Liam O’Shea, Solicitor and Director in Astle Paterson’s Litigation and Dispute Resolution department discusses the remedies open to a homeowner when their enjoyment of their property is blighted by a neighbours high Leylandii or other hedge.
Liam said “High neighbouring hedges can have a significant detrimental impact on your enjoyment of your land, by blocking light coming into your land and building and generally being an eye sore.
There are, however, potential solutions to the problem for the effected homeowner.
Should the branches of the hedge protrude onto your land then you have a limited right to cut back the branches that hang over onto your land. You should offer the lopped branches to your neighbour as technically they continue to be owned by your neighbour and you should not, of course, cut the hedge back so as to kill it.
Further, should you have an established ‘right to light’ and the hedge is effecting the light coming into through the windows in your home then you could bring a Court claim against your neighbour seeking an Order that your neighbour lops the hedge and/or pays some compensation to you. These claims can be expensive and complex and legal advice is needed at an early stage.”
Liam continued “Finally, Part 8 of the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 gives Local Authorities power to deal with complaints from an owner or occupier of a domestic property who alleges that his reasonable enjoyment is being adversely affected by the height of a high hedge situated on land owned or occupied by another person.
To succeed in the complaint first, you must have made reasonable efforts to deal with the matter amicably with your neighbour, secondly, the hedge must consist of a line of two or more evergreen or semi-evergreen shrubs or trees, thirdly, the hedge must be more than 2 metres in height, fourthly, it must effect light or access and finally, the hedge must effect your reasonable enjoyment of your property as a result of its height.
Should the Local Authority uphold your complain then it will decide what action to take and will issue a remedial notice implementing its decision. Kindly note the Local Authority cannot require the hedge to be removed or the height to be reduced below 2 metres.
Failure to comply with a Local Authority remedial notice is a criminal offence and your neighbour would be liable to pay a fine of up to £1,000.
Further, a Court can also Order the hedge owner to carry out the required work within a prescribed time and ultimately the Local Authority has powers to enter the property to carry out the work and then recover any costs from the neighbour.”
Liam concluded “Whilst being in a neighbour dispute can be one of the most stressful situations you can find yourself in, there are options open to you to resolve the matter should a simple chat over the fence fail.”
Should you be in a dispute with your neighbour then please contact Liam O’Shea, Solicitor and Director in Astle Paterson’s Litigation and Dispute Resolution department on 01283 531366 or by email at email@example.com to discuss matters further.
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