Problems with trees or hedges

If you’re having problems with trees or hedges, we can offer you advice on how to deal with the issue if it’s your tree or a neighbour’s tree.

The owner of the tree is responsible for:

  • dealing or seeking expert advice if your tree looks dangerous
  • pruning a tree that overhangs a neighbour’s garden.

A neighbour can only prune the owner’s tree or hedge if they refuse. You have to offer the vegetation back to the owner or dispose of it if they do not accept it.

You cannot:

  • legally force a neighbour to prune back trees that overhang your property
  • prune beyond the boundary or cross the boundary to prune a neighbour's tree or hedge
  • be forced to remove a tree by a neighbour’s insurance company.

Get help dealing with tree pests and diseases from the Forestry Commission.

High hedges

If a neighbour’s hedge is causing an issue you should resolve the issue with them. If a hedge is a line 2 or more trees, over 2 metres high, evergreen or semi-evergreen you can report it to us as a last resort.

You’ll need to show that you made every attempt to overcome the issue before contacting us.

There is a non-refundable fee of £420 for managing valid high hedge complaints.

Find out what hedge problems you can report

Large trees

Large trees are not necessarily dangerous and regular inspection will show areas of weakness. You only need to deal with a large tree if a tree expert believes it needs work to reduce any risks. You can contact the tree owner to ask them to deal with it if it looks dangerous.

Find out what tree problems you can report

Property damage caused by trees

If your property is damaged by a tree and the court believes there was thorough work carried out we will not be responsible for the repair. However, your home insurance may cover this damage.

If your property is damaged by a neighbour’s tree and you have previously reported this to the owner that their tree had a defect, such as a cracked branch, and they did not act, they may be liable for the damage.

Where there is a clear and obvious defect with a tree which was not noticed during inspection and results in injury or damage then the tree expert may be liable.

If your tree or a neighbour’s tree is causing subsidence or cracks in your wall, you should:

  • get a qualified surveyor or structural engineer to carry out a survey and give you evidence and a plan of action
  • contact the owner of the tree directly as the owner is liable for damage to the property.

Read the Association of British Insurers guidance on coping with storm damage.

Trees or hedges causing obstructions

If a tree or hedge is obstructing a pavement or road we may send the owner a notice asking them to prune it. If you get a notice and do not act, we may do the work on your behalf and charge you for it.