I cut the hedge - 'See you in court'

I cut the hedge - 'See you in court'

Postby Muffy » Tue Sep 20, 2011 3:23 pm

About 40 years ago the owner of a huge house sold off some land around it for a large wedge of cash to developers. Into the deeds of these new peoperties was written that none of the new property owners can touch anything within 6 feet of the boundary without express permission of the owners of the original house.
Skip 40 years on and I own a house bordering on this older property. I have always had an understanding with the previous owner that I could keep the laurel border hedge tidy, which I have kept to about 10-12 feet high. A different owner (let's call him 'John') came in about 10 years ago, during which time he has had disputes with every single one of the owners of properties bordering his (about 8 houses). I have had a couple of discussions but generally when I cut the hedge we agree an acceptable height. My hedge hasn't been trimmed for about 3 years and was getting ragged, leggy and blocking my light so I had some guys in to cut it back down to about 10 feet and forgot to tell John. Since he had been having work done on the house he hadn't even been living there for a couple of months. Anyway, he came out weilding a crowbar and told the hedge cutters to stop. Luckily for me they had pretty well finished. He stormed round to my house and started ranting about not consulting him and that he can now 'see houses'. I tried to explain that it's simply keeping it tidy and if he chooses to buy a house in a residential area, surrounded by houses it's not unreasonable that he should see them (he can only see the roofs anyway). A 15ft hedge only 20ft from my house is significantly blocking my light whereas for him it's about 100ft down at the bottom of his huge garden and makes little difference. The discussion ended with him stomping off, saying 'see you in court'.
I understand that I am on the wrong side of the law according to the deeds, but there is also a law stating that if hedge is evergreen or semi-evergreen and it is unreasonably restricting light to my property then he can be ordered to keep it under 2m, which he has failed to do. I think he would be put off in his threat if I countered that I would force him to cut it further (to 2m instead of 10ft) if he went ahead. I'm happy to go back to amicable relations and the hedge is no lower than it has been at other times in his tenancy.
Any thoughts on how to restore relations?

Muffy
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Re: I cut the hedge - 'See you in court'

Postby Treeman » Tue Sep 20, 2011 3:41 pm

On the wrong side of the law is a spurious statement and over eggs the pudding somewhat. If anything you are in breach of a covenant which isn’t what you would call enforceable in law, the neighbour has the option of a civil action. How likely is he to do that? (Rhetorical)

The HH law you mentioned is also spurious unless you have been through the proper procedures and an action height has been established.
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Re: I cut the hedge - 'See you in court'

Postby despair » Tue Sep 20, 2011 4:48 pm

The HH Law does not mean every evergreen hedge must be maintained at 2 metres

You need to read and understand the "niceties " of the HH Law and the BRE guidelines
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Re: I cut the hedge - 'See you in court'

Postby Sudynim » Tue Sep 20, 2011 10:53 pm

Muffy wrote:generally when I cut the hedge we agree an acceptable height. My hedge hasn't been trimmed for about 3 years and was getting ragged, leggy and blocking my light so I had some guys in to cut it back down to about 10 feet and forgot to tell John. Since he had been having work done on the house he hadn't even been living there for a couple of months. Anyway, he came out weilding a crowbar and told the hedge cutters to stop. Luckily for me they had pretty well finished. He stormed round to my house and started ranting about not consulting him and that he can now 'see houses'. I tried to explain that it's simply keeping it tidy and if he chooses to buy a house in a residential area, surrounded by houses it's not unreasonable that he should see them (he can only see the roofs anyway). A 15ft hedge only 20ft from my house is significantly blocking my light whereas for him it's about 100ft down at the bottom of his huge garden and makes little difference.


Mmm - that wasn't likely to calm him down, really. He bought a house with a special right to safeguard privacy, and you're telling him that he's unreasonable to exercise that right.

He probably won't sue, or do anything, but you need to ensure that you strictly abide by the "generally when I cut the hedge we agree an acceptable height" approach for a few years.
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Re: I cut the hedge - 'See you in court'

Postby Roblewis » Wed Sep 21, 2011 9:32 am

I think you need to post up the exact wording here as it may be the ORIGINAL owner of the Original house that may need to ghive permission. Your current neighbour, if it is he who gives permission, will need to prove that damage has arisen from the breach and the simple lowering of a high hedge to 10ft may well be seen by the court to be of little actual value and he could well end up with ALL costs if the judge believes the action to be frivolous and litigious. Some covenants nowadays can be viewed as over restrictive and courts can overturn them if it provides an equitable solution.

Conveyancer will be the best bet for a spot of interpretation though.
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Re: I cut the hedge - 'See you in court'

Postby Mojisola » Thu Oct 06, 2011 1:25 pm

Muffy wrote:About 40 years ago the owner of a huge house sold off some land around it for a large wedge of cash to developers. Into the deeds of these new peoperties was written that none of the new property owners can touch anything within 6 feet of the boundary without express permission of the owners of the original house.


Not an answer to your question, but I would have walked away from a house that didn't allow me to touch 6ft of my garden without someone else giving me permission!
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Re: I cut the hedge - 'See you in court'

Postby Conveyancer » Fri Oct 07, 2011 8:22 am

I agree we need to see the wording of the covenant.
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Re: I cut the hedge - 'See you in court'

Postby RDF Jess » Fri May 29, 2015 12:36 pm

Hi, my name is Jess and I’m a Researcher at RDF Television.

I’m currently working on a new documentary for ITV exploring a variety of issues people can face in their garden and or around their home including boundary disputes, nuisances next door, infestations, pests and weeds, sinkholes, erosion and flooding.

It would be great to have a chat with you and tell you more about the programme.

If you’re interested in finding out more please call Jess on 0207 013 4076.
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