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Ash, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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Our neighbours garden backs onto ours and he has a conifer

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Our neighbours garden backs onto ours and he has a conifer tree approx 30' high growing in his back garden directly on the boundary line between our properties. When we moved into our home some 3 years ago, we decided that the fence needed replacing and noticed that the concrete panel directly up against the neighbours tree trunk had cracked. The deeds are unclear as to who is responsible for the maintenance of fencing and so we called on our neighbours to say hello and to enquire who is responsible for replacing the fence. My neighbour said that in the past they have shared the cost with the neighbour in question as a lot of the other neighbours had done. We explained what we wanted to do and if he wanted to contribute towards the cost. He declined on on the cost but had no objection to us replacing the fence panels. We showed him the cracked concrete base panel and explained that it seems to be caused by his tree trunk. He disputed this. As we couldn't install a new fence using the existing fence panels because the trunk is now encroaching onto our property, we had to install a new fence on our property directly up against the existing one. We have now noticed that one of our fence panels seems to be being pushed out of alignment directly where the tree trunk is. We looked over our fence to find that the neighbour had taken out the existing panel from our shared fence but left the concrete posts and base panels and had fixed open trellace panels. The remaining concrete base panel directly behind his tree trunk has completely snapped in two and is pressing up against our base panel. Is there anything we can do regarding his tree trunk which is now growing across the boundary line into our garden. Also, as the existing fence is classed as 'shared', is my neighbour obliged to inform us of any changes he is making to the fence.
Alex Watts : Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this.
Alex Watts : have you asked your neighbour to prune the tree please?

Yes - but his reply was "i planted the tree myself when we moved in (which I estimate to be 20 years ago) so no I'm not going to prune it.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Sorry but I have rated your service as bad because I stated within my question that my neighbour wasn't willing to do anything to the tree.

Would you please arrange a refund of my payment

Thank you

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Please arrange a refund of my payment. Thanks

Sorry you rated so it dropped off my list.
Have you had a surveyor out please?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

No, but it is something that we have already considered but it will cost a lot of money.

Do you know the cost of putting it right?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

No I don't but I am concerned that if we carry out any works to the trunk and the tree dies or is rendered unsafe, we will be liable. Would it not be unreasonable to assume that any cutting back of the trunk would pose a real threat to the tree.

You need to get quotes for doing the work, this forms your loss.
You need to write and set out your losses and request the work done or payment within 14 days or say you will go to Court within 14 days. You should make sure you send this signed delivery and keep a copy.
If they do you then you can issue proceedings in the County Court. You can either do this online at: or by completing form N1 and take it to your local County Court.
The Court will then issue a claim which a copy will be sent to the Defendant who will have a limited time to defend it, if not you can enter Judgment and enforce.
If the matter is defended it will be set down for a trial. If the claim is for £10,000 or less it will be a small claim and you will not need representation.
Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

So basically, are you saying that our neighbour is liable to either take the necessary action to cut back the trunk himself or failing that, we are to undertake the task ourselves and claim the cost back from him by legal means? Also, what about the cracked concrete panel in the original fence and any potential damage to our own fence. Is the original fence classed as shared ownership as it is not clear on the deeds who is liable for the fence.

Indeed yes.
The cracked panels and damage you can claim back for that in terms of costs for quotes as well.
If it is shared them joint permission is needed for work to be done
Does that he;p?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Can you confirm that even though the tree trunk is encroaching on our property, we are in no way classed as joint owners or jointly responsible for any work required to said tree.

That is correct, its not yours. Only the boundary line is.
Ash and 2 other Property Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Can you please confirm regarding the original fence - as replacement costs have in the past been shared equally between neighbours and therefore joint ownership - was my neighbour obliged to inform me that he was thinking of taking out the existing fence panels and replacing them with trellace panels. In doing so he's basically enjoying the view of our own fencing without paying towards it - maybe i should paint the face of the panels of our own fence that he can see through his trellace illuminous pink!

Yes he was obliged to tell you. You jointly own it so technically he has damaged your property.
He should be contributing towards the cost indeed.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Finally, in your opinion, and in regard to the current law, do we have a case for him to answer and costs for us to seek reimbursement if he refuses to do anything about the situation regarding the tree and the original existing fence?

Yes I think you do on balance.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for your time and assistance.

Happy to help. If I could invite you to rate my answer before you go - the button should be at the bottom of the screen.
If you need more help please click reply.

I am just following up on this. Is there anything else I can help with? If so, please let me know.