Please can anyone tell me who is legally responsible for maintaining a
hedge planted in someone's garden but growing over the fence into
someone else's garden - my neighbor's hedge is overhanging my garden by
about 60cms and I have asked them to help cut it back to their side of
the fence but they have refused to help out and I'm just wondering where
I stand legally.
Many thanks to anyone who can help me with this matter.
You have the right to trim it back to your property line if you can do
it without killing the plant.
For your neighbor to enter your property to trim it, you would have to
give a written release to your neighbor. If this becomes a frequent
task that your neighbor does, you might inadvertently create an easement
on your property for that purpose, which I don't think you want.
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean, see
I see that you are posting to the UK based gardenbanter forum. If you are
in the UK, you would be better off asking this in the uk gardening group
(uk.rec.gardening) than in this group which has international posters.
If the UK rules are anything like in Australia then it is your
responsibility to deal with anything on your side of the fence - not a cm
more though than to the fence line - you cannot cut back into the
neighbour's side of the fence.
Wouldn't that depend on where the fence is located from the property
line... here in the US the person who erects the fence is required to
maintain a set back from the property line, typically one foot or more
so that they can stand on the other side of their fence to perform
maintenence to the fence itself and overhanging plantings. Often one
finds two fences at a property line with a no man's space between. And
some neighbors agree to erect a fence directly on the property line
and share the cost which works fine until they have some disagreement
or one sells... it's never a good idea to erect a fence directly on a
property line. In the US it's perfectly legal to trim plant growth
over hanging ones property line regardless of a fence location or if
there's no fence... the property line rules, not a fence. I live in a
rural area where it's very rare to see a fence at property lines,
instead there are hedgerows, typically a fifty foot or more swarth of
wooded area... if there is a fence at as property line it's a rock
wall of fieldstone within the hedgerow. Hundreds of years ago when
these rock walls were erected surveying measurements were not at all
accurate, often a tree acted as a corner stake and naturally those
trees are long gone. Later on when measuring tools became more
accurate it was discovered that rock walls sort of meandered snakelike
from actual property lines. Now of course it's easy to do very
accurate surveying, with GPS. Anyway if one is planning to prune
shrubbery at their property/fence line it's only neighborly to apprise
the neighbor to discuss how it's to be done, but if a neighbor doesn't
care to have a discussion then trim the encroaching growth but do it
carefully respecting the line.
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