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Can I cut down a neighbours overhanging tree?

We get a lot of enquiries from folk that have problems with their neighbours trees encroaching into their gardens, blocking the sun, views and generally spoiling their garden. So where do you stand when it comes to cutting down overhanging limbs?

First things first

Before you get a tree surgeon in to do any work on overhanging limbs, make sure your residency doesn't fall within a "conservation area" as any change to the skyline will get you in deep water with your local authority. The next step is to check that the tree you plan to do work on isn't protected by a TPO (Tree protection order). If either of the above applies to you, you WILL need to get in contact with your local planning authority.

Who owns the tree?

The tree is owned by the property that it was originally planted in, meaning unless there was a safety reason, you would be hard pressed to get your neighbour to remove the tree. In the first instance its always better to check property deeds and try and reach an arrangement with your neighbours.

What if part of their tree is in my garden?

However having said this, if a branch or limb is overhanging into your garden you are perfectly within your rights to have it removed by a certified tree surgeon ONLY upto the neighbours boundary. If you cut the tree over into their property you could be liable to being prosecuted under trespass and/or criminal damage.

It should be noted that any Wood/chips/fruit thats overhanging into your garden, once cut down, technically belongs to your neighbour!

Using a certified and insured Arborist will also reduce the potential for doing harm to the tree in the long run. Should rot set into the trunk subsequently due to an incorrect/unclean cut on the limb in your garden, you may be liable for any future work needing carried out to next doors tree......this can run into the thousands for you, if the tree needs to be completely removed.

Who should pay for me removing an overhanging branch?

The cost of removing an overhanging branch into your garden is yours, however......if you can prove that your neighbours tree has caused damage due to its overhanging (drains blocking, branches falling off) then your neighbour is liable to pay for the damage caused.

What if their trees tree roots are causing damage to my property?

You have the right to dig up or remove roots that are causing damage to your property, even if the tree is on your neighbours property. If you think that the roots are affecting foundations then its best to get a tree surgeon out to have a look. A structural engineer may also be needed as claims on building insurance will need to be signed off by a proffesional building specialist.

What about dangerous trees?

Approximately 100 people die per year in the UK due to falling trees. If you have any concerns about the safety of a tree, you should report it immediately to your neighbour. If they do not wish to address your concerns then it should be reported to Environmental Health.

Excelsior tree surgery are based in Glasgow and service clients throughout Scotland. For a free no obligation quote, please get in contact.

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