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UK-Justice
UK-Justice, Barrister
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 16193
Experience:  Called to the Bar in 2007
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After I erected a new fence within the boundary of my property

Customer Question

After I erected a new fence within the boundary of my property my neighbour removed their boundary fence which according to their deeds they should maintain. They then screwed hooks into my fence panels and wired them together so I couldn't remove them for maintenance. I approached them and asked why? Their reply was they didn't want me having access to their garden, to which I replied then you should reinstate your boundary fence. I advised them that they were commiting criminal damage by wiring my panels together and asked them to remove the fixings. They reluctantly complied but in retaliation planted a tree alongside my fence. I now find the tree which is only 16feet from my building could reach 60foot in height and a spread of 25feet plus. The root system could also spread as far as 30feet from the tree putting my house in danger of root damage and subsidence. The tree now overhangs my garden and although I know I can cut back the branches and roots to the boundary line, the tree is getting to high to reach and cutting the roots may make the tree unstable. Also, I'm disabled and would need pay someone to do the work. Is there anything I can do about this situation?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: UK Property Law
Expert:  UK-Justice replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for your question. Please remember to rate my answer SMILEY FACE OR ABOVE so that I am credited for my time.

What type of tree is it?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.


Hi, I believe its a Gleditsia Honey. Thanks for replying.

Expert:  UK-Justice replied 2 years ago.
And what is it you wish to achieve?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

As stated in the question the tree is potentially damaging because its so close to the building. Being on the south side of my garden, If left to grow it could achieve 60ft in height blocking light from my Kitchen and bedroom windows, putting my garden in constant shade and causing massive leaf litter every autumn. It could damage my roof/guttering during high winds and the roots could cause damage to my garden flowerbeds, walls and foundations.


The neighbour was obviously aware when planting the tree that it would overhang my property considerably yet still went ahead. The advised distance from buildings for this kind of tree is 8.5mtrs, twice the distance this one has been planted.


Ideally, I would like the tree removed before it reaches the stage of blocking light entirely or causing damage. I'm also aware that it may affect the value of my property being a potential hazard. The neighbour now has a dog which means I can't take my fence panels out for maintenance for fear of the dog escaping, so reintating their boundary fence would also be beneficial.


According to my neighbours deeds of which I have a copy, they must maintain a boundary fence or wall and mustn't do anything to spoil my enjoyment of my property nor reduce its value. Regarding light, I believe the Prescription act of 1862? states I may have earned the right to light having enjoyed it for over 20yrs before the tree was big enough to block the light.


I've contacted the local authority from whom both our properties were purchased but they aren't interested in private residents disputes, even though the wording of our deeds are basically a contract with them?

Expert:  UK-Justice replied 2 years ago.
Does it actually overhang your boundary?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

As stated in the original question its been planted alongside my fence and is only 20ins inside the boundary line where the neighbour has removed the boundary fence.


Yes, it overhangs the boundary by over 4 feet at present and if left to grow will continue to spread across my garden and over the neighbours on the other side of me, thats how big they get.


My garden being wedge shaped is only 12ft wide at the point where the tree is.


Looking away from my building the fence to the right is straight, while the fence to the left runs in towards it at an angle. The tree is 16ft from my building and directly in front of my window.

Expert:  UK-Justice replied 2 years ago.
Anything that is on your boundary you are entitled to cut down as long as you do not kill the tree.

If the tree is on your side wholly or the roots are you can seek an injunction that they remove it.

The Court can order can order that he remove the tree.

Therefore you may need to see a Solicitor to draft an application and present your argument in Court.

If he ignores the Court order he can be sent to prison for contempt of Court.

I hope this helps.



Please remember to click *** OK SERVICE *** or above so that I am credited for my time. The question does not close and you can ask follow ups.

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Customer: replied 2 years ago.

As stated I'm disabled and in receipt of benefits. I'm not in a financial position to seek the services of solicitors. I do however feel condfident that I can represent myself in court as I have all the data needed.
I just need to know how I apply to the court and which court?

Expert:  UK-Justice replied 2 years ago.
You need to fill out form N1 at the County Court.

There would be a Court fee of £175 to pay.




Please remember to click *** OK SERVICE *** or above so that I am credited for my time. The question does not close and you can ask follow ups.

Important: If you feel the need to rate as one of the lower two scores, it counts as negative feedback so please reply to me via the REPLY with any further questions you may have. I will be happy to assist you further.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Okay, Thankyou. I believe being in receipt of benefit exempts me from the court charges but I may be wrong.
After revueing your advice I have two queries and then we're finished.


You state that if the tree is wholly on my side of the boundary, or are the root's, I can get an injunction for them to remove it? Surely if the tree was wholly on my side of the boundary, it would be my tree and I could do as I like with it. Please explain?


If I was to go to the county court, would I be able to speak with a judge/magistrate beforehand to get an idea of any outcome or if in fact I have a case? I wouldn't want to waste the courts time.

Expert:  UK-Justice replied 2 years ago.
A. If you did not plant it, it would not be your tree

It would belong to your neighbour but on your land.

B. no, there would be a preliminary hearing and if the neighbour contested it that would then go to a full trial.

The judge can give an indication of this view but that is a matter for the judge,



Please remember to click *** OK SERVICE *** or above so that I am credited for my time. The question does not close and you can ask follow ups.

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UK-Justice, Barrister
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 16193
Experience: Called to the Bar in 2007
UK-Justice and other UK Property Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Being on my side of the boundary and within my property I could cut it down irrespective of whom planted it surely? Its not a protected species or within a conservation area.


Thanks for your advice. Now we're all done I'll complete your feedback.

Expert:  UK-Justice replied 2 years ago.
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.

That doesn't make any sense. If I can cut branches of a neighbours tree that overhang the boundary or the roots that grow under the boundary, I must be able to cut down the tree if its totally within my property.


Surely it would be criminal damage and trespass if my neighbour planted a tree in my property.

Expert:  UK-Justice replied 2 years ago.
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.

But to plant a tree in my garden, my neighbour must first trespass then commit criminal damage by digging up my garden to plant it.


They would then have to admit to commiting these offences and be able to prove ownership of the tree before they have a hope of bringing a successful prosecution against me. They would also need to prove I intentionally killed the tree and didn't simply pull it up whilst innocently mistaking it for a weed.


 


This actually begs the question, why would my neighbour plant a tree in my garden?


 


Are you suggesting I should claim I planted the tree in their garden and would now like to remove it? I doubt they still have their receipt to prove otherwise.


 


 

Expert:  UK-Justice replied 2 years ago.
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Expert:  UK-Justice replied 2 years ago.
I'm just following up with you to see how everything is going. Did my answer help?

UK-Justice
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Its a little to early to tell. |My next step will be to visit the county court as advised. Thanks again. Tony.

Expert:  UK-Justice replied 2 years ago.
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