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My neighbour’s hedge is taking over my garden – what are my rights?

Summary

OVERGROWN hedges are a common source of neighbourly disputes, but what are your rights if your neighbour’s hedge is taking over your garden?

Hedges do have benefits for homeowners as they provide security, as well as shade and a home for wildlife.

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An overgrown hedge from the next door garden can be a nuisanc[/caption]

But an overgrown hedge from the next door garden can be a nuisance.

It may block the light and sunshine into your garden, which can be pretty annoying in the summer.

Plus, your garden could be messed up with its dropped leaves and twigs.

So what are your rights?

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If you’re in a disagreement with your neighbours over their hedge, there are some steps you can take to try and get the situation sorted.

A useful first port of call is the government guidance on hedge heights, which lays out the rules on when a garden growth has gotten out of control.

The term “high hedge” was defined in the the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 as a hedge being more than 2 metres high.

The legislation also defines a hedge as “formed wholly or predominantly by a line of two or more evergreens.”


The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) suggests that homeowners should use this guidance first before involving lawyers.

It said: “Where you feel that a hedge is too tall and affects the ‘reasonable’ enjoyment of your house or garden, the first step is to negotiate with your neighbours. 

“Keep a copy of any letters to demonstrate you have tried.”

If this fails, you can contact your local council to enquire about using the high hedges legislation. 

You can find your local council using the Gov.uk website.

There is no guarantee your council will intervene, and there is a fee for making a complaint, typically £400, to deter frivolous applications.

Your local authority will consider both sides’ cases and make a decision.

If the council accepts your complaint, it will issue a notice for the hedge to be cut to a requested height by a set deadline.

Councils have the power to fine homeowners up to £1,000 if they refuse to comply with orders to cut hedges back.

But the neighbour is also able to appeal the decision.

Even if the hedge is within the legal height, your neighbour is responsible for maintaining it so it doesn’t damage your property.

You are also able to trim back any overgrown parts of the hedge that are covering your own boundary, according to Citizens Advice.

But don’t be tempted to trim the whole hedge down – if you are cutting it back you should also check if it’s protected by a tree preservation order.

There is also the option of getting legal advice and taking your neighbour to court if the issue can’t be resolved, but this can be pricey.

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One couple are locked in an 11-year battle with their neighbours over a 36ft hedge.

Another homeowner wants compensation after a neighbour chopped down their hedge while they were out.

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