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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71133
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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My neighbours telephone line goes through a tree on my property

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My neighbours telephone line goes through a tree on my property (the tree was there first) he now wants the tree lopped as his line is under strain and wants me to pay for the work. Am I responsible as obviously I did not route the wire through the tree?
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
How much will it cost to have the tree cut?
I'm not saying that you should pay half would he agree to pay half?
Does this line exclusively serve his property?
How long has the line been there?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I am not sure how much it would cost, we have just had a tree removed from our back garden and that cost £500. The line is exclusive to his property, I cannot say how long it has been there as we only moved into our house last October. I do not want to remove the tree and even if we cut branches it will still be a problem as BT (or Openreach) has routed it from the telegraph pole straight through the tree as it is the shortest distance.

I very much doubt he will pay anything towards it as he told the guy who worked in our back garden that any cost would be payable by us. Quite frankly I would be happy to do nothing as he has not even mentioned it to us except in passing to my husband, all he said was there was a problem with his telephone line which was why my husband suggested to the gardening guy to knock at theirs to see if he wanted any work done.

If there is no easement/wayleave noted in your deeds and the wire has not been in its current position for more than 20 years, then it is trespass and you can ask them to remove it or put it back into its original position. It is trespass if it goes to your airspace in exactly the same way as if it was on the ground.
For the above reason, there is no reason to cut the tree and he is not allowed to have the line crossing your garden unless he has consent. It cannot simply cross the corner of your garden simply because it is the shortest route.
I can only answer based upon the facts that you have given me and my suggestion is to to tell him that the telephone line is trespass saying over your land, he has no consent to have it there and that he should get it removed. Failing that, you can take court action, in trespass to make him remove it.
Before doing any of that, check that there is no consent, noted in your deeds, for this to be in place and that it has not been there for 20 years or more.
If there is consent or a easement or wayleave, he can make you cut the tree but he is responsible for the cost of doing so although you would be responsible for any damage caused by the tree to the wire if the tree isn’t cut and it causes damage.
Can I clarify anything for you?
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