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JGM
JGM, Solicitor
Category: Scots Law
Satisfied Customers: 12179
Experience:  30 years as a practising solicitor.
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My neighbours and I own shared land as part of a Residents

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Hi, my neighbours and I own shared land as part of a Residents Association. We are responsible to maintain it, which we do. The public can use it for recreational purposes e.g. dog walking etc. Our back garden looks right on to this land, which I love. While we were on holiday a neighbour from another street, not a member of the residents association came and chopped down 10 - 12 trees and cleared a load of bushes, she did not seek permission from the Residents Association. This has substantially affected our privacy and frankly I would think reduced the value of our property. We live in Scotland. Do we have any recourse against the person who did this?

Thank you for your question. I am a solicitor in Scotland. Does the person who did this share ownership of the land? Why did they do this? Do you have a copy of the title for this land that I could look at the title conditions?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
As explained the person who cut the trees ( at least 10 ) and the bushes has no ownership of the land. They are not a member of the Newhavengrove Association who own the land. I am a member - the land is right next to my house. She did it because " it was untidy" and it was " getting on her nerves". It is next to the sea at Largs and is a natural walk way. If she was unhappy about it she should have raised this with the residents association to rectify. She is fully aware that the association own the land as there was a boundary dispute between her and previous owners of our property in 1998. .

Thank you. I just wanted to confirm this person has no ownership rights as well as not being in the RA and you have explained that. That being the case what you have here is a person with no rights whatsoever entering the property of others and causing damage by removing trees and bushes. This will be an expensive mistake for her as you and the other owners can sue her for the cost of making good, usually the cost of replanting. If the important issue is screening there may have to be more mature trees planted rather than saplings and I know from dealing with other cases that that casts a lot of money. The RA should get quotes for real escaping and send her these with an intimation of a claim for the cost. If she refuses to pay or ignores you, you can instruct your solicitor to raise an action for reparation seeking damages for the cost of reinstatement. If you think there may be a reduction in the value of your property this would also be a stateable head of claim and you would need a surveyor to express an opinion as to the extent of any loss of value. I hope that helps. Please leave a positive rating so that I am credited for my time.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Hello IF we have to get to the stage of solicitors and reparation - what legislation covers this. Is she guilty of trespass ? Thanks for your help.

This is not a statutory case and there is no legislation about this. This is simply the common law of delictual liability with a remedy in damages.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
if there is no clear legislation covering this and we ( the residents Assosciaton) need to meet the cost legal action, can you give us a likely hood of success as the Assosciation may feel it is not worth pursuing due to cost. My husband and i may need to do this as individuals, but again we would need to understand the likelyhood of success. The lady responsible has admitted getting people to come in and cut down the trees. She has also accepted that she should have sought permission to do this.She is obviously just thinking she can do what she wants as we won't take legal action. However if there is a good / fair chance of us getting reparation we would do so. What would our first step be. A lawyer or the small court. I will get quotes for reparation.
Following this I do not think I will need to bother you with any more questions. I just need to know if it is worth pursuing as financially it may be cheaper to but trees myself - if there is a risk of legal fees and then losing the case. Plus I need to know where / with whom I begin to take action. I have written to the lady and explained the distress and change of outlook that removing the trees has caused. I did ask if she could think of any way to redress this but she has not replied. I have written twice. So she is happy just to think she can ignore the situation.
Don’t think that because there’s no legislation about this you are at a disadvantage. The law is comprised of a mix of common law and statutory law. I consider that you have a very good case given the lady had no right whatsoever to touch your land. Whether this goes to the Simple Procedure Court, which is the new version of the small claim court or to the ordinary sheriff court depends on what you claim is worth. Below £5000 you go to the simple court and do it yourself. The forms are at www.scotcourts.gov.uk. Above that you go to the ordinary court and instruct a solicitor to help you. Either way you claim the costs from her. If it was me I would proceed against her. I hope that helps. Please leave a positive rating so that I am credited for my time.
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