Wandering into your garden only to see that the neighbour has cut the top of your hedge off is not what everyone wants to see on their weekend.
Your neighbour can cut the top of your hedge off that resides on their side of their property, however, if they cross the boundary line onto your property, trespass or damage your hedge, then they could be in the wrong.
We have discussed in more detail below whether or not your neighbour can cut the top of your private hedge off below, as well as how to handle neighbouring trees that have an overgrown hedge.
It is legal for your neighbour to cut the top of your private hedge that resides on their side of the property, your neighbour can effectively do anything to the lawful hedge if it is on their side but must not damage the hedge itself or cut the domestic hedge on your side.
When it comes to boundary hedge cutting your neighbour is also entitled to cut the top of the hedge which is on their side, however, if they cross the boundary line this becomes illegal.
Your neighbour might have decided to do hedge maintenance on your hedge if it is overgrown, it is your neighbours right to complain if you have let formal hedges or informal hedges grow over the height of 2m as this can be disruptive by blocking light into your neighbours garden.
It is the current hedge owner right to make sure the hedge maintenance is carried out and the hedge between you and the neighbour is safe and well-maintained, if not and it is over 2m your neighbour has the right to take you to the local council for a fine if you refuse to cut it to under 2m again.
Your neighbour has the right to complain about the height of your hedge if it is disruptive and over 2m, if you meet this criteria then the council will take action -
As we mentioned above your neighbour or yourself can cut your neighbours hedge and remove branches from the privacy fence which reside on their side, they must however offer any of the cuttings back from the hedge as it is not there.
You cannot cut your neighbour's hedge over the boundary line or tough any parts which lay on their side, not only is trespassing but is also a criminal offence, to avoid any disputes, it is always best to notify your neighbour that you will be hedge cutting on your side, to begin with, then they might end up cutting their side too.
If you have already come to your garden to see that your neighbour has cut the top of your hedge without permission, then you can take a couple of the following actions.
Overall, your neighbour has the legal right to cut the top of your hedge or a boundary hedge if they only cut the side which was on their side of their property, your neighbour should never damage the tree in doing so, keep the cuttings or cut on your side of the hedge, as this can be seen as trespassing.
To resolve any cutting issues, it's always best to try and sort it out on a personal level with your neighbour first before going straight to the council.