Encroaching ivy on neighbour

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Encroaching ivy on neighbour

Post by sasa_kiki2 » Thu Oct 24, 2019 9:32 am

Good morning,

I've read many posts hoping for an answer to my problem but nothing quite fits exactly.

I bought a house this year which has a boundary fence half collapsing due to overgrown ivy from my side (although I do wonder if the ivy is a weed and is only growing on my side as it's the shady side). The ivy has been left to grow for years and has been climbing up the neighbour's house. The neighbour has now come to me saying it needs to be sorted and it's all my responsibility. She says she has gone through this with previous owners and nothing was done.

I've looked into the detail and there is a positive covenant saying my side is to maintain the fence, which I know is not enforceable. But am I really responsible for the ivy that has encroached into her garden (which is a mess of a jungle anyway) and has grown up her house. I would have thought it would be reasonable to expect the neighbour to trim this back before it got to this point. She states she shouldn't have to cut it back and that it's my responsibility.

Also the fence is pretty much destroyed and is being held together by the ivy.

I've only been in the house for 6 months, so all this growth would have happened for years before we were even on the scene.

Any clarity around responsibility would be greatly appreciated.

Many thanks

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Re: Encroaching ivy on neighbour

Post by MacadamB53 » Thu Oct 24, 2019 10:58 am

Hi sasa_kiki2,

She states she shouldn't have to cut it back and that it's my responsibility

nope - she’s wrong

I would have thought it would be reasonable to expect the neighbour to trim this back

yup - you’re right

the law has it that a landowner is not responsible for which direction his plants choose to grow (this is you in your scenario).

he may, however be found liable - wholly or partially - for any foreseeable damage his plants have caused.

the law also has it that a landowner can cut back encroaching vegetation - branches and/or roots (this is the neighbour in your scenario).

which means there is a chance you might be sued if it’s found to have caused damage to her property - with the obvious defence being she chose not to exercise her right to prevent it...

kind regards, Mac

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Re: Encroaching ivy on neighbour

Post by sasa_kiki2 » Thu Oct 24, 2019 11:41 am


Many thanks for your reply, it's very helpful. I thought what you have confirmed is the case, from reading various sources. Is there somewhere stating this law that I can share with my neighbour? I want to keep things objective and share facts rather than go back anf forth with our personal views on the situation.

I would be surprised if the ivy could cause any damage to her house.

Is there any outcome from the fact the fence is pretty much destroyed?


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Re: Encroaching ivy on neighbour

Post by Collaborate » Thu Oct 24, 2019 12:08 pm

We have at our rear boundary a portion of dilapidated fence, the other side of which is the back of the rear neighbour's garage. They struggle to access the space (around 1m wide) between the fence and their garage as the garage is wedged in tight against fences on both sides (the layout of the garden is strange for historical reasons).

When we bought the property there was ivy everywhere. We had no way of telling where it had come from.

We removed all of the ivy on our side.

Once the neighbour on the other side squeezed past and tore down the ivy that was growing rampant in his eaves and roof space. He left the dead ivy on the floor. It's now grown back again, so I'm sure it;s inside his garage now. It's not our responsibility.

I suggest you simply clear the ivy on your side. Let your neighbours worry about where it grows on their side.

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Re: Encroaching ivy on neighbour

Post by Eliza » Fri Oct 25, 2019 8:51 am

In that position personally - I would certainly clear the ivy my side (removing it totally) and do whatever is necessary to MY fence (you have admitted it is yours) and then the neighbour will have the chance to clear your ivy that has overgrown onto her side (ie because you will have removed the risk that her efforts would be for nothing - because you'd let it grow back over to her side again).

So - remove it once and for all and it can never grow back over onto her side and you've fulfilled your moral responsibilities and kept yourself safe from risk of her putting in a legal claim for the fact that it's your houses' fault that her house has got ivy growing up it.

NB; It doesn't matter that it was previous owners of your house that started this ivy off and then neglected it. You bought the house - so you bought the responsibility. Guessing you did view it before buying?
Apologies for not giving exact personal details in my posts - you never know who is reading....

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Re: Encroaching ivy on neighbour

Post by FilthWizzard » Fri Oct 25, 2019 11:57 am

OK, so you are only responsible for damage to your neighbour's property from the point at which you became aware, or could be reasonably assumed to be aware, of the damage being caused or likely to be caused. You are now aware, and can be held liable for any future damage. If you get rid of the ivy straight away such that there is no more on your property feeding the ivy on your neighbour's land then it is up to the neighbour to remove the ivy on their side (though it would be neighbourly to assist as you want to start off with good relations, right?).

Any damage that has been caused after the previous owners were made aware but before you could reasonably be expected to be aware (and after you became the owner) is still the responsibility of the previous owners and the neighbour needs to chase them in court if they want some cash. You bought in to the responsibility going forward, but you are not responsible for the previous owner's action or inaction as you had no way to mitigate the issue at that time.

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Re: Encroaching ivy on neighbour

Post by cleo5 » Fri Oct 25, 2019 5:06 pm

Ivy can do considerable damage to property if allowed to become invasive. It damages the mortar and brickwork and takes considerable effort to remove it once well established up a building.
There is no reason why you are to blame in any way for your neighbour' s lack of house maintenance.
The neighbour could have had it removed ather own expense once the former owner of your property denied any responsibility but chosenot to do so ...
Not your problem.
Remove your ivy covered fence and ivy and kill the roots using the correct systemic , safe weed killer..
Mark your boundary with short posts for the time being if you cannot refence at present .

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Re: Encroaching ivy on neighbour

Post by Brainsey » Tue Dec 17, 2019 12:57 pm

Whilst the ivy may have grown over, through or under the fence, it is also spread by birds that eat the berries. Who's to say which has resulted in the spread to your neighbour's garden, or which part of what has spread is due to simple growth or new plants from the seeds?

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