Boundary moved to put trees on my land

Boundary moved to put trees on my land

Postby Norgoose » Fri Apr 10, 2015 1:06 am

I am having problems with my neighbour over a boundary and tree ownership.

The previous owners of my property bought an area of land from the neighbouring hotel group 50 years ago, at the time of purchase a wire mesh fence was erected along the measured boundary on our side close to a row of trees on the hotel group land.

I have lived here for 21 years and had no boundary problems until the hotel group sold the rest of their land 12 years ago, the new owners use the property as marina and camp site.10 years ago the marina owners flattened the boundary fence with excavators while carrying out work, they replaced the fence after the work was completed but erected it on their land behind the trees and this put the trees our side of the new fence. I didn't give it much thought until problems arose earlier this year, I was just pleased to get the fence back but am regretting not questioning it now.

The marina owner claims the trees are on my land and I am responsible for them and I should pay a tree surgeon to cut back branches, remove dead branches and cut down several dead trees. I pointed out that they were his trees on his land before he moved the fence to his side of the trees and showed him some of the remaining fence posts from the original fence to make it clear the trees were on his land, the trunks have grown (about 2 feet diameter now) and expanded over the original boundary line by 6 or 7 inches. Despite all my efforts he still insists they are my trees.

After 50 years of growth the tree trunks have grown considerably and less than one third of the diameter of the tree trunks at ground level is over our boundary but he still insists they are our responsibility. I explained to him that as only a small proportion of the trunks over the boundary it leads me to believe it is good evidence the trees were planted on his side and were his responsibility, he won't listen and still insists they are our trees.

The original boundary fence alignment has been measured and is correct, the land is registered to our property and the Land Registry title plan shows the boundary is on the same alignment as the original boundary fence and the only reference to boundaries in our deeds is 'as marked on title plan'.

He is almost ordering me to do what he wants and now considers they are dangerous and threatening to take action against me. I have checked and none of tree are subject to a TPO.

If I employ a solicitor to fight him it will probably end up costing me more than the cost of a tree surgeon, if I do nothing he will probably take legal action so I will need to employ a solicitor. Win or lose it seems it will cost me a fortune and I don't know how to handle the situation, it is making me ill.

Any opinions or suggestions welcomed. :cry:
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Re: Boundary moved to put trees on my land

Postby MacadamB53 » Fri Apr 10, 2015 1:16 am

Hi Norgoose,

Despite all my efforts he still insists they are my trees.

then they're none of his business and he can not dictate that you take any action at all.

it's like him ordering you to change your black car for a grey one - if the trees are your property why on earth does he think they have anything to do with him?!?! (apologies to 'arborlad' for the car analogy...).

if any branches or roots are encroaching across the boundary (accepting for the moment the fence defines the boundary) then he is perfectly entitled to exercise his right under common law to cut back those branches or roots to the boundary but he is not entitled to demand you do this for him.

Kind regards, Mac
PS if he employs a sols then unless he changes his stance about who owns the trees all you're ever going to get is hot air/bluster/bluff so don't spend any money hiring your own sols - just ignore.
edit: all the above assumes the trees are not in serious danger of falling over and causing damage to his property...
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Re: Boundary moved to put trees on my land

Postby arborlad » Fri Apr 10, 2015 10:12 am

Norgoose wrote:.... the marina owners flattened the boundary fence with excavators while carrying out work, they replaced the fence after the work was completed



Roughly what distance separated those two fences?
arborlad

smile...it confuses people
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Re: Boundary moved to put trees on my land

Postby Norgoose » Sat Apr 11, 2015 2:48 am

Thank you for your replies.

The tree trunks are at least 2 feet in diameter, more like 2.5 feet on some of the larger trees. Looking a the line of the original boundary the largest trees trunks have grown and expanded 6 or 7 inches over the boundary line.

The parallel sections of the wire fence between the trees is a distance of about 12 inches his side of the original boundary line, the trunks protrude beyond this onto his land and the fence wraps round them on his side making a distance from the original boundary line of about 2 feet at the largest trees.

It is obvious the trees were originally planted on his land and as they have grown the trunks have grown so big that they are over the original boundary line, he will not listen to reasoning, ignores the original boundary and continues to insist they are my trees as they are my side of the fence. He says he has just had a survey done on the trees and has a quote from a tree surgeon, £1500 to carry out the work he and his surveyor say responsible for. I asked for a copy of the survey and quote but was told they were verbal and he has nothing in writing, this is beginning smell a bit off!

He is complaining about leaves falling onto boats and says he does not like the trees being there, he has cut off over hanging braches in the past but says there are some that are too high for him to reach, he also says 2 or 3 of the trees look untidy and he wants those removed. I told him they were his trees so he could do what he liked with them, he didn't like that because it would mean he would have to pay to have the work done.

He has contacts in 'high' places and I am not sure how far he will go, he clearly has influence as every planning application he puts in is passed regardless of how many local objections there are. I feel I am between a rock and a hard place and not sure how to deal with this.

I am not sure but I think that by moving the boundary line and claiming the fence he erected is the now the true boundary could be considered false misrepresentation, I am not sure how I can clarify this.

Cheers :x
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Re: Boundary moved to put trees on my land

Postby mr sheen » Sat Apr 11, 2015 4:13 am

Usually people argue over ownership from the opposite perspective with assertions of I own this. In this case, neither party wants to own this strip of land with these trees. However the principle is pretty much the same...your assertion is...I don't own the trees...end of! It is very difficult to force someone to do something and to pay out cash. He would have to prove that you own the trees and that the trees were unsafe and required work on safety grounds and that you were responsible for it...and he can prove none of this....a tree survey that isn't in writing...isn't the worth the paper it isn't written on. He's basically had a tree surgeon have a look at it and give him an estimate of the possible costs.

He has a business and therefore he is concerned about his own liability. If he wants work done to the trees, explain that he is welcome to carry it out but you are paying for nothing. The only way he can force you to pay is to take you to court after doing the work and try to claim the costs back.

I would write to him, so that you have a copy and have made it clear....the trees close to our boundary have always been considered to be part of your land. I do not own the trees and they are not on my land, therefore if you wish to carry out works to the trees I have no objection. I have no legal interest in them and consequently no responsibility for them.

If you make it clear you don't own the trees, no amount of friends in high places can force you to spend your cash. However you need to make it clear otherwise he might claim you agreed to pay and without any clarity in writing it all relies on 'he said, she said' .
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Re: Boundary moved to put trees on my land

Postby jdfi » Sat Apr 11, 2015 7:40 am

One option is to do an 'agreed boundary' via the Land Registry, where he confirms that the land is yours (and trust me, that is a good thing).

You then get the trees dealt with, and you get a bigger garden.

Alternatively, how long/wide is the disputed land? I expect you could give it to me quite happily.
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Re: Boundary moved to put trees on my land

Postby MacadamB53 » Sat Apr 11, 2015 9:27 am

Hi Norgood,

as previously stated, if they're your trees they're none of his business.

Rest easy, Mac
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Re: Boundary moved to put trees on my land

Postby mr sheen » Sat Apr 11, 2015 9:45 am

Yes agree with above from Mac...that is the alternative approach...they are my trees so none of your business.
He then has the right to cut back branches to boundary and no further but can't force you to do anything.

Either way he can't get you to do anything.
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Re: Boundary moved to put trees on my land

Postby arborlad » Sun Apr 12, 2015 9:00 am

Norgoose wrote:Thank you for your replies.

The tree trunks are at least 2 feet in diameter, more like 2.5 feet on some of the larger trees. Looking a the line of the original boundary the largest trees trunks have grown and expanded 6 or 7 inches over the boundary line.

The parallel sections of the wire fence between the trees is a distance of about 12 inches his side of the original boundary line, the trunks protrude beyond this onto his land and the fence wraps round them on his side making a distance from the original boundary line of about 2 feet at the largest trees.


Cheers :x



The balance of probabilities is that they are his trees on his land, they are on his side of the correct original fence, the second fence, never a good idea regardless of circumstances, was just erected following the path of least resistance and with no intention to include or exclude the trees.
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smile...it confuses people
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