Legal advice please - neighbour lobbing garden waste over my fence!
The back of my garden looks out onto a small car park belonging to a neighbouring estate.
Earlier today while I was out, one of the residents of the above estate cut back a large shrub situated in my garden that was over hanging onto their car park.
He then helpfully lobbed all the resulting garden waste over my fence onto my back lawn.
When I went round to find out who had done it, to apologise for not dealing with it myself and to ask them not to do it again but to talk to me first, the guy who did it told me he was acting within the law.
He then told me that if I do not cut back a large Leylandi tree that is also overhanging their car park by only a few feet, by the end of this week, he will also cut that back and will again lob the waste over my fence.
This was despite an attempt at an adult-to-adult conversation on my part, assuring him I would deal with it as soon as I could.
Is he right? Is he allowed to lob the waste into my garden?!
I believe that the law states he should offer the parts cut off back to you as they are your property. Not sure that lobbing them over the fence is the way to do it.
In fact from a council website, just as I believed..he is not right
My neighbour's hedge goes over my boundary - can I cut it back?
Your Common Law rights allow you to remove branches that cross over your boundary without the need to seek your neighbour's permission. However, you must not cross the boundary to do so. For example, leaning a ladder over the boundary to rest against the trunk of the tree could be classed as trespass. Notifying your neighbour of your intentions is always advisable.
You should not dispose of the branches or any other waste material from the hedge over your fence into your neighbour's garden. But first ask your neighbour if they wish to have the material returned to them. If they don't want it, it will be your responsibility to dispose of it.
If a tree or trees within the hedge are protected by a Tree Preservation Order, or is located within a conservation area, the Common Law right is removed and you need permission from the council to trim the hedge.
Having spent years working for Chancery Judges in the UK and seeing a boundry dispute drag on for nearly a year between neighbours over the positioning of privet hedges; try as hard as you can to try and solve this dispute. Boundry disputes neighbours often (if not disposed of early) end up becoming issues of principle which are a tremendous drain on both your time, emotional energy and your finances.
Try and get some legal advice early in proceedings - local Solicitors with property and land expertise often offer an initial 1/2 hour consultation for free.
Thanks for that Fiona. It's not a boundary dispute as such is just a case of my overhanging branches going into their communal car park, them cutting the branches back and lobbing the waste over my fence.
It is the lobbing of the waste over the fence that was the issue. Had they alerted me to the overhanging branches and spoken to me I would gladly have dealt with it.
All sorted now, and I think the guy who did it is now feeling a bit remorseful. I have told them I will dispose of the waste and cut back the remaining branches and asked if they have any issues in the future thay they talk to me.
You do make a good general point though that everyone should take heed of. A friend of mine is involved in a dispute that's been going on for over a year over a tiny strip of earth.