Tree issues

Despite all the benefits they provide, trees can also cause some issues, especially between neighbours. 

Disputes over trees are a common cause of bad feeling between neighbours - especially when they block sun, when leaves from overhanging branches litter your property, or when roots choke drains.

These disputes can usually be settled with goodwill and compromise, but if this does not work, legal action may be your only remedy. This can be expensive and will almost certainly destroy any goodwill between neighbours.

The Property Law Act 2007 sets out your remedies when neighbours’ trees are causing damage or nuisance but it is worth trying to find a solution to the problem beforehand to minimise the risk of souring the good relationship you have with your neighbour. You also need to decide whether the problem outweighs the benefits the trees provide for both of you – beauty, privacy, shelter and shade.

Let your neighbour know how you feel about the problem and give them time to think about any suggestions you may have. Your neighbour may be happy to help with any work caused by their trees and this could save you both money. 

If the situation remains unresolved you may need to take legal action. You should tell your neighbour that you are considering this avenue so that there are no “surprises” awaiting them in the mail. You may find that your neighbour may co-operate if there is a legal obligation for them to do so.​

Page reviewed: 14 May 2016 2:48pm