Boundary Hedge

Discussion in 'Askaboutlaw' started by Bocon1, 15 Mar 2019 at 8:19 AM.

  1. Bocon1

    Bocon1 New Member

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    Hi
    I have a query regarding the legal obligations of a gardner before they start work on a boundary hedge. As I understand it boundary hedges should not be significantly altered without agreement of both neighbours. So if i come home to find my 12 foot high hedge reduced to 8 foot do I have grounds to seek damages from the gardener that carried this out by the request of my neighbour. Even if they are told by my neighbour that we had agreed to this surely they should be obliged to confirm it with us directly before they started working on it.

    Any thoughts on this would be much appreciated.
     
  2. Thirsty

    Thirsty Frequent Poster

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    Who owns the hedge?
     
  3. DeeKie

    DeeKie Frequent Poster

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    You can deal with whatever is on / over your property without agreement but courtesy to neighbours is nice. It’s good to discuss with neighbours. When we are hedge cutting we ask next door can we hop over their wall to pick up stray cuttings.
     
  4. Bocon1

    Bocon1 New Member

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    The hedge was disputed at the time. Hence the underhandness of our neighbour by sending in gardener and telling him we had consented. Settlement reached with neighbour places ownership of hedge with us as per both Folio maps.
    But for the purpose of this discussion let's call it shared ownership. We are not talking about a trim here. It was reduced from 12 foot to 8 foot.
     
  5. DeeKie

    DeeKie Frequent Poster

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    Shared ownership? Oh dear well I think that you would need to discuss what your agreement is. If it’s shared between gardens might be do with sunlight. Look at the bright side, is it not a good thing that they’ve taken the cost of maintenance? And one cannot see over 8ft.
     
  6. galwaypat

    galwaypat Frequent Poster

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    Who wants a 12 foot boundary hedge. 8 foot is a good height for a hedge, bring him in a bottle of wine and thank him for keeping hedge under control and wish him a nice weekend.
     
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  7. SparkRite

    SparkRite Frequent Poster

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    Absolutely, maybe even two bottles.
    I just wish I had a neighbour that would cut my hedges for me.

    OP, move on, there are more important things to be concerned about in life.
     
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  8. Bocon1

    Bocon1 New Member

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    The discussion has moved away from my original question. We needed the hedge to be 12 foot to preserve our privacy from a rented dwelling in our neighbours back garden and we are very upset at the destruction of our property.

    My simple question is: A shared hedge for the purpose of my query was cut down without our consent. A reduction of 4 foot is not maintenance. Shouldn't the gardener have been obliged to seek our consent before starting work on it.
     
  9. Leper

    Leper Frequent Poster

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    A 12ft hedge would prevent light into your good neighbour's garden/house. Did you have planning permission for the 12ft hedge? At least, did you advise your good neighbour that you intended growing the hedge to 12ft high. I'd be asking how high do you really intend growing the hedge? Anything over 8ft i'd have problems with. I reckon your good neighbour should have advised you of what he/she was going to do about the hedge. Would he/she not have cut the hedge after the conversation. I feel there is more to this than meets the eye.

    But, you're having problems mainly with another neighbour. I think you need allies, not enemies.
     
  10. Jazz01

    Jazz01 Frequent Poster

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    Bocon - Is the rented dwelling elevated in the back yard? Is it single / double story? Was there planning for such?

    What type of hedge is it? Normally, a hedge reduction of 4 feet, at this time of year, isn't that great of a reduction (all relative I understand), but the growth of the hedge will kick on now. Better to keep the hedge under control via such cut backs, as once it goes out of control, it'll be harder to "tame" and may result in an even more reduction. Personally speaking, I would be taking at least 4 feet off my own border hedge / trees each season, to encourage growth lower to the ground.

    Not to sure if the gardener should notify you or not - he may have been told that it was the neighbour's hedge. He was working for that neighbour.
     
  11. Leo

    Leo Moderator

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    The gardener acted in good faith, you need to deal with the neighbour. You and your neighbour have a shared duty to maintain the hedge, allowing most hedging to grow to 12 feet is excessive for many varieties. Take a look at the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2009, you can raise a dispute in the courts, but this will be expensive, and you have to ask yourself whether an independent party would consider a 12 foot hedge excessive. Fencing by law cannot exceed 2m in height to the rear of a property.

    If the neighbour has a rented property in the back garden, they are most likely renting it illegally. Why not deal with that?
     
  12. Bocon1

    Bocon1 New Member

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    The hedge was 12 foot high when we moved in. I did speak to her after an approach was made by a landscaper working for her looking to remove the hedge and replace it with a new one. I explained to her about our privacy concerns and we wanted the hedge to remain at 12 foot. I told her about my plan to plant a 2nd hedge on higher ground offset by about 15 foot from the boundary hedge. Once that 2nd hedge got to about 8 foot it would give us the privacy we needed and i would be open to reducing the boundary hedge at that time. I followed through with that 2nd hedge as soon as the plants were available in the garden centre. But after that my 'good neighbour' sent no fewer than 4 different agents at different times to work on reducing the hedge without our consent. They all stopped as soon as we told them to but no surprise that we came home one day to find the hedge at 8 foot.

    The issue of the boundary is now settled with our 'good neighbour'. The hedge is on our side of the boundary. A new fence will be constructed on her side at a shared cost. This will protect our hedge in future.

    I still have a major issue with gardeners that start major work on boundary hedges without direct consent of both neighbours. I think they should be held accountable for destruction of private property. Maybe somebody could lend their opinion on that and forget about the rest of the background to this case. That is settled now.
     
  13. RedOnion

    RedOnion Frequent Poster

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    Your issue is with the neighbour, not the gardener. They are acting as an agent of your neighbour.
    No gardeners would ever get any work done if they had to go around and chat to all the neighbours first.

    This happened in the past, and you said ownership has been settled since? You need to let go and enjoy your life.
     
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  14. DirectDevil

    DirectDevil Frequent Poster

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    What is the authority for that proposition ? I am not challenging you - just looking for a basis for that argument as I have a similar problem on hand ! Thanks.
     
  15. Leo

    Leo Moderator

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    But it's not your sole property, it's shared, they have no case to answer. Pursue it if you want to throw away thousands in legal fees. The legislation I linked covers the entitlements and responsibilities relating to boundaries including hedges. It would easily be argued that the work carried out was essential maintenance that does not require explicit consent of both parties, more here.
     
  16. Leo

    Leo Moderator

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    Planning and Development Regulations -> Exempted Development — General -> Class 1 (link)

    So fencing to the side/ rear cannot exceed 2m unless planning permission is granted for same.
     
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  17. Bocon1

    Bocon1 New Member

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    Thanks Leo for your thoughts. I thought it would be more black and white about both parties having to agree to a significant change to the boundary they share.
     
  18. Leo

    Leo Moderator

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    I'd imagine the legislation to allow for essential maintenance was brought in to prevent one neighbour blocking essential work just to frustrate or annoy the other party.
     
  19. NoRegretsCoyote

    NoRegretsCoyote Frequent Poster

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    What do you be doing in your garden that needs 12ft of hedge to guarantee privacy?

    Does the dwelling in the neighbouring garden have two stories?
     
  20. Bocon1

    Bocon1 New Member

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    We're in a bungalow. Rented property is a split level structure. I don't know the internal layout but I expect the living area in it is on the upper floor as the main entrance is also on that level. There is a direct line of sight into one of our kid's bedroom window from the upper floor windows.
    All of that is beside the point. The hedge was 12 foot when we moved in. We wanted it to remain at 12 foot. I just expected that we had a right to maintain it at that height and not to come home to find it reduced by 33% in height without our consent.