Neighbour's Tree Disputes
Neighbour's Tree Disputes
Tree Related Dispute and Conflict Resolution between Neighbours
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London Neighbour Disputes Services - Help and Advice

Nuisance and dangerous trees, hedges and vegetation on adjacent properties can be a source of never ending conflict between neighbours, causing bitter disputes and even leading to legal action.

Common Sources of Neighbour Disputes Related to Trees and Hedges include

If talking to your neighbour has not resolved the problem, then take advice from your local council. Many council websites have masses of information on Tree Law. If the problem has already caused property damage, your first port of call is your insurance company who will appoint a professional consulting arborist, such as ourselves, to produce a report or survey. No matter what the problem, we are on hand to provide professional assistance. We have a thorough knowledge of Legal Judgements relating to Trees and have mediated in many neighbour disputes, acting as an Expert Witness when necessary. We find that our involvement in this type of dispute often leads to a resolution before legal action is taken. For your information, we have provided answers to common questions lower down on the page.

We have been providing professional tree consulting services for more than 30 years and have many happy customers. Our well deserved reputation is built on providing our clients with first class customer service at very affordable prices.

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Overhanging Branches

Your neighbour has no legal obligation to remove overhanging branches on your property. You have the common law right to remove branches back to the boundary wall. Before you dispose of the branches, you must first offer them back to your neighbour as they are his property.

However, if the tree subsequently dies as a result of pruning, then the owner of the tree may decide to sue you for compensation.

If the offending tree has a TPO or in a Conservation Area, you will need permission from the council to carry out any work.

Tree Root Trespass

Common law allows you to cut back your neighbours encroaching roots as long as there is no Tree Preservation Order or Conservation Area issues.

In this is the case case you will need to apply to the local council for permission to carry out the work. However, be warned that cutting the tree roots may affect the health of the tree, even killing it, leading to a compensation claim from your neighbour.

If in doubt please get in touch with us in order to get the work carried out by our preferred Tree Surgeons.

Neighbour's Tree Blocking Light

There is no automatic right to light or a view in law. The right to light may be earned under the Prescriptions Act 1832 by which a person must have enjoyed light to a window in the dwelling for 20 years before the obstruction appeared.

Redress must then have been sought in court within 12 months of the light being blocked or the right will be forfeited.

However, if the offending trees can be considered to be a High Hedge then treatment under the law is different.

Neighbour's High Hedges

The Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003 deals with complaints about high hedges provided that the offending hedge meets the following criteria - The hedge must be in a line of two or more predominantly evergreen or semi-evergreen trees or shrubs and be 2 metres or more in height. Additionally, it must be blocking the light or access to the home or garden. If these criteria are met, then you can ask the council to intervene and issue a remedial notice ordering work to be done.

We can produce a High Hedge professional arborist report which may help the council reach the desired decision.

Neighbour's Leaves in my Garden

This is probably one of the most contentious issues to come across which, as far as can be ascertained, has not been fully answered by common or statute law.

It is generally regarded to be unreasonable to burden a tree owner with being responsible for autumn leaf fall.

It is felt that the courts would be relatively uninterested in granting remedy for such minor complaints, viewing leaf fall and the sweeping of leaves as just a normal part of life.

Tree Roots and Drains

Tree roots do not have the ability to break into well maintained drains however they often grow in profusion around underground pipe work where condensation naturally occurs.

However if a drain is cracked or ill-fitting roots can penetrate the system which can ultimately cause blockages.

It is important to note that any woody plant can invade a broken drain in this way. Should the drains not be repaired blockages will continue periodically. It is often the cheaper option to repair drains than remove large trees.

Tree Root Subsidence

Neighbours roots can often lead to substantial building damage damage by growing under foundations or, more commonly, causing the soil to dry out resulting in subsidence.

Your insurance should be your first point of call, who will appoint a structural engineer to assess the damage.

We are on hand to provide Tree Root Subsidence Reports to BS 5837:2012 and can also act as an Expert Witness should litigation be involved.

Read more on Tree Root Subsidence.

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Neighbour's Dangerous Tree

The definition of 'dangerous' is ambiguous. A tree is not dangerous because it is tall or has a wide, spreading crown.

You should contact a specialist tree consultant who will produce a a BS 5837 Dangerous Tree Report . Once the facts have been established, your neighbour can be asked to rectify the problem.

If your neighbour takes no action and damage to your property results then you ay take action through the courts for compensation and an injunction requiring the owner to take appropriate action to rectify the problem.

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