Hedge height agreed (through solicitor). Neighbour ignoring

Re: Hedge height agreed (through solicitor). Neighbour ignor

Postby MacadamB53 » Sun Dec 07, 2014 11:08 pm

Hi Bird Lover,

Neighbour most definitely is not expecting us to trim.

surely they KNOW you'll trim it once they've breached the contract because said breach means you own the land (and therefore the hedge).

no one could argue the neighbours have knowingly signed up to constantly monitor and trim their hedge so it is "always" no more than 2m as this would made adherence to the contract close to impossible.

so you must accept the hedge will be +2m "sometimes" - it's just long can "sometimes" be before there has been a breach?

you should be fair and reasonable.

allowing them to leave it to grow some and then cutting it back once every growing season sounds fair and reasonable to me.
insisting on two cuts in one season should be possible - weather permitting - but would be impossible whilstever there are nesting birds or roosting bats present (illegal to disturb either).
more than two cuts, whilst possible, might harm the hedge - which would be unreasonable.

if you suspect they're not going to honour the contract then I'd recommend you make them aware of what you consider fair and reasonable and ask them their opinion - then take it from there.

(this should have occurred during the contract negotiations of course, but heyho...)

Kind regards, Mac
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Re: Hedge height agreed (through solicitor). Neighbour ignor

Postby Bird Lover » Mon Dec 08, 2014 9:00 pm

Thank you for all the replies, which I found very helpful.

I have decided to stop being such a walkover. I called up my home insurance legal department and they agree there has been a breach in the agreement. They also agree that the first course of action should be a polite letter reminding neighbours of their obligation.

We'll see what happens..........

Thanks again.
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Re: Hedge height agreed (through solicitor). Neighbour ignor

Postby MacadamB53 » Mon Dec 08, 2014 10:07 pm

Hi Bird Lover,

I called up my home insurance legal department and they agree there has been a breach in the agreement.

they must've been made privy to more details than we were...

All the best, Mac
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Re: Hedge height agreed (through solicitor). Neighbour ignor

Postby arborlad » Tue Dec 09, 2014 10:31 am

Bird Lover wrote: I called up my home insurance legal department and they agree there has been a breach in the agreement. .



Is there any reason why you didn't use their services initially, rather than your solicitor?

What height were the leylandii when planted and when were they planted?

Hedges grow, mostly upwards and even the most compliant and amenable of neighbours would have difficulty in complying with this 'agreement' - whatever it might be.
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Re: Hedge height agreed (through solicitor). Neighbour ignor

Postby arsie » Tue Dec 09, 2014 10:38 am

I would write giving the neighbour 14 days to honour the agreement that was made in (date to the nearest month and year). This should be long enough for them to act assuming they are not incapacitated. I would include as an attachment a statement of the agreement (even if it was originally verbal.)

I would go on to say that, failing action, you assume they no longer agree and that all is null and void.

Then I would proceed to cut the hedge, standing on your land, back to the two metres you require it to be, perhaps a little higher allowing for the excess it has now grown. Thereafter keep it trimmed. Twice a year is best, especially with something that grows as quickly as Leylandii. This stuff only grows on the outside of the plant so, if you leave it for too long and then try to cut back too much, you can get left with exposed trunks that will not grow back.

Round here, I don't see birds nesting in conifers, they seem to like traditional mixed deciduous hedging. I think rats can climb the inside of conifers to get to the eggs and fledglings. Bats don't live in hedges as far as I know.
All my experience as an amateur observer :)
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Re: Hedge height agreed (through solicitor). Neighbour ignor

Postby jdfi » Wed Dec 10, 2014 9:56 am

Agree that your letter should include that you will have it trimmed after 14 days.

Question to the others whether this could/should include an intention to recover 50% or 100% or 0 of the costs. Could well be talking a few hundred pounds.

I would use a professional who has insurance, in case they claim you have damaged their plants.
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Re: Hedge height agreed (through solicitor). Neighbour ignor

Postby mugwump » Wed Dec 10, 2014 10:05 am

The danger of attempting to claim money for doing it IMHO is that it can then be construed that the hedge and land is still in the neighbour's ownership, otherwise why would you bill somebody for cutting your own hedge, unless there was a penalty clause in the agreement.

You can either declare the agreement null and void and land and hedge revert to previous ownership or you take the legal route for breach of contract. I don't think you are in a position to mix and match as that would muddy the waters.
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Re: Hedge height agreed (through solicitor). Neighbour ignor

Postby arsie » Wed Dec 10, 2014 10:14 am

Personally I wouldn't warn about any action in writing. There is no rush to clip the hedge now it has stopped growing for the winter. If next door still haven't done anything about it, March/April is the time to trim it yourself. Then again in the late autumn.

edit:
on 2nd thoughts I would give him more than 14 days to take action. How about 3 months? No rush to cut over winter.
Last edited by arsie on Wed Dec 10, 2014 10:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Hedge height agreed (through solicitor). Neighbour ignor

Postby jdfi » Wed Dec 10, 2014 10:21 am

Could he cut it to 1.75 metres to allow for the forthcoming growth?
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Re: Hedge height agreed (through solicitor). Neighbour ignor

Postby MacadamB53 » Wed Dec 10, 2014 3:48 pm

jdfi wrote:Could he cut it to 1.75 metres to allow for the forthcoming growth?


would that not mean he's maintaining a 1.75m hedge?

Kind regards, Mac
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Re: Hedge height agreed (through solicitor). Neighbour ignor

Postby ukmicky » Thu Dec 11, 2014 1:19 am

MacadamB53 wrote:
jdfi wrote:Could he cut it to 1.75 metres to allow for the forthcoming growth?


would that not mean he's maintaining a 1.75m hedge?

Kind regards, Mac



No it would mean he is doing what is necessary not to breach the contract.

If you sign a legal contract and agree to something you need to take into account what would be required not breech the terms of the agreement before you sign on the dotted line.

Unless you are prepared to climb up every 2 weeks in the summer to prevents its growth going beyond anything which a court would deem de-minimis then you would need to consider cutting it back to a height that would allow you to keep to the agreement based on how regularly you are prepared to cut it back .

Only a court can deem the contract to be in breech so the OP cannot take the law into his own hands and cut the hedge himself. Also the longer the contract runs for, the less the OP will get from a court. If it ran long enough they could simply end the contract and have the neighbour pay out compensation.

There are so many options open to a court it would be impossible to say what they would do.


Anything over 2 meters is a breech of contract . A
Advice given is not legally qualified and you are advised to gain a professional opinion
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Re: Hedge height agreed (through solicitor). Neighbour ignor

Postby MacadamB53 » Thu Dec 11, 2014 1:39 am

ukmicky wrote:
MacadamB53 wrote:
jdfi wrote:Could he cut it to 1.75 metres to allow for the forthcoming growth?


would that not mean he's maintaining a 1.75m hedge?

Kind regards, Mac



No it would mean he is doing what is necessary not to breach the contract.

If you sign a legal contract and agree to something you need to take into account what would be required not breech the terms of the agreement before you sign on the dotted line.

Unless you are prepared to climb up every 2 weeks in the summer to prevents its growth going beyond anything which a court would deem de-minimis then you would need to consider cutting it back to a height that would allow you to keep to the agreement based on how regularly you are prepared to cut it back .

Only a court can deem the contract to be in breech so the OP cannot take the law into his own hands and cut the hedge himself. Also the longer the contract runs for, the less the OP will get from a court. If it ran long enough they could simply end the contract and have the neighbour pay out compensation.

There are so many options open to a court it would be impossible to say what they would do.


Anything over 2 meters is a breech of contract . A

Hi ukmicky,

I get what you're saying, so it would seem the OP has his neighbour over a barrel...

Kind regards, Mac
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Re: Hedge height agreed (through solicitor). Neighbour ignor

Postby arsie » Thu Dec 11, 2014 10:37 am

1.75m, trim every few days to keep at 2m, etc etc it depends what the agreement is. As we have not seen the exact wording, we cannot be sure. This is an interesting debate for some and illustrates how important words are. In the absence of anything specific, I would consider the 2m to be the freshly trimmed 'target' height. At other times the height of the hedge's growth will vary from the 2m to a bit or a fair bit more (as now!)

For sure in the OP's boots I would not want compo, that could get legal and expensive, just to limit growth. Land ownership is a different matter and I would keep any evidence secure in case that issue returns. The title of the thread indicates that this may not go away so I would check/confirm actions with my solicitor.

I would trim the hedge twice a year myself or via contractors, having written to the neighbour that I consider the (verbal?) agreement becomes null and void unless he cuts the hedge back to 2m within the next 3 months.
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Re: Hedge height agreed (through solicitor). Neighbour ignor

Postby arborlad » Thu Dec 11, 2014 10:55 am

MacadamB53 wrote:I get what you're saying, so it would seem the OP has his neighbour over a barrel...

Kind regards, Mac



On the contrary, the OP has been presented with a poisoned chalice by the solicitor.
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Re: Hedge height agreed (through solicitor). Neighbour ignor

Postby ukmicky » Thu Dec 11, 2014 11:10 pm

arborlad wrote:
MacadamB53 wrote:I get what you're saying, so it would seem the OP has his neighbour over a barrel...

Kind regards, Mac



On the contrary, the OP has been presented with a poisoned chalice by the solicitor.


I wouldn't disagree with that.
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