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Who should pay?

(74 Posts)
Finelinebetweenchaos Tue 04-Apr-17 09:58:22

Genuinely not sure what's fair here. This is the basic situation.

Neighbour A has a long garden with an evergreen hedge of conifers and yew trees down one side. Garden is on a slope so hedge at the top is about 3-4m tall and at the bottom is about 7-8m high. The conifers have been shaped and look nice. Yew which is taller is a bit sprouty as it hasn't been cut for several years (it's really high and hard to cut).

Neighbour B's garden backs on to the side of A's garden. B has a small garden (approx 9m long) which is further down the slope so the hedge looks even taller (it's higher than the roof of B's house).

B would like A to significantly trim the hedge. A has said yes but only the yew and only by 1-2m and only if B pays for it.

B feels that in some ways it's fair for B to pay as they are the ones who want it cut BUT it is A's hedge and the reason it is so unruly is because it hasn't been maintained.

Neither neighbours want to go to the council because of the stress etc and this would cost money (£400) anyway (if they did, the likelihood is that the entire hedge would have to be significantly reduced but no one wants it to be acrimonious. Currently thinks are friendly.

What do you think!?

Finelinebetweenchaos Tue 04-Apr-17 09:59:27

*Things are friendly

JigglyTuff Tue 04-Apr-17 10:01:00

I'm guessing you're B. If you want their hedge cut, then you should pay if they don't care either way.

PlayOnWurtz Tue 04-Apr-17 10:01:14

You can cut any and all branches on your side without their permission. Get a friend who is confident with a hedge trimmer and do it yourself. Topping them off is the tree owners responsibility but for neighbourly relations offer a contribution.

DermotOLogical Tue 04-Apr-17 10:02:01

Split the bill half each.

Finelinebetweenchaos Tue 04-Apr-17 10:05:52

Yes, I am B! Lol!
No, they don't want to contribute at all to the cost. I was hoping we could split the cost of the top - tree surgeon has quoted £750! But they are not up for that. Don't know whether to just swallow it and do it but kind of feel that if we pay for it we should be able to cut more off iyswim!

PlayOnWurtz Tue 04-Apr-17 10:07:20

Thing is if you do it and pay for it then they could cry vandalism. By getting them to part pay means they are consenting to the work being done.

Osolea Tue 04-Apr-17 10:07:43

Personally, I think the person who wants the work done should pay for it, but I'm in a similar position to A, in that I know my neighbour would like me to make one of my hedges smaller. I'd be happy for the work to be done, and would pay for it if money weren't an issue, but I have other spending priorities for my money that I'm not prepared to sacrifice for something so trivial.

Hillarious Tue 04-Apr-17 10:09:49

I'd pay for it. You've everything to benefit.

Finelinebetweenchaos Tue 04-Apr-17 10:11:10

I definitely wouldn't do anything without their consent! They wouldn't cry vandalism! I would be v happy to pay all of it if we were able to lop a great load off the whole thing so we actually get some light in our garden but when it basically comes down to a trim it makes me feel a bit uncomfortable to pay the whole thing when they still only want a small amount taken off... but then I feel like it's better than nothing!!

I guess I also want them to then actually maintain it!

Noodoodle Tue 04-Apr-17 10:11:58

Whoever owns the offending shrubbery is the one who pays and has duty to maintain it. So A should do it/pay.

However, B is entitled to cut whatever is on their side.

A should do it if it is dangerous or hazardous to B (can go council route) but otherwise you cannot enforce it as such because you think it's high or don't like it.

hibbledobble Tue 04-Apr-17 10:12:09

B should pay, as it is their preference.

PlayOnWurtz Tue 04-Apr-17 10:12:18

This is it really they're absolving themselves of the responsibility for maintaining their own property.

JigglyTuff Tue 04-Apr-17 10:35:24

If you cut them by 2m that's quite significant surely?

I have a huge bloody tree outside my house on the pavement which takes all the light from my garden and is taller than the house. Council refuse to reduce it and won't let me pay for a professional to do it either. It's hugely frustrating I know

Peachypossum Tue 04-Apr-17 11:26:32

We have lots of trees, I love them but would understand a neighbour wanting some trimmed back, I wouldn't pay for it though as I'm happy with the trees as they are and it's of no benefit to me. Infact one neighbour years back asked us to lose a tree completely and offered to take it down, no problem, however they kept all of the wood that was good for a wood burner and left the rest of the tree strewn across my garden, for me to clean up and dispose of which I thought very rude as I had no reason to remove the tree and agreed to it only to be neighbourly.

Those who say its down to neighbour A to trim to neighbour Bs preference and they are shirking their responsibility, how is that so? Theres no rule book saying we have to have trees lopped to suit other people, although they must be safe.

Peachypossum Tue 04-Apr-17 11:28:36

"I'm happy with the trees as they are and it's of no benefit to me. " We do a maintenance trim/lop every few years to our preference.

NaiceBiscuits Tue 04-Apr-17 11:30:37

There's a difference between trees and hedges. Legally, hedges need to be kept to 2m or less (the homeowner is responsible for that).

The homeowner is also responsible for any damage caused to their neighbour's property by the hedge (ie subsidence, broken drains etc if planted too close).

TheClacksAreDown Tue 04-Apr-17 11:31:01

Given A doesn't actively want it cut I think if you want it done you're going to have to pay for it. Otherwise they're not going to do anything with it.

NaiceBiscuits Tue 04-Apr-17 11:35:59

Oh, the council can't do anything about subsidence issues btw. That would have to be taken up civilly, and it's usually easier/cheaper to just use insurance

NaiceBiscuits Tue 04-Apr-17 11:40:26

The advantage of going through the council, is that you could ask them to consider ruling that the hedge must continue to be maintained to whatever level the council see fit, and then you won't have to pay for a further complaint in the future.

nocake Tue 04-Apr-17 11:49:58

The RHS website has advice for hedge disputes (search on there for hedges: nuisance). If the hedge is over 2m tall and you can't reach an amicable agreement then you can apply to the council for a ruling on it. There is a fee for this. The council may issue a notice requiring the hedge to be cut and by how much. They won't automatically find in your favour if the hedge is over 2m. It also has to be excessively overbearing and/or block too much light.

scottishdiem Tue 04-Apr-17 11:52:40

If the law says 2m tops then perhaps highlight this to your neighbours. Mention that you dont want it down to that but certainly more than what they have offered.

Also state that if you do go to the council for a ruling then its them that entirely has to pay for the cutting back, not you and would it not be better to go half on an agreed height?

SpreadYourHappiness Tue 04-Apr-17 11:53:47

If you want it doing, you should pay. It's their hedge; they're being reasonable by allowing you to cut some of it off. They don't want any more than 2m cutting off, which is fair enough. You shouldn't be wanting more off when they're already throwing you a bone.

Wando1986 Tue 04-Apr-17 11:58:35

£750 is a silly amount. You have been vastly overquoted. You're talking about a couple of hours work with industrial cutters. Not taking down 20 of them on a lined 400yd driveway and taking up the stumps.

budgiegirl Tue 04-Apr-17 12:05:18

I'm sure somewhere on a government website there is a booklet that gives advice on your 'right to light', and how to calculate how tall a hedge can be before a neighbour is legally obliged to cut it back.

If you are amicable with your neighbour, why not suggest that you look at this advice together and agree that if the hedge is over the height allowed, then the neighbour pays to cut it, if it's under then you pay. Do you think your neighbour would be agreeable to this?

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