut branches and trimmings back. Under no account remove branches and throw them back over the boundary. As well as being an inflammatory gesture, you could be fined for fly tipping.
If you have decided to prune the tree, you need to ensure that you do not venture over the boundary. If you damage the tree by over enthusiastic pruning, you could be liable for paying for a replacement if you severely damage the tree. The tree belongs to your neighbour so you have no rights to damage it, just because it is a nuisance to you.
It is important to know whether the tree has a preservation order. If you start chopping away at a protected tree, it will be seen as an offence under section 210 or 211 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and you will face a fine.
It might seem unfair but any work to an overhanging tree on your property is down to you to pay for. If you do have to call in a tree surgeon, it will be you who foots the bill and not your neighbour. This can be the safest option but it is likely to be expensive and many people will feel that it is unfair even though this is a legal obligation that applies to you.
Sometimes there may be some confusion as to who owns the tree if it forms part of your border. In these cases you have to check out the land registry in order to ascertain ownership. If it is yours, you can do what you like with the tree. If it is your neighbour’s tree, you will have to treat it as such and only cut it back on your side of the boundary.
Finally, the key to good neighbourliness is communication. You need to speak with your neighbours and discuss the problem. You may find that they are happy to share the costs of any pruning work. They may offer to help you remove the offending branches.
In an ideal world, most neighbour disputes can often be sorted out with some mutual understanding, a cup of tea or a bottle of wine. The important thing when it comes to these common problem of overhanging trees is that everyone can see both viewpoints and that any cutting back on your side of the fence does not cause damage to your neighbours trees and property