Shutterstock / By chanchai plongern
“So whose hedge is that? If it’s mine do I have to cut my neighbour’s side or do we share the responsibility?” Tricky enough questions that are asked every so often (you’re not the only one, trust us).
The ownership of the hedge itself is being defined by where the main trunk is growing at. An owner of a hedge is responsible for it not damaging their neighbour’s property. If, for example, your overgrown hedge is pushing on your neighbour’s fence and eventually damages it, you will stand liable. Hedges and shrubs that stand on the boundary line are owned by both properties.
But which property owner’s responsible for cutting the hedges then?
Both you and your neighbour are responsible for trimming each other’s respective side of the hedge. You are free to cut back roots or branches that are within your property’s boundaries. However, you’re only allowed to trim the growth on your property. Going further may result in your neighbour taking you to court for property damage.
This being said, if you are unsure of what to do in a situation with your neighbour, you should always try to resolve matters informally first. Your local council can and will reject your complaint if they decide you haven’t taken all steps (within reason) to reach an agreement without involving them.
Other responsibilities you probably didn’t know about
A “high hedge” that can be a subject of a complaint is considered any hedge that is over 2 metres tall. However, if both sides are satisfied with the hedge’s height it can be kept at over 2 metres. There are other ways of extending a boundary’s height legally.
Try to restrict yourself from trimming hedges that have bird nests because it is an offence to do so. To avoid any unwanted mistakes you can pause hedge trimming between March and September (main breeding season for nesting birds), as the RSPB suggest.
Have some additional questions? Leave a comment, please!