Can I cut my neighbour’s tree?
In the UK, you generally do not have the right to cut your neighbour’s tree without their permission. Cutting or trimming a neighbour’s tree without consent can lead you into trouble. Consequently, it could be considered trespassing or criminal damage, and you may be held legally liable for such actions. However, there are some exceptions where you may have limited rights to prune or trim a neighbour’s tree.
If you are having an issue with a neighbour’s tree, there are a few things to consider before taking any action.
It is always best to have a discussion with your neighbours in the first instance to see if a solution can be reached. Potentially, they may be willing to address the issue themselves by having the tree cut. Alternatively, they may provide permission for you to trim the parts that are causing a nuisance. In any case, maintaining a positive relationship with your neighbour is important, so try to find a mutually agreeable solution.
We always advise our clients to inform their neighbours prior to undertaking any tree work which may affect them, or their property.
Document the issue
Keep a record of the problems caused by your neighbour’s tree. Consider taking photographs or videos showing the specific issues you’re experiencing. For example, overhanging branches, falling leaves, or obstructed views. Indeed this evidence can be useful if you need to escalate the matter later.
Consult a qualified arborist
If your neighbour’s tree is causing damage or poses a safety hazard, consider hiring a professional arborist to assess the situation. At Ideal Tree services, our lead arborist Gavin has an Arbor.a Tech Cert qualification. Furthermore, we can provide an expert opinion on the tree’s condition and recommend appropriate actions.
Ideal Tree Services will not cut your neighbour’s tree without ensuring appropriate permission has been gained first.
One of the most common issues concerning a neighbour’s tree is leaves or branches falling into your garden. Generally, if the branches of your neighbour’s tree overhang your property, you have the right to trim them back to the boundary line. However, you must ensure that the trimming doesn’t cause harm to the tree. Unfortunately, trimming a tree inappropriately can significantly impact its overall health and stability.
Always consult with a professional tree surgeon to perform the trimming in a safe and appropriate manner.
It’s true that as a tree is considered part of your neighbour’s property. Therefore, you should offer them back any branches you remove. However, if they decline, then you should make arrangements to dispose of the green waste responsibility. At Ideal Tree Services we remove all green waste from jobs we undertake. As a matter of fact, we chip and recycle as much of the tree by- products as possible!
If the roots of your neighbour’s tree are encroaching upon your property, you have the right to trim them back to the boundary line. However, you must ensure that the trimming does not cause harm to the tree or impact its overall health and stability. Cutting into a trees root area can cause significant damage or even kill the tree. Consequently it could become unstable and very dangerous.
Dangerous or diseased trees
If a neighbour’s tree poses an immediate risk to the safety of people or property, you may have grounds to take action. In such cases, it is always best to contact a qualified arborist to assess the situation. As well as undertaking the work, a qualified arborist can determine if the tree requires urgent attention or removal. At Ideal Tree services, we can also produce professional tree surveys and tree condition reports.
You can also report your concerns to your local council. The council may step in and advise the owner to take appropriate action.
Other points to consider before cutting your neighbour’s tree
The tree may be subject to a Tree Preservation Order (TPO).
Local authorities can designate trees as protected by issuing TPOs. If a tree has a TPO, it is illegal to cut, prune, uproot, or damage it without the permission of the local planning authority. Violating a TPO can result in significant fines or legal consequences.
Trees located within conservation areas are afforded certain protections. If a tree in a conservation area has a trunk diameter greater than 75mm, you generally need to provide written notice to the local planning authority before undertaking any work. The authority then has six weeks to consider whether to issue a TPO to protect the tree.
Legal action and disputes with your neighbour’s trees
Sometimes, informal discussion with neighbours doesn’t always work. There may be more going on than just the issue with your neighbour’s trees and relations may already be strained. In cases like this, it may be helpful to engage in mediation.
Your local council may be able to assist in finding a mediator to help resolve the dispute. You can also find a mediator through the gov.uk website.
If communication with your neighbour fails and the tree continues to cause problems, you may need to seek legal advice. At this point, contacting a solicitor who specializes in property can help you understand your rights and potential options. In addition, a specialized surveyor may also be able to assist with boundary disputes.
Nuisance and Damage from a neighbour’s tree
If a neighbour’s tree is causing significant nuisance or damage to your property, you may have a legal claim under common law principles. For instance, issues like the tree blocking light, obstructing views, or damaging structures can cause significant impact. In such cases, you may need to seek legal advice and potentially pursue legal action against your neighbour.
Right to light- my neighbour’s tree blocks out light
The “right to light” is a legal concept that grants property owners the right to receive a certain level of natural light through their windows or openings. The right to light is an easement, which means it can become a legal right that is attached to a property.
Here are some key points to consider regarding the right to light:
The right to light is not explicitly defined in statutory law in the UK. However, it is protected under common law principles and can be enforced through legal actions.
The right to light can become a prescriptive right if the light has been enjoyed uninterrupted for at least 20 years. This means that after this period, it may become legally enforceable. This is generally the case even if it is not explicitly granted by a legal document or agreement.
Obstruction of light
If an action by a neighbouring property (such as an overgrown tree) significantly obstructs the amount of natural light that reaches your property, it may be considered a breach of your right to light. In such cases, you may have grounds to take legal action against the responsible party.
If you believe your right to light has been infringed, you can seek legal remedies. This could include an injunction to stop the obstruction, or damages to compensate for the loss of light. The court will consider the importance of the light, the duration of the obstruction, and the impact on your property.
Negotiations and settlements
In some cases, disputes over the right to light can be resolved through negotiations or agreements. This may involve discussions around mitigation measures or compensation.
If you believe your right to light is being infringed, it is advisable to consult a qualified legal professional who specialises in property law. They can provide specific guidance based on the circumstances. They will help you to understand your rights and available options.