If you live in close proximity to your neighbours, and especially if you share a fence or hedge, you might want to read this.
Have you ever had a dispute with your neighbours over branches or hedges that overhand your garden? Have you failed to reach an agreement with them? What happens next? Maybe you’ve wondered before about what your rights are as an equally important member of the community. Why should their needs hold more weight than yours?
If any of this sounds familiar, or if you’re just feeling productive and want to tidy up your side of the hedge, or if you’re merely curious, below is some information about what to do, what not to do, and how to go about sorting out issues. Hopefully you’ll find that your queries are answered.
Your neighbours have a duty to keep their hedges and trees maintained so that they do not cause any damage or inconvenience to anyone else’s property. Hedges should be under 2 meters tall ideally, and if a taller hedge is blocking out your sunshine or causing you to be unable to enjoy your garden for other reasons, then speak to your neighbour about cutting it to a more reasonable height.
If they refuse to compromise, you can ask for a council complaint form which will bring council action to the dispute. You can also file a complaint form if your neighbour’s hedge consists of 2 or more evergreen trees or shrubs, or if their plants are causing damage to your home or garden. Do not let these issues go unchecked. Handling them swiftly and in the right manner will lead to both parties being in a better position.
It is always better to have a friendly chat with your neighbour about what is bothering you, and maybe even offer to trim their hedge yourself, then to start a war over it. You might find that approaching the situation in this way will make them more likely to comply and fix the issues you raise.
Don’t hesitate to ask someone, do some research online, or contact your local council for information. The odds are that there will be someone around who can give you the answers you’re looking for and help you to avoid a messy situation or dispute.
If you are renting your home, speaking to your landlord might be the best way to go about resolving the issue as they might be able to deal with it without further intervention from you. If you own your home, then talking to your neighbour informally and politely is the best starting point.
Do not get confrontational or accusatory, as this might cause your neighbour to get their back up. If the problem affects other neighbours as well as yourself, then approaching your neighbour together might be more effective in getting the issue sorted.