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My neighbours trees are blocking my light and encroaching on my garden, what can I do?

Updated: Jun 23, 2023

My neighbours trees are blocking my light and encroaching on my garden, what can I do?

In the UK, sunlight can be a rare commodity, so when your neighbour’s trees and hedges have become too large and unruly blocking out the sunlight from your garden it can be distressing.

Overhanging branches coming on to your garden and out of control bushes taking over can also be points of issue with your neighbours.

So, what can you do? Do you have the right to chop down your neighbours’ tree?

The first steps…

Before making it official by approaching the council or local authority, it is best to try and settle the issue informally – this will make things quicker and simpler, plus avoid strained relations across the fence.

It is important that prior to contacting your neighbour you make sure you know what it is you want to say – set out a clear objective view of the problem and what solutions you are proposing.

At this point it may help if you seek out a cost estimate from a professional tree surgeon to understand what the requirements are and the kind of budget required. A compromise may be to offer to split the costs of the work.

But what if you reach a stalemate and they refuse?

Can you force your neighbour to prune their tree or hedge?

In most cases the answer is no, especially if it is just to let more light into your garden.

As long as they are in a safe condition and not causing damage to you or others, your neighbour is perfectly within their rights to grow their trees and hedges.

It is important to remember that cutting back or down a tree that is on your neighbour's property is classed as trespassing and you could be liable for costs to repair or replace the damage.

However, when it comes to encroaching trees and shrubs, you are well within your rights to prune off any overhanging branches entering on to your property, but only back to the boundary line. By law, you must offer the cut-offs back to your neighbour if they wish for them.

Can you involve your local council to take action?

If more than one of your neighbour’s trees is blocking light, you may be able to apply for a High Hedge notice. This is a complaint made to your local council about hedges that exceed the 2 metre high limit.

Local councils have the power to order the owner of the trees (or hedge) to cut them back by a certain date, but only if there are two or more trees restricting your light, that the trees are clearly affecting your enjoyment of your house and you have proof that you have made all reasonable efforts to try to resolve the matter without involving the authorities first.

Talking to the experts

OTS - expert in tree surgery in Kent and Essex

We have many years’ experience in the difficulties of large and overhanging trees that cause neighbourly friction. We always offer a free no obligation consultation and quote so that you can present a clear and knowledgeable case when negotiating with your neighbours.

Talk to us today about all your tree needs : 0800 145 52 62


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