Neighbours overhanging branches disagreement

Neighbours overhanging branches disagreement

Postby Coniferman » Wed Feb 19, 2014 5:23 pm

This is the situation.

I have lived in my house for 6 months. Prior to that it was rented out for 15 years by the previous owners who live in America and are therefore uncontactable.
One of my neighbours, who's back garden backs onto the left hand side of my back garden, has owned their house for 3 1/2 years and rents it out.

There is a large conifer on the left hand side in our back garden (at the back of the neighbours garden) that has basically been left to grow wild in all the time our house was occupied by tenants. It is so mis-shapen that a huge branch now protrudes right out about 8 feet or more (almost at a right angle) into the neighbours garden. It almost looks like another conifer growing out sideways from the conifer planted in the ground. Now obviously the neighbour hasn't been able to speak to the previous owners as they've been uncontactable in America.

He's saying as it's my tree that I should pay to have it cut back on his side. I'm saying that anything that is on his side he is welcome to cut back himself up to the boundary. Obviously the off-cuts are my property and as an act of goodwill I will offer to pay for the clear-up and removal (In other words share the cost with him).
He's saying I should pay the whole cost myself (which seems very much to me like asking me to pay to do his gardening for him and seems a little unfair).

Can anybody advise where we both stand in this unique situation.

Many thanks.
Coniferman
 
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Re: Neighbours overhanging branches disagreement

Postby MacadamB53 » Wed Feb 19, 2014 6:12 pm

Hi Coniferman,

Unfortunately for your neighbour's wallet, you have correctly informed him the (pretty obvious) fact that if he wants to do something about the overhang then he's going to have to pay.

Are you dead set on keeping the tree for some reason? (you don't give the impression either way in your posting).

Kind regards, Mac
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Re: Neighbours overhanging branches disagreement

Postby COGGY » Wed Feb 19, 2014 8:58 pm

Surely this is what Coniferman has already done. He has offered to pay for the offcuts to be removed. The neighbour is asking Coniferman to pay for growth which appeared long before he purchased his property. How can this be fair? If the neighbour had dealt with this problem earlier (when he acquired his property) there would not be so much tree to be removed.

Kind regards
Coggy
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Re: Neighbours overhanging branches disagreement

Postby Coniferman » Wed Feb 19, 2014 11:03 pm

Thanks for your responses guys. So the view seems to be pretty much what I was thinking. How does this all stand up legally though?
I know that one can legally cut off the branches of a neighbours tree that is protruding into their garden up to the boundary. But does that person have a legal right to insist that the neighbour does the cutting back themselves with the argument that is their tree therefore it is their responsibility (however overgrown? I should point out that this is not small-scale over growing branches. The main central branch is of a similar diameter to the main trunk. It is a big job - one only for a professional which is going to cost.

As far as removing the tree entirely is concerned; I did discuss this with the neighbour and pointed out I would need to discuss this with my wife first before making a decision. And our decision is that we would like to keep it at least for the short-term, mid-term and maybe beyond for privacy reasons. I also understand that the tenants in that property have mentioned that they would also like to keep it there for the same reasons. We wouldn't be able to make a final decision on that until we finally re-landscaped the garden which wouldn't happen until any extension or patio work is done at the back of our house. And that isn't happening any time soon.

Thanks again
Coniferman
 
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Re: Neighbours overhanging branches disagreement

Postby MacadamB53 » Wed Feb 19, 2014 11:35 pm

Hi Coniferman,

But does that person have a legal right to insist that the neighbour does the cutting back themselves with the argument that is their tree therefore it is their responsibility however overgrown?

Is this not the same question? The answer, as I'm sure you know, is no.

Kind regards, Mac
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Re: Neighbours overhanging branches disagreement

Postby Brainsey » Wed Feb 19, 2014 11:51 pm

Coniferman wrote: But does that person have a legal right to insist that the neighbour does the cutting back themselves with the argument that is their tree therefore it is their responsibility (however overgrown? It is a big job - one only for a professional which is going to cost.

Legal right? I don't know but I would hope so.

Moral right? Most certainly. Ignoring the complication of the changes of ownership; why should a neighbour having been inconvenienced by a tree owner allowing said tree to grow 'wild' into his garden be further burdened with any part of the cost of ridding himself of the unwanted tree incursion?
It's your tree. Keep it to yourself and if you can't or won't or haven't then the cost of sorting it out should fall to you.
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Re: Neighbours overhanging branches disagreement

Postby MacadamB53 » Thu Feb 20, 2014 12:07 am

Hi Brainsey,

Legal right? I don't know but I would hope so.sorry to disappoint you

Moral right? Most certainly.are you not confusing morality with civility?

why should a neighbour having been inconvenienced by a tree owner allowing said tree to grow 'wild' into his garden be further burdened with any part of the cost of ridding himself of the unwanted tree incursion?the inconvenience is subjective, so too is the decision to rid himself
you also seem to assume tree owners are tree planters

It's your tree. Keep it to yourself and if you can't or won't or haven't then the cost of sorting it out should fall to you.sorting what out? my neighbour's request to keep the land he bought beside a tree clear of overhanging branches?

Kind regards, Mac
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Re: Neighbours overhanging branches disagreement

Postby Treeman » Thu Feb 20, 2014 8:40 am

Coniferman wrote:
Can anybody advise where we both stand in this unique situation.

Many thanks.


Disregarding the above

Sorry to disappoint you but your situation is far from unique.

You seem to have a good grasp of the legal situation, you don't have to act unless there is on going damage.
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Re: Neighbours overhanging branches disagreement

Postby Brainsey » Thu Feb 20, 2014 9:47 am

Yes, I too noticed that unique situation that really is not; however this has been exacerbated by the two absent landlords.

Sometimes the legal position differs markedly from what is simply the decent thing to do. You didn't plant the tree but you did buy it with the house and with that goes some responsibility for the management of the tree. My opinion, with which some will disagree :roll: , is that you should not grow any part of your tree where it is not wanted; any part that is growing in that manner where removal is requested and requires professional work to do so should be at your expense.
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Re: Neighbours overhanging branches disagreement

Postby Brainsey » Thu Feb 20, 2014 11:08 am

nothingtodowithme wrote:Well I for one agree with you brainsy!
Good day.

8)
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Re: Neighbours overhanging branches disagreement

Postby Coniferman » Thu Feb 20, 2014 11:13 am

So there is a difference of opinion even on here it seems....

At least even with a difference of opinion amongst such knowledgeable experts in this field, it still gives me hope for striking up a compromise with my neighbour. It's a pity I couldn't find the definitive answer here.
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Re: Neighbours overhanging branches disagreement

Postby Mojisola » Thu Feb 20, 2014 11:39 am

Coniferman wrote:So there is a difference of opinion even on here it seems....

At least even with a difference of opinion amongst such knowledgeable experts in this field, it still gives me hope for striking up a compromise with my neighbour. It's a pity I couldn't find the definitive answer here.


You have - by law, your neighbour has to deal with any overhanging branches that he doesn't want in his garden.

If you want to make sure the job is done professionally or you're happy to pay for the work or to share the cost of the work, that's a different issue from the legal position.
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Re: Neighbours overhanging branches disagreement

Postby COGGY » Thu Feb 20, 2014 11:45 am

Obviously I cannot speak for everyone else on the forum, but speaking for myself I am most definitely not "an expert". I have learnt a great deal from reading on here what people I would describe as "experts" have to say. I also try to apply commonsense and the knowledge I have gained from life.

One thing I have learnt is that even "experts" can disagree. Otherwise we would not need Courts and Appeals.

Kind regards
Coggy
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Re: Neighbours overhanging branches disagreement

Postby arsie » Thu Feb 20, 2014 12:23 pm

Coniferman wrote:So there is a difference of opinion even on here it seems....

At least even with a difference of opinion amongst such knowledgeable experts in this field, it still gives me hope for striking up a compromise with my neighbour. It's a pity I couldn't find the definitive answer here.


Coniferman, two things I would say.

The only expert comment here is by Treeman - short and to the point: if your tree isn't causing damage you are legally in the clear.

The varied opinions from us amateurs about how to act to be neighbourly are to be expected - there is no 'definitive answer' to this.

The law is clear and your understanding of it is correct. How neighbourly you want to be, in terms of expense, is your call. It will cost a fair few £hundreds for professionals to carry out this surgery on your tree. The off-cuttings are legally yours whoever organises the work. If your neighbour wants to remove any branches on his side, he is legally allowed to do so. But the off-cuts are your property - it's your tree. The neighbour is supposed to offer the off-cuts to you. If you refuse them, as you may, they are then the neighbour's responsibility for disposal. Often the tree professionals will take them away.

Whether and how much you contribute to the costs in this is entirely at your discretion.
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Re: Neighbours overhanging branches disagreement

Postby MacadamB53 » Thu Feb 20, 2014 12:52 pm

MacadamB53 wrote:Hi Coniferman,

Unfortunately for your neighbour's wallet, you have correctly informed him the (pretty obvious) fact that if he wants to do something about the overhang then he's going to have to pay.

Are you dead set on keeping the tree for some reason? (you don't give the impression either way in your posting).

Kind regards, Mac

Hi Coniferman,

I posted this with an hour of you raising your query, since which time no one has stated anything to the contrary.

There have been "should be law" comments which are just opinions being aired.
There have been recommendations about practical, neighbourly ways forward (regardless of the legal position).
All valid and good.

Only you can decide what to do, Mac
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