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Ask F E Smith Your Own Question

F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 8445
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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My neighbour has not cut their side of the hedge between us

Customer Question

My neighbour has not cut their side of the hedge between us since autumn 2014. Now it is 3 ft.high above the level of my side. I used to be able to cut the full width at the top, at my expense, but last year found it too wide. In the past the neighbour has screamed abuse at me for cutting the hedge in June due to her concern about nesting birds. I feed the birds in winter, she does not. I feel this is a case of spite by her. The hedge in question is on the right hand side of my house looking from the road. I have been told that I have, by law, a right in how this hedge is maintained. Is this correct? I have photographed the hedge as it is now. I also have a witness to her abuse. I am prepared to spend on a solicitor if I am in the right. What should I do?
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  F E Smith replied 4 months ago.

I’m assuming that the hedges evergreen. Please confirm.

What is the total height of the hedge?

Apart from looking relatively unsightly, what problems this cause?

Would she allow you (ignoring the birds) to cut the hedge on her side?

Are there in fact birds nesting in the hedge?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
The hedge is a mixture of evergreen .It is about 5 ft high on my side but higher on her side.It is unsightly. No she would not allow me to enter her garden to cut her side. Maybe there are nests but they are usually low down near the ground
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Why are you asking me all these questions. All I want to know is if it is true I have a right over this hedge by its location.
Expert:  F E Smith replied 4 months ago.

The height of the hedge is relevant because unless it is 2 m high or greater, you cannot bring action under the Nuisance Trees legislation.

However you don’t automatically have an action simply because the hedge is over 2 m high, it must be a nuisance.

You are entitled to cut any hedge which overhangs your side of the boundary. You are not entitled to cut anything on her side of the boundary without her consent regardless of how high it is.

If you want her side of the hedge cut, you will have to contact the local authority and asked them to deal with the trees under the nuisance tree legislation. There is a £300 fee which you will have to pay. The local authority will only bring action against the landowner if the trees are a nuisance, not simply because they are unsightly.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Please don’t forget to rate the service positive. It doesn’t cost you anything but helps me greatly, I get paid!

Best wishes


Customer: replied 4 months ago.
You have not answered my simple question. Do I have a right over this hedge being on the right side of my property. It is a hedge and not trees.
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
why does it take so much time for you to answer me?
Expert:  F E Smith replied 4 months ago.

The fact that it may be on the left side of the property or the right side of the property is immaterial. The presumption that the boundary on one side belongs to one house and the boundary on the other side belongs to another house is a legal myth. You only have the right to cut the hedge up to the boundary but even then, you must not take any action to kill it.

The delay is inevitably caused because we are solicitors with offices and clients and sometimes we have to go off-line to travel and deal with those clients and suchlike.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
I feel like I have been conned. You could at least advertise the fact of your fees up front. You will not be getting a rating from me
Expert:  F E Smith replied 4 months ago.

I don’t deal with the fees, I just answer questions and the users choose the fee they want to pay for the answer.

I am an independent lawyer simply dealt with your question. I’m also not responsible for what the law says if it’s not favourable.

If you don’t give me a rating, I get nothing for my time and you have had my professional advice for free.

Kind regards

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