Trees on private property

We often get calls about neighbours' trees obstructing properties. We can't get involved in private matters like this, so we recommend that you try to resolve things amicably between yourselves.

Where the branches of a neighbour's tree overhang your property boundary, if the tree is not protected by a tree preservation order or in a conservation area, you may exercise your common law right to cut them back to the boundary (and no further). However, we recommend you use a registered tree surgeon to do this, as the tree may become unstable.

It is also worth noting that if your actions cause the death of the tree or any other harm to property, your neighbour may pursue you for damages. Common law also dictates that any cuttings you make should be offered back to the owner of the tree, but if they do not want them it is your responsibility to dispose of them. This does not mean that you can dump them over the fence into your neighbour's property.

Find the owner of a tree

The owner of a tree is not always obvious, especially when its trunk spreads over two properties. If you want to check who owns a tree, contact the Land Registry.