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Thread: Boundary Line Tree Cutting

  1. #1

    Boundary Line Tree Cutting

    Hi hoping someone can help!

    I have a tree at the back of my garden. It does overhang my rear neighbours boundary. He trimmed it back last summer and threw the cuttings onto my land. I dealt with the cuttings and thought no more of it.

    Around 3 weeks ago he cut back a bush along the same boundary but this time proceeded to go around a metre beyond the boundary in to my land, once again he dumped the cuttings in my garden. At this point I went to see him to explain I wasn't happy that he had gone beyond boundary and obliterated the bush. At this point he raised the issue that the tree was blocking his light and what was i going to do about it?! I said to him as far as I was aware he had every right to cut it back to his boundary and i offered to give him a hand.

    I have returned home tonight and he has had another go at the tree and has once again gone beyond the boundary.

    My question is what is the process he should follow when cutting the tree back to his boundary. I have read various things online but there is conflicting info. Some suggest that he should inform me of his intentions and ask me what i want doing with the cuttings, otherwise it is technically fly tipping? Other sources suggest he can just cut it back and he must return the cuttings.

    Hopefully someone here can confirm either way.

    Thanks in advance,

    Ross

  2. #2
    AFAIK he has no right to cut down anything on the basis it is 'blocking his light' but anything that overhangs his garden that is growing in your garden he can cut back to the boundary line and the cuttings rightly do belong to you.
    Who's side of the boundary is the bush growing from?

    R
    Ignorance breeds Fear. Fear breeds Hatred. Hatred breeds Ignorance. Break the chain.

  3. #3
    Agree he has no right to cut it back so far but if exactly on the boundary could be over again in a month (depending what it is).
    Maybe fed up with always having to cut it back when you should be doing it.

  4. #4
    Master
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    Hi Ross , disputes with neighbors can escalate over the simplest things and lead to long term issues. Its clear your neighbor isnt happy with the bordering foliage.

    Why not grasp the nettle and prune your trees and bushes back in an ordered and timely manner. This will avoid you coming home to see “what has he done now”

    I know it feels like a concession, but trust me an irritated neighbor is nit what we want on your border.

  5. #5
    Master
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    How high is the tree ?

    A photo would help.

    Pete

  6. #6
    Craftsman gerard's Avatar
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    I, unfortunately get involved in boundary disputes professionally. Don't go there is my advice.

    As said, they are your trees and therefore your responsibility.

    There is no right to light, but there are claims for nuisance etc.

    He has the right to cut and throw back bit should give you the opportunity to undertake the work first.

    The courts have little sympathy in these situations. Solicitors love them as they are usually based on principle and that is the equivalent of a black can stick in traffic with the meter running. Cha..Ching!

    Sent from my moto g(8) plus using Tapatalk

  7. #7
    Journeyman
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    You are under no obligation to trim his side of your hedge/tree. He may trim overhanging branches back to the boundary line, any further he is technically trespassing. In terms of a single tree there is no right to light ad such, this differs when a hedge. Cutting back the side only is unlikely to increase the amount of light to his garden or see a significant improve in amenity space / use etc. He may be acting unreasonably but I highly recommend keeping it civil, these things can escalate unnecessarily.
    Edit. Slight repetition on previous post, beat me to it.
    Last edited by fierbois16; 26th February 2020 at 20:54. Reason: repetition

  8. #8
    Thanks for the replies.

    I don’t really want it to get out of hand either and I am happy for him to do what he likes up to his boundary. I would just like him to speak with me and discuss how to deal with the arisings.

    When I last spoke to him I offered to come round and do it with him but that was the last I heard off him. We do prune the tree annually but we like the size and shape.

    I may just be paranoid but I suspect this will keep going as he bought his house 18 months ago with a south facing garden and my tree puts his whole garden in shade. It maybe selfish but I don’t see that as my issue.



    Ross

  9. #9
    Master RustyBin5's Avatar
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    A neighbor asked me about my tree which hangs over his fence and drops leaves - for the sake of good relations I just agreed to remove the tree if he met half the cost. He agreed and it was settled amicably. Hope you can resolve your situation. These things have a habit of spiraling so best to apply a little perspective - end of the day it’s only a tree.

  10. #10
    Although quite a big tree I'm sure it was there 18 months ago when he bought the house...

    Removing it will remove your privacy. I would have an honest chat with him, say you're open to being as flexible and accomodating as possible but if he cuts in your boundary especially without talking to you first it's going to cause pointless issues. No need to say what those issues are.

  11. #11
    Craftsman
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    we have a row of conifers down one side of our garden.once a year i have a tree man trim them up and then go next door and trim up their side .i pay for this despite my nieghbour offering to share costs.as far as i am concerned they are my trees so my responsibiltiy regardless of legal aspects.op you have done the right thing by offering to help with cutting back but as said before invite your nieghbour round for a cup of tea and discuss the matter and see if you can come to an amicable agreement.my brother had a dispute with a nieghbour and it made his life hell ..

  12. #12
    He could try cutting roots on his side.

  13. #13
    Master
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    There is no "right to light" despite may people thinking this is the case.
    My neighbour got very upset as his lack of light when i build a conservatory, yes, you know, the buildings made of GLASS!
    Neighbourly disputes suck, but I have lived next to this moron for 24 years. He decided the best thing to do when my friend came to trim his tree was to spray him with a hosepipe, while up a ladder using an electric chainsaw!

  14. #14
    Master thieuster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigstam View Post
    Thanks for the replies.

    I don’t really want it to get out of hand either and I am happy for him to do what he likes up to his boundary. I would just like him to speak with me and discuss how to deal with the arisings.

    When I last spoke to him I offered to come round and do it with him but that was the last I heard off him. We do prune the tree annually but we like the size and shape.

    I may just be paranoid but I suspect this will keep going as he bought his house 18 months ago with a south facing garden and my tree puts his whole garden in shade. It maybe selfish but I don’t see that as my issue.



    Ross
    Well that looks like a big @ss tree in a back garden...

    We had the same issue from a tree in a neighbour's garden. So in the end I suggested to bring in a professional arborist (is that the correct word in English? I had to use Translate for that). The sort of people with gear like they're climbing the Mont Blanc, carrying a Stihl chainsaw... We offered to pay for it (around 300 euros) but in the end the owner offered to pay 1/3 as well. We didn't ask him to do so.

    Perhaps you can ask a professional to prune it back. In fact, Apart from a bad neighbour, I think that the tree can use a proper haircut. That way you can tell your neighbour that you've done more than he could hope for.

    There will be plenty of tree left for privacy. Besides, I think that your neighbours left and right from you can look into your garden as well.

    BTW, I love your striped lawn!

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by uktotty View Post
    Neighbourly disputes suck, but I have lived next to this moron for 24 years. He decided the best thing to do when my friend came to trim his tree was to spray him with a hosepipe, while up a ladder using an electric chainsaw!
    What an idiot.

  16. #16
    Master PhilipK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by uktotty View Post
    There is no "right to light" despite may people thinking this is the case.
    I am no expert in this area, but Wikipedia seems to disagree with you - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right_to_light

  17. #17
    Grand Master Saint-Just's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhilipK View Post
    I am no expert in this area, but Wikipedia seems to disagree with you - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right_to_light
    In this case it doesn't, unless you call 18 months 'longstanding'.
    'Against stupidity, the gods themselves struggle in vain' - Schiller.

  18. #18
    Master thieuster's Avatar
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    Did he bought the house during the winter with no leafs on the tree? Still, a major fault on his behalf; he should have checked that and it's not the first tree he has even seen in his life, I suppose. He could have known what the effect of a full-grown tree would be on his 'right to light'.

    Having said that: you have that the tree because it provides privacy. That's true. But, currently the tree looks higher than the roof tops of the homes surrounding that tree. No way that your neighbour can cast an 'arched' eye over the tree top into your garden. What if you have the tree trimmed back to the level of the gutters of the houses. That will bring the tree down 1/3, making it easier for your neighbour to have sunlight in his garden AND you don't have to worry about peaking eyes from them.

    As long as this behemoth of a tree is between you and him, I cannot see why he would back down. It's childish: he's blaming you for his own mistake. That will not change. Even when he knows that you have every right to keep the tree 'as is'.

    Menno

  19. #19
    Grand Master Saint-Just's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thieuster View Post
    Did he bought the house during the winter with no leafs on the tree? Still, a major fault on his behalf; he should have checked that and it's not the first tree he has even seen in his life, I suppose. He could have known what the effect of a full-grown tree would be on his 'right to light'.

    Having said that: you have that the tree because it provides privacy. That's true. But, currently the tree looks higher than the roof tops of the homes surrounding that tree. No way that your neighbour can cast an 'arched' eye over the tree top into your garden. What if you have the tree trimmed back to the level of the gutters of the houses. That will bring the tree down 1/3, making it easier for your neighbour to have sunlight in his garden AND you don't have to worry about peaking eyes from them.

    As long as this behemoth of a tree is between you and him, I cannot see why he would back down. It's childish: he's blaming you for his own mistake. That will not change. Even when he knows that you have every right to keep the tree 'as is'.

    Menno
    The tree is beautiful as it is. Trimming it a little yes. By 1/3? I certainly wouldn't.
    'Against stupidity, the gods themselves struggle in vain' - Schiller.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Saint-Just View Post
    In this case it doesn't, unless you call 18 months 'longstanding'.
    Why 18 months? Depends upon the age of the other house and age vs size of tree.

  21. #21
    Grand Master Saint-Just's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kingstepper View Post
    Why 18 months? Depends upon the age of the other house and age vs size of tree.
    I quote wiki:
    Right to light is a form of easement in English law that gives a long-standing owner of a building with windows a right to maintain the level of illumination. It is based on the Ancient Lights law.[1] The rights are most usually acquired under the Prescription Act 1832.
    'Against stupidity, the gods themselves struggle in vain' - Schiller.

  22. #22
    Master PhilipK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saint-Just View Post
    In this case it doesn't, unless you call 18 months 'longstanding'.
    My comment was in relation to the blanket statement that there is no "right to light" rather than this specific case. If you had read the article, you would have seen that the law uses a period of 20 years (and is in regard to construction rather than trees).

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Saint-Just View Post
    I quote wiki:
    I quote a chartered surveyor, https://www.right-of-light.co.uk/ser...s-and-reports/

    In England and Wales a right to light is usually acquired under the Prescription Act 1832. Under the Act a right to light usually occurs once light has been enjoyed through defined apertures of a building for an uninterrupted period of 20 years.
    Or, insurance brokers, https://www.loricainsurance.com/news/right-to-light/

    Rights to light apply to all properties which have received natural daylight for more than 20 years. The easement assures land owners either that their qualifying buildings will continue to receive natural light, or that they will be awarded compensation for their buildings’ loss of light.

  24. #24
    Master Maysie's Avatar
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    As with most of these types of conflicts, there is the law and then there is what is considerate and civil.

    We would all like to think that a conversation over the fence about it could sort out a reasonable compromise for everyone concerned, but so often that is not the case nowadays.
    I hope you get it sorted.

    If it is any consolation, I recently found a contract 3 man arbo crew cutting and felling trees around the edge of my wood where it meets the neighbours boundary fence line (farmland). Standing there in my property, with chainsaws, felling trees to the ground approx 3m inside my side of the boundary.
    No notice they were coming.
    No apology.
    They also stole the firewood and left all the brash, despite me telling them I wanted to keep all of the usable firewood (and it was my property anyway). In the end we just let it go, as our relationship with the neighbour was more important than falling out over his a-hole contractors.
    For us it was 'bigger picture' stuff, but I appreciate your situation is rather different.
    Last edited by Maysie; 27th February 2020 at 13:48.

  25. #25
    My neighbour planted trees that have rapidly grown. He's subsequently covered them in creepers so that my garden get no natural light in summer.

    The lawn died, and my patio doesn't dry well and gets algae.

    It's a pain in the backside and I'd love the trees to be dead.

  26. #26
    Grand Master Neil.C's Avatar
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    Not siding with anyone but that does seem like a bloody big tree for a small-ish garden TBH.
    Cheers,
    Neil.

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  27. #27
    I presume there's no TPO on it?

    It is a big tree relative to the gardens and I bet it grows quickly being south facing. I wonder if the houses at the rear came after the tree was well established as they look quite new.

    I also wouldn't be surprised if your next door neighbour with the garage doesn't also have a word with you soon as your tree is touching his garage roof.

    The neighbour should offer you the cuttings and if you decline them it is his responsibility to dispose of.

    I would also look to getting it professionally pruned all around this winter. Ask your neigbour for access from his side. He may contribute to the costs

    I have 200+ year old London plane on my side border and it causes similar issues but there's not much I can do as it has a TPO on it and I'm only allowed to prune it so much and only then with council permission.

    Good luck!
    Last edited by Casper; 27th February 2020 at 14:37.

  28. #28
    The tree is quite big and we do plan on getting it trimmed, but as I said we like the tree, size and shape and not just for the privacy it provides.

    We bought our house 2.5 years ago and the arborist was happy with it in relation to its proximity to my house and it was bigger when we moved in. The estate behind is new and I suppose it says a lot that his property was the last one to sell. Either he didn’t realise or thought he would “deal” with it once he has moved in.

    I will leave it for now, I have plenty of photos of how far over my boundary he has come, hopefully he has got it out of his system and that will be it for while.

    Cheers

    Ross

  29. #29
    Master village's Avatar
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    It's a lovely tree and it clearly hasn't suddenly sprung up in the 18 months since the neighbour purchased his house.
    But it is a big tree and it looks to me as though it could do with a professional top & shape. This would take the bulk out of the tree (I would estimate about a third) and demonstrate to said neighbour that you are making an effort to keep neighbourly relations amicable. It would also be of benefit to the tree.

    It's no good him banging on about a non existant right to light etc etc especially when the tree was there when he viewed and subsequently decided to purchase the house. As has been mentioned, he has every right to trim anything overhanging his boundary but must return the trimmings to you, but has absolutely no right to trim over the boundary and into your property.

  30. #30
    Master
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    That's a big tree

    is it fast growing once it's been trimmed back?

    we have a very old apple tree in the middle of the garden, (no problem with the neighbours), we had it pruned 25% and the following year it grew another 25% plus in height, so it's now a once a year job

  31. #31
    Journeyman
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    On the subject of the cuttings, my understanding is that legally they’re your property and they have to offer them back you, that doesn’t mean they have the right to dump them over the boundary.

    I think it’s a nice tree, and if it’s been there longer than the houses behind, it can’t be a surprise to the new owner and they’ll have to learn to live with it.

  32. #32
    Grand Master hogthrob's Avatar
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    Do the right to light laws and regulations apply to his garden? They seem to be applicable to buildings and windows?


    Get the tree pollarded?


    With regard to your neighbour trimming the tree and bush up to a metre within your boundary; isn't that criminal damage?

  33. #33
    Grand Master Saint-Just's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hogthrob View Post
    Do the right to light laws and regulations apply to his garden? They seem to be applicable to buildings and windows?


    Get the tree pollarded?


    With regard to your neighbour trimming the tree and bush up to a metre within your boundary; isn't that criminal damage?
    Possibly with trespassing...

    As to the other point, it looks like the tree predates the buildings so no right to light if I understand correctly
    'Against stupidity, the gods themselves struggle in vain' - Schiller.

  34. #34
    Grand Master hogthrob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saint-Just View Post
    it looks like the tree predates the buildings so no right to light if I understand correctly

    ... and a TPO as well, or presumably the developer would have had it down?

  35. #35

  36. #36
    Journeyman
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    What is the tree species ?
    Is it deciduous or evergreen ?
    This will become relevant to pruning and the type of regrowth it generates .
    You will need these answers to ascertain your best course of action and in any meaningful discussions with your neighbour .
    As others have said .... keep it pleasant if at all possible as it could become very expensive and corrosive for all .
    Good luck .


    Sent from my iPhone using TZ-UK mobile app

  37. #37
    Craftsman
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    Ring the council to see if TPO is in place, if so be careful regarding pruning or any other thoughts without consulting council.

  38. #38
    There is no TPO in place.

    It does seem quite fast growing and in the summer when in full bloom it is quite dense. I think it’s a Willow. I will get a tree surgeon round to discuss shaping/taking some of the height off it.

    I popped round to see him tonight, I wanted to give him my mobile number and explain my plans for the tree. He said he wouldn’t be touching it anymore as he was happy with it now.

    Hopefully that’s the end of it!

    Thanks again.

    Ross
    Last edited by Bigstam; 27th February 2020 at 20:35. Reason: Additional info

  39. #39
    Master thieuster's Avatar
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    Good move to pop over to him and to keep things civilized.

  40. #40
    Journeyman
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    Many tree surgeons call themselves arborist, most will have relevant nptc qualifications but not all have further qualifications relating to tree pruning, biology, soil science or law.
    Reducing a trees canopy can promote growth requiring further cyclical pruning events with associated cost. Reducing any of the willow species tends to result in abundant growth resulting in a dense and cluttered canopy, crown thinning will be cheaper, less damaging to the tree and will not promote as much regrowth as a crown reduction.
    Try and use a company who are arb association approved, they may cost more but you get what you pay for and hopefully the guys will provide you with the correct advice to maintain your tree. Tree advice too often comes from people who are poorly qualified or who repeat, parrot fashion many old wives tales about "the dangers" or "problems" trees cause.
    😊

  41. #41
    Grand Master hogthrob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fierbois16 View Post
    Many tree surgeons call themselves arborist, most will have relevant nptc qualifications but not all have further qualifications relating to tree pruning, biology, soil science or law.
    Reducing a trees canopy can promote growth requiring further cyclical pruning events with associated cost. Reducing any of the willow species tends to result in abundant growth resulting in a dense and cluttered canopy, crown thinning will be cheaper, less damaging to the tree and will not promote as much regrowth as a crown reduction.
    Try and use a company who are arb association approved, they may cost more but you get what you pay for and hopefully the guys will provide you with the correct advice to maintain your tree. Tree advice too often comes from people who are poorly qualified or who repeat, parrot fashion many old wives tales about "the dangers" or "problems" trees cause.
    You sound like you know what you're talking about. I don't know if that's permitted round here? ;-)

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