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Neighbouring garden putting off buyers

timehastoldme
timehastoldme Forumite Posts: 311
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Our house went on the market in June, we've been wanting to sell for a couple of years and started getting ready last summer, but family illness meant living away from home for a while and putting it off.

We listed, we had a flurry of viewings the first week, lots of 'nice house' feedback then nothing. We reduced a month later and had one new viewing, they viewed a second time, they have another house they are interested in and are maybe interested in ours when they sell theirs, but, has reservations about the overgrown garden next door. 


Which is fair. My neighbour is hard work. They allow everything to grow to insane levels because nature. We have half dead conifers that hang over half the garden and are taller than the house. Scrubby ash tree that's shot up next to the kitchen, creepers covering all of that. We are an end terrace and they have a small yard next to our end wall. Ivy, buddleia, etc. We've managed to negotiate reduction of the ivy in recent years but before that it was roof level and climbing in the windows.

We have tried talking to them, it's very circular and rarely results in progress. 

To be fair, I don't super care about the conifers, it makes our garden very private which is a big yes for me, but the potential buyer loves the house but referred to next door as an eyesore.

We spoke to the neighbour again, being mindful of their preference. We're getting a tree surgeon in to consult, but neighbour has expressed horror at the idea of these conifers being reduced at all and are already backtracking on the agreement we made about tidying the front. This is regular pattern, agree vocally, then backtrack, followed by lots of dramatics (shouting at us, long messages, talking loudly about it all to passers by in the street- I'm very unphased by this). 

I'm happy to try mediation, I doubt they'll go for it. I'm so fed up I'd be willing to involve the council, but don't want to be selling the house with an ongoing dispute. 

I wanted to reduce the house a chunk in September to tempt someone so we don't have to deal with it, my OH doesn't want to feel like next doors narcissistic behaviour is costing us money. We found a house we liked, discussed an offer but lost out because someone else could move faster. I'm less bothered by the money. My mental health is not doing great.

We have lots of complex reasons for moving, family reasons, locational grief related reasons, and being bored of dealing with all this is definitely part of it.

I either dig in, get that mess sorted legally and try to sell next year but with disclosure of that neighbour conflict, or hold fire and undervalue the house in an already difficult time for selling. Or something I'm not seeing.

Any advice? 
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Comments

  • DullGreyGuy
    DullGreyGuy Forumite Posts: 6,299
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    Is it clear in the conversations with the neighbour who'll be paying for the landscaper/tree surgeon? 
  • subjecttocontract
    subjecttocontract Forumite Posts: 1,270
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    I don't think you have any rights, legal or otherwise to get your neighbours garden tidied up. Overhanging trees/plants/shrubs can be trimmed back to the boundary but that's it.

    Can't you have a 6ft fence erected between the gardens ?
  • timehastoldme
    timehastoldme Forumite Posts: 311
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    edited 28 July at 12:34PM
    There's a 6ft fence. These conifers are taller than the house and covered in creeper.

    We've accepted we will be paying for it, we will reduce our side of the boundary but will be left with half dead conifers to look at.

    In terms of legality, I've read through the council guidance and there's cause for dispute if the bordering hedge is taller than two metres ✅ blocks light ✅ and interferes with visual amenity ✅. At the front of the house the hedging plants are spilling into the pavement and climbing the telephone poles as well as being far higher than two metres. We'd agreed that we'd take that right back to the boundary on our side and they'd 'tidy' theirs but they've already backtracked. 
  • subjecttocontract
    subjecttocontract Forumite Posts: 1,270
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    That ruling does exist but if you check into the detail, unless it's been changed recently, it's very expensive to action and is a lengthy process.
  • timehastoldme
    timehastoldme Forumite Posts: 311
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    So would you ignore and hope someone doesn't care enough to make an offer? 

    I have to move. I need to be able to accommodate a relative who is disabled after cancer. My neighbour is aware of this, has been told explicitly, and does not care. They are concerned for birds, we've allowed addition of bird boxes to our end wall, we've not asked for anything to be cut down, just reduced to a reasonable height, we will happily wait till outside of nesting season. They themselves complain about the creeper and the conifer and how everything is dead underneath them. Still nothing.

    So what do we do?

  • subjecttocontract
    subjecttocontract Forumite Posts: 1,270
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    I don't think there is a magic bullet that will resolve your issue easily.
    You have few options other than to go down 'high hedge' root.
  • the_lunatic_is_in_my_head
    the_lunatic_is_in_my_head Forumite Posts: 6,534
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     At the front of the house the hedging plants are spilling into the pavement and climbing the telephone poles as well as being far higher than two metres.
    My understanding is that homeowners are responsible for ensuring that the things growing on their property do not overhang the pavement (or road).

    If you can find the email contact for the head of highways at your local council, snap a pic and ask if the council are obligated to see this resolved it might result in something being done.

    Do the poles have a phone number on to report any issues? If the pole is not in their garden and the ivy is growing from a height you can reach you can probably get away with cutting a one inch ring around the pole and what's above will die off.

    Can't help on the rest other than as per others you can cut back to the boundary, assuming doing do isn't a risk of damaging the tree so falls over or such.
  • timehastoldme
    timehastoldme Forumite Posts: 311
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    daivid said:
    Are the conifers actually forming a hedge or are they separate trees? If separate then high hedge legislation is irrelevant. If they do form a hedge it will cost about £400 IIRC to lodge the application and you will need to prove you have tried to reach agreement first. It will not get sorted quickly.

    From what you have said the neighbours are difficult but not impossible to talk to, if they say they like the garden like that because it benefits nature perhaps that is an avenue worth delicately pursuing. A conifer hedge is a pretty poor habitat when compared to a mixed hedge of flowering and berry producing native species. If the hedge could be replaced with a mixed hedge it would be better for nature and you could be long gone before it towers over your garden (if ever).
    The conifers are a solid block of green, I have no idea how many there actually are in there but I'm 100% it's a hedge.

    I like the idea of approaching from an ecological perspective. I'm going to offer a one in one out for them maybe, do some research and offer native fruiting shrubs and nest boxes.

    I've accepted this is going to cost either way
  • timehastoldme
    timehastoldme Forumite Posts: 311
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    @the_lunatic_is_in_my_head yes probably, but I've really been avoiding anything potentially antagonistic unless we go full dispute, I'll keep it in back pocket for now
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