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Neighbour and hedge dispute

(14 Posts)
Duckstar Sat 04-Feb-17 19:38:25

Purchased our property in November 2015.

Backstory - About 15 years before, the owner of our property divided garden in half and built a bungalow in back half. He still now lives there. He sold to friend who extended the original property to the side and into attic.

Between 2 properties is a fence and a row of Leylandi trees.

Spring 2016 my DH popped over and asked if the neighbour would cut the trees down a bit as they were a bit tall and blocking out light to our garden. Neighbour said he would come round and discuss, didn't want too low for privacy reasons, but would trim. Lots of other things happened last year and we didn't chase. Nothing happened.

Hedge is now 25 foot. Our garden is only about 15ft wide and it is blocking masses of light. We had gardener in who said we are going to struggle to grow anything at back because of lack of light.

My DH has been round twice earlier this year and spoke to the neighbour's wife who said she would get her husband to call us. Nothing happened.

Went over this evening and again got wife who said she had told her husband to cut hedge down and she was getting cross with him. Hour later husband came over shouting to ours. His points briefly summarised were as follows:

He had massive problems with lawyers and family at the moment so the trees were least of his worries.
He didn't want to cut them down at all.
We should have know when we bought house there was a hedge.
He didn't want us looking into his house so he wanted hedge as tall as our house (3 storey).

We were very reasonable. Told him it was damaging our lawn. Said we recognised his privacy but hoping for compromise.

We left it with him saying he would speak to his solicitor and get back to us.

I am a lawyer (not land though) and my natural instinct is to just an instruct a solicitor and let them deal with it, but I know that's costly and potentially could drag on for years.

Just wondered if anyone had similar problems. How did you resolve? Any suggestion? Someone suggested we suggest we will pay to cut some height off?

In terms of his garden. He has none. He has a bit of land at back which he has 2nd hand cars on. So he's probably not bothered.

wowfudge Sat 04-Feb-17 20:35:03

When he's calmed down, could you invite them round to see what it is like for you? Could you pay for a tree surgeon to reduce the height? Just thinking that if he is dealing with lawyers over something else, money may be a concern.

Duckstar Sat 04-Feb-17 20:43:29

Thanks for that wowfudge. You gave me really helpful advice when we were selling our house in 2015 (nightmare buyers). We can afford to pay for tree surgeons. I think I may get one to come round and get a quote - they also may be able to assist on what sort of height Council may make them go down to if we went that way. Then go to neighbour and say look here's quote, this is what they recommend height wise, we will pay, what do you say?

Villagernumber9 Sat 04-Feb-17 20:46:22

Personally, I think Leylandi trees should be made illegal. They grow too fast and causes no end of trouble.
The law does state that, any branches that crosses a boundary line can be chopped off and, as they belong to the other property, placed into the adjoining properties land.
In other words, chop them off and throw them into his garden.
Also, as your garden is 15 feet, and the trees are 25 feet, they are a danger to your property and family.
I would speak to a solicitor on the grounds of the fact that they are dangerous.

Jins Sat 04-Feb-17 20:46:29

Your local authority can take action as they are leylandii. You have to demonstrate that you have tried to resolve the matter yourself first which you have.

There may be a fee to lodge a complaint

Duckstar Sat 04-Feb-17 20:48:04

Jins £695 round here and they expect you to go to mediation first.

Villagernumber9 Sat 04-Feb-17 20:50:28

Just found this. The local authority can either issue a high hedge notice, which orders owners to cut the hedge back, or decide not to act. The rules regarding hedges under Scottish law define a high hedge as a row of 'two or more evergreens' that rise to a height of more than two metres above ground level.

HyacinthsBucket Sat 04-Feb-17 20:50:35

We've had an ongoing saga for over 10 years with our neighbours over a boundary hedge, and in the end, we bit the bullet and went halves with the cost of replacing the hedge for fencing. It was the best thing we ever did, and I would offer to do the same or indeed offer to meet all of the cost if it is the difference between it happening and it not. It's a mammoth job to cut a 25ft hedge down, let alone get rid of the rubbish from it - and perhaps make an agreement that they keep on top of it once cut down to a manageable height!! Failing that, I'd be looking at a very strong weedkiller or similar to kill the roots............... grin

Villagernumber9 Sat 04-Feb-17 20:52:21

And this.Leylandii Law. The current legislation on high hedges comes under Section 8 of the Anti-Social Behaviour Act (2003). This allows councils to take action where the hedge has grown to a height where “the hedge is adversely affecting the complainant's reasonable enjoyment of their property.

Villagernumber9 Sat 04-Feb-17 20:56:38

And more.

The term ‘high hedges’ was subjective until it was defined by the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003: Part 8 in 2005. This is a summary of what constitutes a high hedge under the law:

The hedge is more than 2m (approx 6½ft) tall (there is extra guidance for hedge heights on slopes)
A hedge is defined as a line of two or more trees or shrubs
The hedge is formed wholly or predominantly of evergreens (these don’t lose their leaves in winter) or semi-evergreen ones (that stay green most of the year)
Bamboo and ivy are not included
Where a hedge is predominantly evergreen, the deciduous trees and shrubs within the hedge may be included in the work specified. However, a council can exclude specific trees or require different work.

tealady Sat 04-Feb-17 21:13:21

How annoying. Some info here that might be useful...
www.gov.uk/how-to-resolve-neighbour-disputes/high-hedges-trees-and-boundaries

ChristinaParsons Sat 04-Feb-17 21:25:58

How old is your house?

wowfudge Sat 04-Feb-17 21:39:29

Throwing cut branches into the neighbour's garden is hardly likely to bring him round though. If you can find a compromise without confrontation it will be better all round.

Duckstar Sat 04-Feb-17 21:39:32

House is 300 years old. Extension is about 10 years old. Extension doubled size (attic conversion and to the side).

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