There is often confusion about who is responsible for looking after trees and making sure they are safe.

Check your tenancy agreement to find out what you are responsible for in your garden. Most agreements have wording similar to this:

"It is your responsibility to keep your garden tidy and free from rubbish. Hedges and trees should
be kept trimmed, and must not hang over public rights of way such as paths. Unless you have a
good reason for not doing this work we may do it and charge you..."

You do not have to cut back or remove trees for any of the following reasons:

  • Loss of light
  • Loss of view
  • Loss of or interference to television or radio service
  • To reduce or remove a source of sap
  • To reduce or remove a source of pollen.

You do not have to remove anything that has fallen from your trees.

This also means that you cannot make a neighbour carry out tree works in their garden for any of these reasons, and they cannot make you do the same with any trees in your garden.

Overhanging trees - what you can do

Under common law, you can cut back any branch or root from a tree that comes onto your property. You must do this at your own expense, and you should follow these guidelines:

  • You must not trespass on the land on which the trees are growing
  • Branches or roots must not be cut back beyond the boundary
  • The cut material should first be offered back to the owner of the tree. They do not have to accept and dispose of the material. If they do not, you must dispose of it responsibly and at your own expense
  • All work must be carried out carefully - you must avoid damaging property or carrying out work that would leave the tree unsafe or dangerous
  • You cannot alter the height of trees or hedges

Before doing any work to trees:

  • Make sure that the trees are not in a Conservation Area or subject to a Tree Preservation Order (TPO)
  • Where possible engage the services of a professional tree surgeon unless it is safe for you to do the work yourself; for example, cutting off and removing small overhanging branches.
  • It's best to talk to the owner of the tree to explain what you plan to do before starting any work.

If you are unsure, please contact us on 01494 476100.