Friday, 28 July 2017

Boundary Battles

Are you an Anti-Social Neighbour?


If you have tall hedges lining your garden which block out light to your neighbour’s garden or main areas of their house, then a claim may be made against you for adversely affecting the reasonable enjoyment of a domestic property.

The Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 makes it possible to bring a claim against a neighbour if their hedge is too high. Although there are generally no legal restrictions regarding the height of a hedge, the 2003 Act as well as the High Hedges (Appeals) (England) Regulations 2005 give local Councils powers to deal with complaints regarding the heights of hedges. Common law rights also exist allowing neighbours to cut overhanging branches from hedges or trees back to the boundary line separating two properties (provided no other legal restrictions apply.)
Garden House Solicitors, Dispute Resolution
Article by Kagowa Kuruneri

So, if your hedges are more than two metres tall and are formed wholly or predominantly by a line of two or more evergreens, a complaint can be made against you pursuant to the Anti-Social Behaviour Act. These rules are in place and can be enforced to ensure that there is no significant loss of light or daylight to a neighbour’s garden or home.

There are various calculations that can be used to determine an “actionable” hedge height (i.e. whether the height of the offending hedge is a legitimate cause of loss of light or daylight to a neighbouring house or garden.) However, it is the local council who generally determines whether the complaint is actionable. Therefore, the council are permitted to charge for their services and may reject a claim if they believe it to be frivolous or vexatious, or if they are not satisfied that attempts haven been made to resolve the matter by alternative amicable means. It is for this reason why any costs that arise in association with the council’s service are borne by the complainant.

The council’s role is to determine whether or not the hedge in question is adversely affecting the use and enjoyment of the neighbour’s property. Their role is adjudicative and they are able to impose remedial notices on the offending party, requiring them to take corrective action. Should a notice be ignored or incorrectly executed, then it may be enforced through criminal proceedings or carried out by the council themselves.


If you are having issues with your neighbour's shrubbery or are concerned that you may be liable for a claim, feel free to contact us via email or connect with us on LinkedIn.


Garden House Solicitors

Tel: 01992 422 128

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.

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