Have You Heard Of The Right of Light Act?
Homeowners in London are usually delighted when the sun shines – after all, we don’t see much of it for most of the year! However, if your neighbour’s trees are growing out of control and are blocking the sunlight from reaching your garden or windows, it’s likely that you’re not going to be very happy with the situation.
The team here at Ashmore Residential have a few tips to help you deal with this problem should it arise.
Although you might want to force your neighbour to chop down their tree so you can enjoy more light, unfortunately, you can’t always do this. The only time you can get a tree chopped back is if it blocks the light from entering one of your property’s “defined apertures” such as the windows or glass doors.
Even then, you may not always be able to legally do anything about the overgrown tree. Although there is a piece of legislation called the “Right of Light Act”, many legal claims are rejected since deciduous trees and trees that allow some sunlight through the branches and leaves won’t usually be covered.
How Many Trees?
An important distinction when dealing with blocked sunlight to your property is whether the problem is caused by a single tree or multiple trees. If you’re bothered by just one tall tree, your only real option is to discuss the situation with your neighbour to try to persuade them to take action.
However, if two trees (or more) stand at least 2m above the ground level, the 2005 High Hedges Regulations in the Anti-Social Behaviour Act may come into play. You can approach the local council and ask for a notice to be issued to your neighbour asking them to reduce their trees’ height.
Is The Tree Potentially Dangerous?
If a tree is overhanging your garden and could potentially be dangerous to your property, your family, or yourself, it’s possible that it may be deemed a nuisance by the local council who can then take action for you. Alternatively, you could make a county court private nuisance claim, but this could be expensive as you’d need to use the services of a solicitor, as well as being potentially risky since you may lose your case.
Can I Cut Down The Tree?
Cutting your neighbour’s tree yourself may seem like the ideal solution, but it could cause you legal problems. For example, it could be subject to a tree preservation order, or be located in a conservation area. Although you have some common law rights to prune a tree if the branches encroach on your own property, it’s wise to be cautious.
If you damage the tree, you could find yourself facing a liability claim. Therefore, employing the services of an arborist is best. You must also either return the pruned branches to your neighbour or reach an agreement beforehand about the disposal of them.
If you’re considering looking for a new home with a lighter aspect, don’t hesitate to give us a call on 020 8366 9777 today, or pop over to our website at https://www.ashmoreresidential.com and see some of the properties in London we have listed. We can help you find the perfect property.