OVERHANGING branches can lead to claims by the owner of the neighbouring property for nuisance or negligence if:

· They cause physical damage to structures on that adjoining property.

· They fall off and cause physical damage or personal injury.

In addition to nuisance or negligence claims, overhanging branches may lead to claims for:

· Trespass (into the neighbouring owner's airspace).

· Obstruction of the neighbour's right of light to windows in his building.

· Health and safety issues if they overhang highways, footpaths or railways.

In practice, it may be easier and quicker for the neighbouring owner to abate the nuisance by lopping the branches.

We always recommend that a tree surgeon is approached to carry out such work due to the possible damage to the tree, which might include affecting a tree’s balance.

You will also need to make sure that the tree is not subject to a Tree Preservation Order as there will be restrictions on the lopping or cutting of the same.

If you think your branches are overhanging the boundary, then please get in touch today to seek legal advice before carrying out any work to the tree, or any boundary feature.

Neighbour’s branches overhanging the boundary?

You have a right to cut back tree branches that overhang onto your property.

BUT, before carrying out any work, it is always good practice and neighbourly to consult with your neighbour in relation to any overhanging branches.

You also need to ensure that the tree is not subject to a Tree Preservation Order.

The branches belong to the neighbour who owns the tree, and you must ask whether or not they want them back or if you can dispose of them.

Again, this needs to be discussed prior to any work being done. It might constitute fly tipping if you simply throw the trimmings back over the boundary.

You must also not trim any further than the boundary line.

If the boundary line is unclear, or there has been a previous disagreement in relation to the same, then proceed with caution.

We recommend that you seek legal advice in relation to the same before carrying out any work.

Boundary disputes are extremely stressful and costly, and therefore seeking advice at the onset will hopefully prevent the matter from escalating into expensive litigation.

We recommend that if the relationship between you and your neighbour has broken down, then you will need legal representation.

This will ensure that you are correctly advised and that we will liaise with your neighbour in relation to any potential work and any issues they might have.

You must ensure that you do not cause any damage to the tree or affect its stability.

It is advisable to seek the opinion of a tree surgeon in relation to the work required.

For further information, guidance and expert legal advice in relation to similar matters, visit allingtonhughes.co.uk