Over hanging tree

Discussion in 'Trees' started by weedaway, Oct 2, 2021.

  1. weedaway

    weedaway Gardener

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    Hi

    I have a question about an overhanging tree, please.

    I have a tree that is on my property near the boundary which over time has grown over the boundary and over my neighbours back garden, they live on a Devon & Cornwall Housing Association estate who have said that they will cut my overhanging tree back but did not say when, but the tenant is complaining to me that it has not been done and that they want me to cut it back because they don’t have the tools to do it and that they are in their 60s with no consideration that I am also of retirement age, to do this I would have to go onto the Estate with the necessary equipment into my neighbours back garden to cut it down, when the branches come down they may fall onto their fence causing damage to the tenant's fence which I could be liable to replace.

    Without asking a contractor to do this for me do I have a responsibility to cut this tree back to my boundary, please.

    Trish

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  2. NigelJ

    NigelJ Total Gardener

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    Suggest they chase the housing association; as the housing association said they would do it.
    I presume they are in the bungalow on the right of the picture and your tree trunk is off to the left. Their garden looks to be below yours so access would not be that simple.
     
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    • weedaway

      weedaway Gardener

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      Correct NigelJ

      Tension has grown because the HA offered to cut the tree back 2-3 years ago pre-covid, using their contractual gardeners, since then the tree has obviously got bigger and she, the tenant, more resentful complaining of falling leaves and bird droppings on her washing and whilst she lays in her garden sunshine and brings other people and her friends into the argument on a local forum.

      The dwelling is a house, but due to the ground boundary dropping down some 10-12 feet it does appear to be a bungalow as the ground level cannot be seen from my garden.
       
    • NigelJ

      NigelJ Total Gardener

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      They need to chase the HA then.
      I think it would be a job for a contractor; as they'd have cover if the fencing was damaged or they had a fall.
      As to responsibility for cutting back, if any, talk to a solicitor.
      I would also leave the local forum and certainly not respond.
       
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      • Loofah

        Loofah Well used member Staff Member

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        Short answer is no, you are not obliged to do anything.
         
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        • Alisa

          Alisa Super Gardener

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          I think, in this case you are not obliged to cut it, as it doesn't fall under hedge term. Whoever cuts branches from their side has to return them to you (no flytipping just throwing them back, neatly leaving somewhere instead on your land), unless they agree move branches away. I think you can hire someone to get tree down as it seems mostly been on neighbours side looking at photo. It's the case of antisocial tree planting :).
           
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          • pete

            pete Growing a bit of this and a bit of that....

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            All I can say is, looking at the picture, I would feel responsible.

            Whether that is right in law, I dont know, but if the tree is on my land and it encroaches on someone else's property I would feel it was down to me to get it sorted.

            Because of the large drop in the levels I can see that its not really easy for them to deal with regarding cutting back, and if it was cut back to the boundary there doesn't look like there would be much tree left anyway.
             
          • weedaway

            weedaway Gardener

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            There is no “antisocial tree planting” here, the tree was in situ when I moved in over twenty years ago, it was at that time no taller than the 6-foot hedgerow and was part of it and has always been kept that way on my side of the boundary, what you see of the tree is actually growing out of the other side of my boundary. As with so many tenants they can't be bothered to do any general maintenance around the house and invariably complain and wait for someone else to get the work done for them.

            There are two different species of trees as can be seen in the picture if you look closely, the one I have circled in yellow is further back into my property, the one circled in white is the tree in question hanging over the boundary.

            Opinions vary but taking on someone else's problems around their property or house leaves me open to an array of other problems that I would not want to get involved in or be expected to.

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          • Loofah

            Loofah Well used member Staff Member

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            Incidentally, if anyone does chop branches off yes they're supposed to offer them back to the owner (don't think anyone ever does ) but you're not allowed to just chop them off and chuck them over the fence
             
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            • HarmonyArb

              HarmonyArb Gardener

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              Hi weedaway

              Here's my tuppence worth: you're not legally obliged to do anything with your tree and your neighbours are quite within their rights to cut back any overhanging branches themselves. However; under the 'Occupier's Liability Act' you do have a legal duty of care that your tree does not cause any harm, injury or damage to anyone or any property in its surroundings.

              Additionally, if your neighbour does cut back any branches, and this in turn affects the health and safety of the tree, then your neighbour could be held responsible. I mention this because it seems to me that an awful lot of your tree overhangs your neighbour's property. If they remove any and all overhanging branches back to the boundary then that could have quite a serious impact on your tree.
               
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              • Loofah

                Loofah Well used member Staff Member

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                Isn't that Act with regards to, in essence, trespassers rather than residents or their guests? Don't think it would have any bearing on overhanging branches
                 
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                • HarmonyArb

                  HarmonyArb Gardener

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                  As I understand it - and I accept I may be wrong - OLA 1957 includes duty of care for your neighbours. I believe that Common Law Duty Of Care may also apply: “...take reasonable care to avoid acts or omissions which you can reasonably foresee would be likely to injure your neighbour.” I could look into this further, but all my text books are in the loft.
                   
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                  • Loofah

                    Loofah Well used member Staff Member

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                    In any event this isn't posing any safety issues, the neighbours just want it chopped and Weedaway is under no obligation to do so.
                     
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                    • weedaway

                      weedaway Gardener

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                      I had a hand-delivered letter from the tenant today, insisting that I cut back the over hanging tree branches.

                      I went down onto the estate and took some pictures of the tree/branches in question, they hang over a service lane first and then the tenant's back garden.

                      I rang and spoke to a screechy woman at the HA who insists that I am responsible for cutting these branches down, she didn’t stop for breath and was adamant that I was responsible based on the legal advice she had been given, but agreed that she had not actually been to see the site in person, she started playing word games stating:

                      “yes they were entitled to cut the branches back but not responsible to cut the branches back”

                      and continued to ramble on in these terms, I found her attitude quite obnoxious actually and less than helpful.

                      I can’t see how I can be held responsible to go onto an HA property to cut these branches down myself or by a contractor instructed by me.

                      The first picture shows the branches and foliage that is on the other side of my boundary, the second picture is from the far end of the service lane looking back directly at the overhanging branches.

                      I got involved in dialogue over this with HA and their tenant just to be a helpful neighbour, but it has turned into a bullying game to somehow hold me responsible for the work.

                      Is she correct?

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                    • pete

                      pete Growing a bit of this and a bit of that....

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                      It looks like the HA houses have very small gardens and have a large bank at the back of their garden, which I presume is your garden @weedaway .
                      If it was me living their I think the amount of light this tree would block would be a problem, the outlook from those houses isn't good really with the other buildings on the right of the picture.

                      So I sympathise with the resident, but I wouldn't like to say where you stand regarding the housing association, I think its your tree and its causing a problem.:redface:
                       
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