Hedge Heights and Restrictive Covenants

Hedge Heights and Restrictive Covenants

Postby Cavalier » Sat Oct 08, 2005 6:00 pm

Help please.

My neighbour, a shy retiring widower in her 60's that would command pity from any ordinary human being (don't be fooled) is becoming a complete pain in the a***.

We share a party boundary fence of 2 metres in height. I cannot see into her property, nor she into mine. Planted directly behind the fence on her side is a laurel hedge. The property developers that sold the houses to us as new homes, were quite canny in that they inserted a restrictive covenant into the deeds of sale. I guess they were trying to protect us all from people that like to live in conditions akin to the 'Black Forest', where neighbours like their Leylandii on the excessively tall side.

However, my neighbour has decided to grow enough laurel that I can only assume that the secong coming of the Roman empire is imminent. The hedge is currently about 2.4 metres high (7 to 8 feet in old money) and is distorting the fence with it's vigourous growth. This contravenes the convenant that states that "no hedge, tree or shrub should exceed 1.8 metres in height when planted on or near to the boundary of the property".

I have asked if I can remedy this excess, just in case it was merely a situation where the laurels had grown beyond her physical ability to prune them herself. This is obviously not the case as she became VERY insistent that I should not as much touch her hedge. It is obviously it's current height by design.

She has also said that she will be fitting trellis to the top of the fence. The need for this I can only guess.

The loss of light, overbearing feeling of the high hedge and the inevitable damage to the fence are such an unneccesary situation. How do I sort it for the best.

Now for the questions.

1. If she is in direct contravention of the property covenant, then whose responsibilty is it to see that it is enforced. The developers have long since gone so who becomes the 'covenent police'?

2. Can I just remedy the excess myself and trim it to the height of the fence myself?

3. I believe that the statutory maximum height of a boundary fence is 2 metres. How can she legally put another 2 foot of trellius on top of this?

4. The fence is our shared ownership, so how can she do this without my express permission?

Looking forward to your help.

Cavalier
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Postby despair » Sat Oct 08, 2005 6:09 pm

1) if its a party fence she CANNOT add trellis to it without permision

2) If theres a covenant that hedges can only be 1.80 metres then thats it and she must honour it
If the builders still exist contact them .......sounds like Barrats they put lots of such covenants on

3) If her Laurel is pushing over /damaging the fence send her a letter "Putting her on Notice" of this fact and that as joint owner of the fence and boundary you require her to remedy the situation along with observing the covenants she entered into

You will also need to remind her that planning law only allows for a 2 metre fence and that her trellis would contravene that plus you are not minded to grant permission for such an addition
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Postby Conveyancer » Sat Oct 08, 2005 7:01 pm

I agree with Despair except that I do not think there is any point in contacting the developer. There is no obligation on them to enforce the covenant. Bear in mind that there may a technicality preventing you from enforcing the covenant, but let your neighbour worry about that - just point it out to her.
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Postby Cavalier » Sat Oct 08, 2005 7:12 pm

Thanks for this.

If all else fails can I just trim it myself?

I'm quite meticulous and I would make a very good job regardless of what I think of her.

Or does two wrongs still not make a right ( as my old schollmaster used to tell me).

Regards

Cavalier

P.S what about some weedkiler applied by stealth...only joking.
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Postby Conveyancer » Sat Oct 08, 2005 7:23 pm

Cavalier wrote:If all else fails can I just trim it myself?


No.
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laurel shrub

Postby Sadgardener2 » Sun Oct 09, 2005 1:48 pm

Dear friend

Why is it bothering you so much? It will not grow a lot higher. Is it one laurel or several? Would you feel the same if it was an apple tree? Or a single plant? I like laurel and so do blackbirds.
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Re: laurel shrub

Postby Maverick.uk » Sun Oct 09, 2005 3:40 pm

Sadgardener2 wrote:Dear friend

Why is it bothering you so much? .


I guess that would be

Cavalier wrote:The hedge is currently about 2.4 metres


Sadgardener2 wrote:Is it one laurel or several?.


The word hedge implies a line of at least more than 2!

Cheers

Mav
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Postby red wookie » Mon Oct 10, 2005 10:28 am

:lol: THere have been very similar symptoms round here Raymond .although affecting leylandii-I think it was the red spider mite that affected those in question! :lol:
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Postby despair » Mon Oct 10, 2005 10:36 am

Sounds like i need to set a few thousand Red Spider mites loose !!!!!
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Postby red wookie » Mon Oct 10, 2005 10:40 am

:lol: :lol: :lol:
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Postby patdavies » Wed Oct 12, 2005 12:08 pm

The question I would ask of the OP is whether the neighbour is acually part of the same development? if not, then the developer cannot impose a covenant on her if they never owned the property.

If even she is, does she have the same restrictive covenant? It is possible that the developer only inserted this covenant after seeing her plant her hedge (unlikely, I know) and wanted to prevent it happening elsewhere.

It is surely unusual for a new development to have party boundaries; complete with all the problems they cause.
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Postby Cavalier » Wed Oct 12, 2005 3:38 pm

Thanks for all your discussion.

Sad Gardener2 - It is bothering me because of all of the physical damage it is creating to the fence and eventually my garage and then possibly my house...fair do's I think. I can confirm that it is a hedge, and not an apple tree. It will grow a lot higher than it currently is. You may like laurels, but unfortunately you don't live in my house....I do. Blackbirds may like laurels, but let's face it they like any hedge/tree.

Raymond - I think you can buy these Red Spider Mites in 5 litre cans!

Pat - Yes she is part of the same development. The developer had long gone after she planted her hedge and the imposition of the covenant was not in direct response to her hedge planting. She should have the same restriction as I've checked with most of my other heighbours who confirm that they are subject to the same. Not happy about the party boundaries myself, but I can confirm that they are indeed the case.

Regards to all
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high hedge/covmants

Postby Sadgardener2 » Wed Oct 12, 2005 10:31 pm

Hi Cavalier

Just wondered if it was one shrub or a long hedge.

Personally I like laurels and I do not think they get so high as Leylandi and are not such anti social plants. I am a bit of a tree hugger and I think they improve the environment for all. Green house effect and all that. If it gets warmer then all these hedges will cease to be a nuisance because they will be dead anyway. The top of a laurel bush is open and not dense shade and eight feet is not that bad. Your fence is another matter though and I am supposing that you put it up and it belongs to you, so annoying to see it damaged by ill advised planting. This may be the way to go to get your neighbour to attend to the laurel(s) as the bill will be quite a lot for a new fence won't it? Try to remain kind and polite as this will be the best way forward for you both. I would not think that it will be easy to get the covenant enforced because covenants do not seem to have a lot of teeth adn may be more aggro to get up and sorted than just pointing out the damage to your fence.
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Can we Help?

Postby CH4 Doc » Wed Oct 19, 2005 9:49 pm

Apologies if this is not your cup of tea. I am replying to few posts on this site because I am currently working on a Channel 4 documentary dealing with neighbourly disputes such as your own. We are still looking for people so if you are not allergic to the idea of television then we may be able to help you. Our programme brings in experts, at no cost to yourself, to help you negotiate the legal mind field of neighbourly conflicts. If you want to know more please email me neighbour@mentorn.tv or call 0207 258 6763. I would be happy to hear from you even if it is only advice.

All the best

Paul Taylor
Assistant Producer
Mentorn Television
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Postby CH4 Doc » Wed Oct 19, 2005 9:50 pm

despair wrote:1) if its a party fence she CANNOT add trellis to it without permision

2) If theres a covenant that hedges can only be 1.80 metres then thats it and she must honour it
If the builders still exist contact them .......sounds like Barrats they put lots of such covenants on

3) If her Laurel is pushing over /damaging the fence send her a letter "Putting her on Notice" of this fact and that as joint owner of the fence and boundary you require her to remedy the situation along with observing the covenants she entered into

You will also need to remind her that planning law only allows for a 2 metre fence and that her trellis would contravene that plus you are not minded to grant permission for such an addition


Apologies if this is not your cup of tea. I am replying to few posts on this site because I am currently working on a Channel 4 documentary dealing with neighbourly disputes such as your own. We are still looking for people so if you are not allergic to the idea of television then we may be able to help you. Our programme brings in experts, at no cost to yourself, to help you negotiate the legal mind field of neighbourly conflicts. If you want to know more please email me neighbour@mentorn.tv or call 0207 258 6763. I would be happy to hear from you even if it is only advice.

All the best

Paul Taylor
Assistant Producer
Mentorn Television
CH4 Doc
 
Posts: 28
Joined: Wed Oct 19, 2005 9:37 pm
Location: London

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