Neighbouring trees

What should you know about neighbours'trees?

Trees (including branches of fruit trees), shrubs and hedges belong to the owner of the land on which it grows. The tree owner has no legal obligation to cut growth back from a neighbour's property.

Neighbouring trees
Overhanging branches

By law, you are allowed to cut any branches overhanging or underground root growing into your garden ; you should offer the cuttings and branches to your neighbour as they belong to him. Just don't throw them over the hedge as it could be considered as fly-tipping. Also be very careful: if you damage a tree and it dies you may be liable for criminal damage! However, as the neighbour's trees' leaves fall into your garden every autumn, you cannot ask him to come and pick them up. If however, these same leaves end up blocking your drain, you can ask your neighbour to clear them away or pay for the cost of unblocking your drain.

Tree Preservation Order

The local authority can issue a Tree Preservation Order if it decides that a tree offers amenity value to the neighbourhood and that its lost would have a big impact on the environment, only applies if the tree is visible from a public place. If you cut, fell the tree subject to such order,you commit an offence and may be fined.

Trees and plants blocking light

In residential areas, houses are built close together. Problems arise when neighbours allow trees and plants to grow and block the light. There is a law called 'the right to light'. Basically if your window has had 20 years non-stop light then you might be entitled to a right to light (Prescription Act 1832.). Simply write a letter to your neighbour asking him to cut the tree back.

  Trees in conservation areas

You have to give 6 weeks' notice to your local authority before doing any work on a tree which is in a conservation area.

Tree root causing damage

If your tree's roots cause damage to your neighbour's property, you will be responsible for the cost of repairs. Getting in touch with a surveyor is a good idea so that he can confirm the roots are the cause of the property's damage. As far as roots are concerned, it's advisable to speak with your neighbour first and maybe get a professional opinion.

You may want to cut back a tree hanging over your property for many reasons like avoiding damage to your home, increasing light or simple an aesthetic reason, we recommend you contact a tree surgeon

The information provided in this article is to be used strictly for guidance only. FindaTrade cannot accept liability for any of the information provided or any work carried out to your property using the information above. We recommend you always check the latest information provided on official websites for the most up to date rules and regulations.