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To ask the man next door to cut down his trees

(217 Posts)
FeynmanDiagram Wed 08-May-13 18:27:27

I'm having some problems with my neighbour and created an account to hopefully get an impartial view from you. I'd be grateful for your feedback.

Approximately five years ago a new neighbour moved next-door to me and inherited a garden that was a bit of a mess. We'd had problems with the previous neighbours garden in that the trees at the foot of the garden overhung quite badly into ours. In the end the we managed to get them to cut them back, but the problems haven't stopped.

Now the same trees are so high that they are blocking the sunlight from getting into my garden in the morning. I'd like to be able to enjoy breakfast in the summer sun from the comfort of my own garden, but can't because of the height and the fact that they are covered in ivy.

Rather than going through the courts, I approached my neighbour and explained the situation and he said he'd go away and look into it. They weekend he came back and said that he'd gotten quotes, but said that he wanted me to pay half!

I told him how in no uncertain terms how ridiculous it would be for me to have to pay for his trees to be fixed when its him that's causing the problem. Especially since I'm on a single income and they are both young professionals with no children.

What are your thoughts? AIBU?

coffeeinbed Wed 08-May-13 20:31:27

Don't be daft.
Acceptable aesthetic standard - highly debatable. His does not have to match yours and you don't get to set the standards.

iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii Wed 08-May-13 20:37:26

Oops, cross post. It not a reverse AIBU blush

The high hedge legislation will not apply as the trees are deciduous and the high hedge legislation only applies to evergreen or semi evergreen trees.

It would make a huge difference just cutting off the ivy. It is an easy job. You can look up how to do it online. You need to cut away a band of the ivy right around the trunk as it can grow back together if you simply cut through the ivy stems. The ivy will take a surprisingly longtime to die and then it takes a while before you can pull it off the tree. You should then apply a Glyphosate based weedkiller to the ivy stumps (a strong one, maybe one for killing stumps) you will have to keep doing this for ever a long while.

TBH. The trees don't look that bad in your photo but it is hard to see properly.

Your nieghbour is doing you a favour by offering to pay for half the costs of the work you should be grateful.

Alternatively, if you wait long enough the ivy might kill off the trees (might be awhile)

usualsuspect Wed 08-May-13 20:40:07

You can't take someone to court for having ugly trees.

KitchenandJumble Wed 08-May-13 20:40:18

Just to add my voice to the chorus: YABU. He has no obligation to ensure that your garden receives sunlight. I think it was very kind of him to offer to pay half to accommodate you. But your response sounds quite aggressive and not at all neighbourly.

Our maple trees have been infected with a horrible canker that is spreading through the area. Sadly, we had to remove one beautiful old tree. And just today some of the others were cut back to remove dead and dying branches. It's happening all over town. It makes me so sad to see these lovely mature trees being cut down. <Irrelevant addition>

maddening Wed 08-May-13 20:43:02

maybe you and other impacted neighbour can go halves - seriously he was doing you a favour to be so amicable, proactive and generous to offer to pay half and organise quotes etc.

Roshbegosh Wed 08-May-13 20:46:32

I would get the bloody things cut down if they were bothering a neighbour, and I would not expect her to pay.

Floggingmolly Wed 08-May-13 20:46:52

It's very hard to judge that photo as there's nothing else in it for perspective. Doesn't appear to be blocking that much light though, unless you sit right under them.
It's all academic though; they're his trees, he doesn't have to engage with you at all on the matter, never mind actually pay for the work you want done.
I hope he tells you where to go if you've the brass neck to approach him again.

Yakare Wed 08-May-13 20:47:06

You do realise that the ivy will be supporting a fascinating ecosystem, OP, with all kinds of birds nesting, and invertebrates?

Why not learn to embrace nature, instead of wanting to cut it down?

<bloody townies, mutter mutter>

harbinger Wed 08-May-13 20:47:41

boobsinpocket Magnolia. Pale petals?

That photo is useless for judging anything.

And unless you were in his garden with permission that's trespass.

iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii Wed 08-May-13 21:07:10

I know this doesn't apply to the OP's situation but you don't 'go to court' to enforce the High Hedge Legislation. The local council deal with it. The Local Authority charges the complainant a non refundable fee before looking into a case. The council will then enforce the legislation if need be.

You do not need to consult a solicetor to do this.

It can cost £300-£400 'ish to do this.

maxpower Wed 08-May-13 21:07:38

OP I've lived both sides of this situation. When we bought our house we inherited 2 massive evergreens. On the opposite side of our garden our neighbours had a row of huge evergreens. Our 2 trees were blocking light into another house. The people living there cowardly sent us a shitty letter threatening (made up) legal action if we didn't get them cut down. As it was we were keen to get them removed but couldn't afford it (it cost about 1k) and we were on 2 incomes. We eventually got enough together to get them cut down. The previous owners of our house already had a history with our neighbours with the row of evergreens which were cutting out all the light to the rear of our house so we just accepted there was nothing we could do. Thankfully a few years later they got the council in to remove them. I wish I'd thought to ask for a contribution from the arseholes neighbours who wrote to us. Just because your neighbours have 2 incomes it doesn't mean they have spare cash to improve your environment. Sorry.

LessMissAbs Wed 08-May-13 21:08:18

Poor trees. Spending so long growing, only to be at risk of being cut down because they are blocking someone's light. They are beautiful trees. Surely you take things like this into account if they are so important to you when buying a property.

Mature trees in urban areas are pretty scarce and a haven for wildlife. Can you not see the beauty in them?

Misspixietrix Wed 08-May-13 21:16:41

Marking my spot on this thread as currently have a similar issue with Neighbours I haven't raised as don't want to create a bad atmosphere when we live within such a close proximity. Theirs is a gigantic overeaching Oak type thing that practically covers one half of our front garden and one of the birds seems to have made itself at home in the Attic <sighs> Im hoping the noisy thing sods off it finds its way back out of the small hole in the Roof it discovered before I did in the not so distant future.

OP I don't think YABU to be annoyed by it albeit it's not a crime, I do think YB a bit U to not bite his hand off at his offer though! I certainly would if my Neighbours offered. I'm on a single Income too and I'd save up the pennies in order to get a decent nights sleep! grin ~

WorraLiberty Wed 08-May-13 21:24:43
Debs75 Wed 08-May-13 21:32:03

iiiiiiiiiiii My mums neighbours trees are that big, they form the boundary between their back gardens and they are higher then the house and take up about 6 feet of her garden they are so bushy.
She has asked him repeatedly over 10 years to cut them back and he always says 'I'll get on it' yet never does. Mum has even offered to pay and he has refused. The only thing he has relented to is when mums house was reclad the company pretty much made him let them cut down the one nearest the house so they could work. They even offered to cut the rest down to about 8 foot high and he refused that.
He is an almighty twat about it and it is affecting everyone. He has had his house on the market for 6 years since his mum dies and loads of people have told him they liked the house but the trees put them off and the expense of diging them up and replacing them was too large.

OP take his offer and go back with a couple of other quotes and get them cut if they bother you that much

digerd Wed 08-May-13 21:34:23

Misspixietrix
I'd be much more concerned about how near to your house foundations the Oak tree is, due to subsidence risk. Any roots encroaching onto/into your land you can cut off. Same as the branches of the tree.

However, as it is so large, if it is heavier branched on their side, you are endangering it to topple over and you would be responsible for any damage caused.

iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii Wed 08-May-13 21:37:16

Debs What type of trees are they?

You are allowed to cut back any branches that overhang your property, although, you are meant to 'offer' the branches back to the neighbours.

digerd Wed 08-May-13 21:40:36

Debs75
How did the company force the neighbour to cut down the tree? How near to the house wall was it?

firesideskirt Wed 08-May-13 21:49:49

I would definitely take him up on the offer, and make sure you are there to supervise the tree cutting to ensure it is done to your satisfaction. The benefit of the cutting is all for you.
But now you have upset him the offer may no longer be there, so you'll keep your cash, but not get to enjoy your breakfast in the sunshine.

TheCraicDealer Wed 08-May-13 22:01:48

This has got to be a reverse AIBU. If it isn't- OP, swallow your pride, go back your neighbour and apologise for being such a twat. Offer to go thirds with him and other complaining neighbour and hope they take you up on it. Even if they don't agree, paying for the whole removal yourself will cost a damn sight less than getting solicitors involved.

Carry on down this road and in three years' time you'll be standing in your shady garden with your kids doing sadface poses while the Daily Mail photographer tries to work out how to best portray this tragic story through pictures.

LetsFaceTheMusicAndDance Wed 08-May-13 22:02:40

So did you trespass to take that photo OP?

Tbh your attitude would really make me dig my heels in if I were the owner.

To be clear, you can trim back overhanging trees to the boundary but you must offer the trimmings back to the owner. Dumping them back into their garden without permission is not allowed.

Misspixietrix Wed 08-May-13 22:05:32

digerd Thankyou. hmm? will definately look into the subsidence risk. When we had those gales a few weeks ago though, a Taxi Driver told us not to worry as "there's not a chance in hell of that stong old Ox ever coming down" grin

Sorry to hijack OP, As you were ~

quoteunquote Wed 08-May-13 22:31:11

If you wait to early autumn/ late summer, then all the birds nesting in that ivy will have finish raising their brood.

half was a very generous offer,

if you do cut them down, plant some more, something size appropriate,

Ivy covered trees, provide the majority of habitat for quite a few species, so it would be nice to put up some habitat boxes, bee, bat and bird, before you disturb, so any residents have the opportunity to relocate.

FeynmanDiagram Wed 08-May-13 22:31:32

To answer some of the questions, the quote for getting two trees cut down was £600 total. So if the offer to split is now off the table and I had to pay for the whole thing myself, I'd be better off going the council route and paying the £300 to £400 and forcing his hand. This is of course on the assumption that my (now admittedly) unreasonable behaviour has put him off sharing the cost, and that the high hedge law applies to the trees (which I think still has to be confirmed). Thanks to iiiiiii for the information!

I think maddening has the right idea and I may ask my other neighbour if she would split the cost with him instead. If she's willing to help out, then everyone get's the trees sorted out and no-one gets upset. It's a long shot, but it wouldn't hurt to ask I guess.

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