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My Neighbours Trees Are Too High

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  • 18-04-2021
My Neighbours Trees Are Too High

What can I do if my Neighbours trees are too high? We look at what you can do if your neighbours trees or hedges overhang your property.

Are your neighbour's tree or hedge too high?

Before a council or local authority can intervene in your affairs, you should try to settle this dispute about a high hedge informally to make things quicker and simpler. If your talks with the neighbour don't work out too well, you can ask for a complaint form from your local council if the hedge meets all of these criteria: 

  • There are two or more evergreen or semi-evergreen shrubs or trees.
  • The trees or shrubs are over 2 metres tall.
  • The shrubs or trees are affecting your enjoyment of your garden or home because they are too tall. 

There might be a council fee that you need to pay for them to consider your complaint.

Trees or hedges overhanging your property

Whether you believe it is your right or not, if a neighbours hedge or tree is growing over into your garden or home, you cannot force them to cut it back. 

You can do some things if there are overhanging branches on your property from your neighbours. That being said, you do have the right to remove any overgrowing branches yourself. 

However, you can only cut them back to the common boundary line. Any cuttings from the tree must be offered back to the tree or hedge owner. 

There have been a few cases where a neighbours tree has blown leaves onto someone's property. You cannot expect or force the owner of this tree to clean up these leaves, and you cannot charge them if you do it yourself. This is outside their control.

What can I do if my Neighbours trees are too high?

Trees or hedges blocking light

It might be annoying, but if a neighbours tree is blocking light from entering your garden, you cannot force them to cut it back or down. 

As long as the tree is in a safe condition and is not causing damage to you or others, your neighbour is entirely within their right to grow the tree. 

If the neighbour's tree is blocking the light and you still wish to take some action against them, you might be able to do so. You could take action under the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003. 

There are some issues that you should think about before taking action. Such as whether the hedge or tree is blocking light from entering the main rooms of your home. 

You should be asking yourself questions such as: 

Does the tree or hedge deprive you of winter sunshine?
Is the tree or hedge spreading into the garden and affecting the growth of plants within the garden?
Is the tree or hedge pushing over the boundary fence?
Are the roots from the tree or hedge causing damage towards your garage, home or path?

Can I Chop Down a Neighbours Tree?

Negotiations are generally the best way to get a tree cut back or cut down if it bothers you with the neighbour. If these negotiations are not working or have broken down completely, the law is quite clear. 

You cannot cut down the tree as it does not belong to you. Cutting back or cutting down a tree that is on your neighbour's property is classed as trespassing. 

As such, your neighbour has the right to claim for damages that might have been sustained during the trespass and actions following. 

This claim can include covering the costs of replacing the cut tree with mature and healthy ones, as well as any remedial clearing, landscape work or planting that is required. 

With all this being said, you are well within your rights to chop off any overhanging branches or full entering your property. At least cutting them back to the boundary line, that is. If you decide to take this action, you must offer the cut-offs from the tree back to your neighbour if they wish for them. 

Also, this does not mean you can throw the branches that have been taken off the tree back to your neighbour. Throwing the branches back over the fence to your neighbour would be inappropriate, so asking them whether they would like them is much better.

Are you disputing a tree or hedge with a neighbour?

Having disagreements about the trees or hedges with your neighbours is somewhat common. It is generally best to try and resolve these issues informally and without the assistance of the council or courts. 

Some of these problems could include the trees being too high or the hedge/tree branches are hanging over into your property or garden. 

If the property is rented, it would be best to talk with your landlord about this issue. They may have better dealings with the neighbours and settle this issue for you. 

Also, before you decide whether to cut a tree back or not, check to make sure a Tree Preservation Order does not protect it. If the tree is protected, you will need to councils permission before any action can be taken. 

Check who owns the tree or hedge

Before any action occurs, you should ensure you understand who owns the tree. If the main stem or trunk of a tree/hedge is on your land, it belongs to you and is yours to do with as you please. 

If the tree is on the boundary between properties, checking the legal documents you got from the home when you bought it is the best chance to understand your situation. 

These documents will help clarify where the boundary line actually is and who is responsible for the tree or hedge. 

If you do not have the documents or were not given any when the house was bought, you can buy them from the land registry office for a few pounds. 

They are good to have on hand, and you might need to consider buying your neighbours as well. Sometimes information is placed on their documents which is not given on your own. 

If, after this, the property line and ownership of the tree/hedge are not clear, you might need to work with RICS as they work with surveyors to resolve these types of property disputes. 

Try to find a solution with your neighbour

Talking to your neighbour and keeping notes of what you have agreed to is best. If you are not happy talking to them, having someone else contact them on your behalf is also good or writing a letter is okay. 

Ensure to keep notes of what has been discussed and agreed to if anything happens.

Keeping a good relationship with your neighbour might be a good idea as you are not sure how long you and them will be there for. 

Making compromises might be best for the relationship, such as sharing the costs for cutting back the hedge or tree regardless of who you think owns the tree. 

If the problem continues

There are a few ways to deal with this issue if it continues. These depend on who owns the hedge or tree, though. 

If they own the hedge or tree, you are legally allowed to cut back the tree to the boundary line but not passed. 

The branches should be given back to your neighbour unless they do not want them anymore as they technically own them for now. If you believe the tree is dangerous, you can report them to the council, and they will contact the neighbour about this issue and investigate solutions. 

You can also have a tree surgeon investigate to see if the roots from their tree are affecting your home or garden in the ground.

If you own the hedge, your neighbour can cut the branches back to their property line but no further. If they want to cut the tree down just because of its looks, they will need your permission first. It is ultimately up to you as you are the owner. 

If your neighbour has said the tree is dangerous and needs to be taken down, you can have a tree surgeon do a survey on it and provide advice. You could also ask the council for advice on this matter.  If your hedge is classed as a "high hedge, " it will need to be cut down. A high hedge is any hedge higher than 2 meters.


This article looks at what you can I do if your neighbours trees are too high. If you are looking for tree surgery in Northampton, Milton Keynes and Bedford contact our specialists today.