Neighbour's Hedge

Neighbour's Hedge

Postby christon » Fri Jul 29, 2016 1:59 pm

I have a neighbour whose Lalandi hedge goes along the length of my house and the back garden. Their garden is to the north of mine so the hedge doesn't take away my daylight but my side of the hedge grows profusely because it faces south so I have to get it cut every year. The hedge is nearly 30 metres long and the overall height is 4.5metres. Their is a wooden fence 1.83 (6ft) high so the greenery is nearly 3 mtrs high.
I have, in the past, asked if they would cut their hedge and they have refused. A few years ago I went to a solicitor who wrote a letter to say in the future I would get the hedge cut and pass the bill to them. The following year I did that and they came to my house said they never received the letter the previous year and refused to pay.
What can I do, it seems to be an impossible situation that continually costs me money when it should not be my responsibility. I cannot do it myself, I am 69 and can't climb ladders!
Is there anything in garden law that can make my neighbours do the responsible thing?
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Re: Neighbour's Hedge

Postby APC » Fri Jul 29, 2016 2:41 pm

Your hedge owner has no responsibility to prevent it from overhanging the boundary. You can't bill them.
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Re: Neighbour's Hedge

Postby GeeDee » Tue Aug 16, 2016 1:56 pm

Hi

I have a very similar problem but the offending greenery is laurel which I would think is about 30-40m long, 8m high and currently extending over my fence by 2 - 3m. Again, light is not the issue as the hedge is on our north boundary.

I was always of the impression that my neighbour's hedge was tresspassing and so the owner had a duty of care to be responsible. The Hedgline web site (General advice for those new to hedge problems from the Hedgeline's advice for Hedge victims about to use the High Hedges Law page) seems to agree with me in principle in that a number of small claims seem to have been won.

Every year, not only do we have to put up with the hedge overgrowing our land, patio and planting which restricts their growth, we have to clear up the dropped leaves (I know it's evergreen but approx 320m2 of hedge creates a lot of dead leaves), then we have to deal with the dropped flowers and about this time of year copious berries are being dropped and all of this requires frequent clearing up as it becomes impossible to walk in the area without crushing them underfoot causing indoor staining if we are not very careful.

We now have a dog who seems to like eating the berries which i believe to be poisonous - something about cyanide build up from the seeds.

is this really our responsibility to clear up and also to cut back? As you can imagine, this is not cheap and the last time we got someone in it to cut it back to the boundary it cost us around £1,500 which we tried to pass a proportion on but they came back with a derisory offer (£300) which I refused.

Is there anything we can do to pass all of this responsibility to our neightbour?
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Re: Neighbour's Hedge

Postby TO » Tue Aug 16, 2016 4:21 pm

As APC has said, the hedge owner does not have to cut back the hedge or pay for it to be cut back.

Beware what you read on the internet, it's not all true. I have yet to actually see any evidence of any successful claim in the small claims courts where a landowner has claimed back from the hedge owner the cost of trimming. All just anecdotal.

GeeDee wrote:they came back with a derisory offer (£300) which I refused
They didn't have to offer anything at all. An offer of £300 therefore seems very generous.

GeeDee wrote:Is there anything we can do to pass all of this responsibility to our neightbour?
No
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Re: Neighbour's Hedge

Postby GeeDee » Wed Aug 17, 2016 8:53 am

TO wrote:Beware what you read on the internet, it's not all true.....

Thank you for that.

Could I refer you to the Overhanging Branches paragraph on the Trees page accessible from the Home page of this site which I have just found?

"Over Hanging Branches

Branches that grow so as to overhang your neighbours' land are trespassing on his air space. The neighbour can chop the branches back to the boundary but he has to return the lopped branches to the owner of the tree together with any fruit that might have been on them. If he lops beyond his boundary then it is a trespass. It is always best to ask your neighbour first although you do not need his permission to lop overhanging branches so long as they are returned.

You could sue the owner of the tree or shrubs for trespass; nuisance and/or negligence (in this case if they become dangerous)."
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Re: Neighbour's Hedge

Postby despair » Wed Aug 17, 2016 2:44 pm

My inclination with such selfish hedge growers is to return all the arisings whether they like it ir not

Maybe when they then have a mess to clear up they will face reality

have you thoroughly checked the possibilities of using the high hedge law because
whilst correct letters etc have to be written etc it will mean they have to stop and think
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Re: Neighbour's Hedge

Postby arborlad » Wed Aug 17, 2016 3:10 pm

christon wrote: A few years ago I went to a solicitor who wrote a letter to say in the future I would get the hedge cut and pass the bill to them. The following year I did that and they came to my house said they never received the letter the previous year and refused to pay.




If that was the limit of the solicitors involvement, I'd say you were badly served by them.

Any financial contribution to something has to be agreed to beforehand.
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smile...it confuses people
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Re: Neighbour's Hedge

Postby GeeDee » Wed Aug 17, 2016 3:14 pm

despair wrote:My inclination with such selfish hedge growers is to return all the arisings whether they like it ir not

Maybe when they then have a mess to clear up they will face reality

have you thoroughly checked the possibilities of using the high hedge law because
whilst correct letters etc have to be written etc it will mean they have to stop and think

My temptation too and, whilst I have thrown some cuttings back (as a result of trying to use our washing line) the reality is that I do not have the facilities to cut such a high hedge nor would I be able to actually fit it all over the fence.

The other problem is that, contrary to the advice below, I have to ask his permission to dispose of his hedge cuttings on his property or I could be accused of fly tipping - The law is an ass at times and no more so than in this case in my opinion.

Re the high hedge law, I thought that was drawn up as a result of right of light. I'll have a look.
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Re: Neighbour's Hedge

Postby despair » Wed Aug 17, 2016 8:31 pm

I would employ a treecsurgeon with a shredder and blower who is quite happy to ensure all the shreddings land up back in the hedge

i doubt the hedge owner could or would try a claim of fly tipping ...you can just claim you are not prepared to be accused of theft so his trespassing property has been returned
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Re: Neighbour's Hedge

Postby TO » Thu Aug 18, 2016 9:16 am

GeeDee wrote:
TO wrote:Beware what you read on the internet, it's not all true.....

Thank you for that.

Could I refer you to the Overhanging Branches paragraph on the Trees page accessible from the Home page of this site which I have just found?

"Over Hanging Branches

Branches that grow so as to overhang your neighbours' land are trespassing on his air space. The neighbour can chop the branches back to the boundary but he has to return the lopped branches to the owner of the tree together with any fruit that might have been on them. If he lops beyond his boundary then it is a trespass. It is always best to ask your neighbour first although you do not need his permission to lop overhanging branches so long as they are returned.

You could sue the owner of the tree or shrubs for trespass; nuisance and/or negligence (in this case if they become dangerous)."
QED. Branches, and roots, do not trespass, they encroach. Trespass is an occupation of the land which over time can become a right, i.e. adverse possession. ...there is no authority in English law that an easement can be acquired to compel a man to submit to the invasion of his land by the roots or branches of a tree planted on his neighbours soil, (Gale on Easement).

You cannot sue the owner if the tree becomes dangerous, only if it actually causes damage, and then only under certain circumstances.

The convention is that you offer back to the tree owner any of the branches/roots you cut off. If they decline the offer you should dispose of them in a responsible manner. This does not mean throwing them back whence they came. (Others have a different opinion). Chipping the branches before returning them amounts to conversion and could land you in Court. Fly tipping has nothing to do with it. Garden waste is classed as controlled waste and this is where all the problems arise from. Such waste must be disposed of at a licensed tip. Your neighbours garden is very unlikely to be a licensed tip, so putting the branches back there is a criminal offence. However, it is very unlikely any of the enforcing authorities would get involved in something as petty, (at least to them), as a neighbour dispute over a few branches.

arborlad wrote:If that was the limit of the solicitors involvement, I'd say you were badly served by them.
Solicitors do what they're told to do. That's what they call taking instructions.

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Re: Neighbour's Hedge

Postby Morgan Sweet » Sun Oct 02, 2016 10:13 pm

It is time for our government to pass a law that clearly puts the responsibility for the hedge owner to maintain it so it does not overhang a neighbours property or cause a neighbour nuisance. Until then all you can do is sue for nuisance or cut it back to the boundary.

Regarding the chipping of cuttings, in decades of flail cutting rural hedges/trees I have never been sued for "not offering cuttings back" and in turn I don't think that I would get very far if I tried suing a neighbour for "not returning my cuttings" when my hedges have been similarly been flail cut when overhanging.
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Re: Neighbour's Hedge

Postby despair » Sun Oct 02, 2016 11:15 pm

I totally agree its long past time that hedge owners had to be responsible and cut all sides

especially since all too often the neighbour derives no benefit whatever from the hedge other than leaves or mess or seeds
and constant clearing up or bills for cutting especially when hedges are crazy heights of 4 or 5 metres
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