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Avoiding disputes about trees

It is always best to resolve any problems over trees directly with your neighbour. This will be quicker, cheaper and less stressful than taking legal action.

Whenever possible resolve any issues before they damage your relationship with your neighbour. Our step by step guide for resolving tree disputes can help.

To avoid tree disputes:

  • keep on good terms with you neighbour and resolve any potential tree issues between you before they get out of hand
  • think carefully about the trees and shrubs you are planting; and if they may become a problem in the future discuss the potential issue with your neighbour
  • maintain and care for your trees and shrubs, particularly those that could effect your neighbour
  • be familiar with your legal responsibilities as a tree-keeper
  • act quickly and seek help on resolving any disputes that might arise.

Keep on good terms with your neighbour

Being on good terms with your neighbour will make it easier to discuss problems and resolve any issues before they get out of hand.

It is always better to reach an agreement directly with your neighbour and avoid any possibility of a legal dispute.

Speak to your neighbour directly face-to-face; it’s more personal and will help the situation.

Find out about the best way to approach your neighbour.

Be careful about tree selection

When choosing trees and shrubs for your garden always consider any adverse effect they could have on neighbouring properties in the future.

While you may want privacy, the trees you plant might also shade your neighbour’s garden, drop litter—leaves or branches—on their property, or damage their property with their roots.

If they could become a problem in the future, you should discuss the potential issue with your neighbour before you plant them.

Maintain and care for your trees and shrubs

You should take care of your trees and shrubs to ensure they do not affect your neighbour’s property and their enjoyment of it. That could include cutting them back so they do not cause excessive shade or litter.

You should also cut and remove any tree branches which overhang your neighbour’s property. Knowing your legal responsibilities as a tree-keeper is important for this.

Know your legal responsibilities as a tree-keeper

Make sure you are familiar with your responsibilities under the law as a tree-keeper.

Trees and their impact on a neighbour’s property are covered by The Neighbourhood Disputes (Dividing Fences and Trees) Act 2011.

Act quickly and seek help

If a dispute over a tree develops with a neighbour you should aim to find a solution quickly, before the issue gets out of hand. If you allow the dispute to linger it will only get worse.

Talk to your neighbour about it and if necessary seek help in resolving the issue. Our step by step guide on resolving tree disputes may help.

Further information

Last updated
30 October 2015

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