My Neighbour Has Cut Down My Hedge Without My Permission - What Can I Do?

mariam-abu-hussein
Mariam Abu HusseinLegal Assessment Specialist @ Lawhive
Updated on 1st November 2023

Imagine this: You get home on a summer's day, ready to enjoy the privacy and beauty of your well-maintained garden. However, to your shock and dismay, you discover that your neighbour has cut down your hedge without permission. 

can-a-neighbour-cut-down-my-hedge-without-permission

It's understandable in this situation you might feel angry and upset. Can a neighbour really cut down your hedge without your permission? And if they can't, what can you do about it?

In this article, we will walk you through the ins and outs of the law in relation to what neighbours can and can't do to your hedges without your permission.

Can my neighbour cut my hedge without permission?

A neighbour can trim or cut parts of a hedge that hang over their side of the property line, however they must avoid causing any substantial damage or harm to the hedge.

This is established under common law principles, and it's considered a reasonable exercise of your neighbour's right to enjoy and maintain their property.

However, it's illegal for a neighbour to come on to your property without permission and cut your hedge. This is classed as trespassing.

What to do if your neighbour cuts down your hedge without your permission

If your neighbour has already cut down your hedge without your consent, here are some immediate steps to take:

  1. Document the Damage: Take clear photographs of the damage as evidence. This will be valuable in case you need to prove the extent of the harm done.

  2. Contact Your Neighbour: Reach out to your neighbour to discuss the issue. Politely ask for an explanation and express your concerns. Keep a record of your communications.

  3. Seek Mediation: If the conversation with your neighbour doesn't yield a satisfactory resolution, consider mediation services. A mediator can help both parties find a compromise without escalating the situation.

  4. Consult a Solicitor: If the matter remains unresolved and you believe legal action may be necessary, it's crucial to consult a solicitor. A solicitor can provide you with expert guidance on the best course of action, ensuring you follow the correct legal procedures.

  5. Notify Local Authorities: If your neighbour's actions fall under the jurisdiction of the High Hedges Act 2005 and local authorities, you should notify them of the dispute. They may intervene and help mediate or issue a formal notice to your neighbour.

Whether you can get compensation or take legal action against a neighbour who has cut your hedge depends on the circumstances. 

The decision to seek compensation or take legal action will depend on the nature and extent of the damage, as well as whether your neighbour's actions were intentional or negligent.

Intentional damage

If your neighbour has intentionally and maliciously cut down or damaged your hedge without your permission, this can be considered a form of criminal damage. In these cases, you may have grounds to take legal action against your neighbour. 

Intentional damage to property is a criminal offence. You should document it and report the incident to your local police, who will investigate the matter and potentially take legal action against your neighbour.

Negligent damage

If your neighbour's actions resulted in accidental or negligent damage to your hedge, the situation is different. In this case, you may be entitled to compensation, but it may not be considered a criminal offence. 

In the first instance, you should initiate a conversation with your neighbour to discuss the situation. They may be willing to reimburse you for the damage, particularly if it was an honest mistake.

If direct communication does not lead to a resolution, consider mediation services to help you and your neighbour reach an agreement on compensation.

If the matter remains unresolved, you could speak to a solicitor to explore your legal options for compensation. A solicitor can assist you in assessing the value of the damage and pursuing compensation through negotiation or, if necessary, through legal proceedings, if appropriate.

Is it criminal damage to kill someone’s hedge?

Criminal damage is when a person intentionally destroys or damages property belonging to someone else. In some cases, cutting down a neighbour's hedge without permission may be considered criminal damage, especially if it's deliberate and causes significant harm.

However, it's important to remember that the severity of the act and the intent behind it will be taken into account by law enforcement and the courts. If you suspect criminal damage, it is crucial to report it to the police.

Get help with a neighbour dispute from our solicitors

If your neighbour has cut down your hedge without your permission, it's essential to approach the situation calmly, understand the legal regulations surrounding hedges, and explore all available avenues for resolution. Neighbour disputes can be challenging, but they can often be resolved without the need for costly legal proceedings.

If you find yourself in a situation where your neighbour has cut down your hedge without permission, don't hesitate to seek professional advice. For expert guidance on neighbour disputes and legal matters, contact us today to connect with our experienced neighbour dispute lawyers who can assist you quickly and affordably, ensuring you understand your rights and options while maintaining peace in your neighbourhood.

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