What can I do about my neighbour’s tree that overhangs my garden? This is a question that we are regularly asked. The answer is as follows.
First, always approach your neighbour politely and see if an agreement can be reached, as to the extent of the pruning to be done and who will pay for the works. It is always better to try and reach agreement. It maybe that you can agree to split the costs. Sending solicitor’s letters will certainly not help relations between neighbours.
What if my neighbour won’t cooperate?
First you should check with the Local Authority to see if the tree is the subject of a Tree Preservation Order (TPO). If the tree is the subject of such an order then even if the tree overhangs your land you cannot undertake any pruning or other work to the tree without the specific prior approval of the Local Authority. Fines and enforcement action can be taken against you if you carry out unauthorised work.
Assuming though no TPO exists then you can prune back any overhanging branches to the boundary line.
You do not need the neighbours consent. You have though no right, without permission, to enter your neighbours land to carry out pruning works.
Remember however that the branches and any fruit on the branches are and remain the property of the neighbour. Before therefore you dispose of the overhanging branches you should first offer to return them to your neighbour. You technically could be accused of theft if you do not do so.
In similar terms it may not be branches that overhang that are the problem but the roots of your neighbour’s tree. The law again is that you have the right to cut back any such roots up to but not beyond the property boundary.
QualitySolicitors Bradbury Roberts & Raby cannot over emphasise the benefits of reaching agreement with your neighbour. Boundary disputes are extremely expensive to resolve particularly if opposing parties take opposing views and both neighbours end up instructing solicitors. Costs can rapidly escalate.
If you do need further specific advice but want to limit your legal costs why not initially contact QualitySolicitors Bradbury Roberts & Raby on 01724 854000 under our Ask The Legal Expert Scheme. For a fixed fee of £99 you will be entitled to up to 45 minutes of specific expert advice without any obligation to take matters further or engage this firm further.
You can also visit our Property Law and Conveyancing pages to listen to our Partner and Conveyancing expert, Robert Taylor's podcast and download a variety of guides and top tips.