Can I reduce the height of a shared hedge?

Can I reduce the height of a shared hedge?

Postby boris360 » Sun Apr 20, 2014 5:59 pm

I share a 50 metre long laurel hedge with my neighbour. The hedge is on the border between the properties. It is currently 4 metres high and growing.

I understand that I trim my side and she trims her's and that an agreement has to be reached regarding the height but what if one party refuses to allow any trimming to the height and just 'insists' that the hedge keep growing upwards untouched (as my neighbour does). She refuses to even discuss restricting the height! There is no reason for her to need the hedge anywhere near this height. lowering just my half would just look ridiculous and the height would still be 4m.

I'm not opposed to the hedge being quite tall and would even accept it being kept at 3m if that's what she wanted.

Realistically, what would happen if I lowered it to 3 metres against her will. Bear in mind I've been very polite and diplomatic so far. Surely if she chose to take action about this it would be an extremely weak/pointless case?
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Re: Can I reduce the height of a shared hedge?

Postby MacadamB53 » Sun Apr 20, 2014 8:23 pm

Hi boris,

I share a 50 metre long laurel hedge with my neighbour.

in what sense do you consider it shared? (only one of you owns it).

Kind regards, Mac
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Re: Can I reduce the height of a shared hedge?

Postby boris360 » Mon Apr 21, 2014 8:58 am

When I bought the house, the solicitor pointed out that the long hedge was a "Party boundary". My understanding of that is that it means joint ownership and therefore joint maintenance.
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Re: Can I reduce the height of a shared hedge?

Postby MacadamB53 » Mon Apr 21, 2014 9:26 am

Hi boris,

the solicitor pointed out that the long hedge was a "Party boundary".

how were they able to deduce this?

Kind regards, Mac
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Re: Can I reduce the height of a shared hedge?

Postby boris360 » Mon Apr 21, 2014 10:14 am

MacadamB53 wrote:Hi boris,


how were they able to deduce this?

Kind regards, Mac


I didn't ask (because I didn't realise it would be an issue). Maybe I need to check with him again. Let's just assume for a second that he's correct.
Could I lower the height of a jointly owned hedge to 3m even if the other party was against the idea?
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Re: Can I reduce the height of a shared hedge?

Postby arborlad » Mon Apr 21, 2014 10:41 am

boris360 wrote:I share a 50 metre long laurel hedge with my neighbour.



What area are you in?..............very common in somewhere like Hampstead Garden Suburb.
arborlad

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Re: Can I reduce the height of a shared hedge?

Postby boris360 » Mon Apr 21, 2014 10:56 am

arborlad wrote:
boris360 wrote:I share a 50 metre long laurel hedge with my neighbour.



What area are you in?..............very common in somewhere like Hampstead Garden Suburb.



Worcestershire.
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Re: Can I reduce the height of a shared hedge?

Postby Mojisola » Mon Apr 21, 2014 11:14 am

boris360 wrote: Could I lower the height of a jointly owned hedge to 3m even if the other party was against the idea?


You certainly could do it. Whether your neighbour will be upset is another matter but what could she do?

At the moment, you're upset because it's too high. If it's cut down, she'll be upset until it grows again. A joint boundary like this can be a real problem.
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Re: Can I reduce the height of a shared hedge?

Postby arborlad » Thu Apr 24, 2014 7:27 am

boris360 wrote:
I understand that I trim my side and she trims her's and that an agreement has to be reached regarding the height



That is what normally happens, even with a hedge that's not shared.

This sounds like a well established hedge, what has happened in the past, are either of you new owners?
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Re: Can I reduce the height of a shared hedge?

Postby ukmicky » Fri Apr 25, 2014 6:24 pm

If its shared and you are allowed to maintain the whole hedge or at least the parts you can access.

You are allowed to perform any work that is resonably nessesary to maintain its health . If as part of that work a reduction in its height was required then you have a right to do so.
Advice given is not legally qualified and you are advised to gain a professional opinion
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Re: Can I reduce the height of a shared hedge?

Postby MacadamB53 » Sun May 04, 2014 12:15 am

Hi boris,

I didn't ask (because I didn't realise it would be an issue). Maybe I need to check with him again.

have you checked with your solicitor (or viewed your title registers and plan)?

Kind regards, Mac
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Re: Can I reduce the height of a shared hedge?

Postby jonahinoz » Sun May 11, 2014 7:43 am

Hi,

Have either you or your neighbour erected a fence alongside the hedge? Is your house semi-detached from your neighbour, so that a party WALL may indicate where the boundary MIGHT be? What marked the boundary before the hedge was planted .... did one or the other occupier plant the hedge, or was is a joint effort ... bang on the boundary?

John
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Re: Can I reduce the height of a shared hedge?

Postby arsie » Mon May 12, 2014 5:36 pm

boris360 wrote:Realistically, what would happen if I lowered it to 3 metres against her will. Bear in mind I've been very polite and diplomatic so far. Surely if she chose to take action about this it would be an extremely weak/pointless case?

Boris your case is similar to mine but different.

Old neighbours when they came 25 years ago insisted on taking over the hedge which had been kept to about 5 feet high by my father in law. It was then allowed to grow to 12 feet high but trimmed both sides by him i.e. it was entirely 'his' hedge.

New neighbours did nothing. So four years on the hedge had sprouted the same again in hazel trees etc. They weren't interested in doing a thing BUT one door-step visit I got them to agree I could 'trim the hedge outgrowths'. It has cost me a few £hundreds for a platform and an extendable electric chain saw but the hedge is now about 8 feet high and my garden sees a lot more of the sun than before. Bearing in mind the hedge is 6 feet wide in places this was not a welcome exertion for an OAP but at least I have saved this NHS anesthetist some of his well earned money albeit paid by me in taxes ...

Try gentle persuasion - if you can just get agreement to your voluntary offer to trim the hedge, you are home :wink:

Otherwise, I would just do it anyway :twisted:

edit: others will know better but drastic cutting back is not good for an old hedge :cry:
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