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    • LMS123
    • By LMS123 13th Oct 18, 5:07 PM
    • 42Posts
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    LMS123
    Trees on boundary
    • #1
    • 13th Oct 18, 5:07 PM
    Trees on boundary 13th Oct 18 at 5:07 PM
    Hi all.
    My daughter is considering buying a house. The garden borders a pavement. There is no wall or fence. This boundary is a mix of hawthorn hedge and 5 or 6 huge sycamore trees. The present owner said the trees and hedge belong to the council and that the trees are protected. He said he's only seen the council cutting the hedge on the road side once or twice in 15 years. The trees are about 15 feet from the house. My daughter contacted the local borough council who said they don't own the land. She contacted the county council who said the land had belonged to the builder who has since ceased trading and suggested she contact the land registry to ascertain boundary lines. But it seems that the boundary is indistinct and the trees are on the boundary line.
    My question is how does she find out who owns the trees. I know that branches overhanging your property can be removed and offered back to the land owner but these things are huge,mature sycamores!
    She would like clarification as to who is responsible for the trees. The hedge is no problem to maintain, except it grows across the pavement, but it is manageable.
    Would a tree surgeon be able to get access as to the tree ownership? You can bet your bottom dollar that all would be revealed were she to have the trees removed without permission!
Page 1
    • G_M
    • By G_M 13th Oct 18, 5:28 PM
    • 46,165 Posts
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    G_M
    • #2
    • 13th Oct 18, 5:28 PM
    • #2
    • 13th Oct 18, 5:28 PM
    If the boundary is indistinct then

    * claim the land via adverse possession? Will the sellers sign a Declaration that they have used the land as their own for the period they lived there?

    * just assume the land belongs to the property - sounds like the council don't care/want it and the builder has gone, so do wat you want with the plants

    * check if the trees are protected though - that IS a council matter and they will tell you yes or no.
    Last edited by G_M; 13-10-2018 at 6:09 PM.
    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 13th Oct 18, 5:52 PM
    • 26,860 Posts
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    Davesnave
    • #3
    • 13th Oct 18, 5:52 PM
    • #3
    • 13th Oct 18, 5:52 PM
    It'a almost certain the buyer of the house will own the trees if the council are denying responsibility. The last thing cash-strapped councils want is the maintenance of huge sycamore trees.

    As above, check there's no TPO and then factor-in the cost of removal, which will run into thousands, or else decide to live with one of the worst street/wildlife trees that will get aphids every year and disfigure everything placed under them.

    The clean-up after leaf-fall and the continual removal of seedlings should be considered too, along with a potential threat to foundations and drains.

    Not exactly selling them to you am I?
    "We won't get fooled again...."
    • LMS123
    • By LMS123 13th Oct 18, 7:21 PM
    • 42 Posts
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    LMS123
    • #4
    • 13th Oct 18, 7:21 PM
    • #4
    • 13th Oct 18, 7:21 PM
    Thanks. Her friend's husband is a solicitor so he's going to try a few enquiries. Meanwhile I've suggested she gets a quote from a tree surgeon as to possible cost of removal but I suspect he would want proof of ownership, so to speak. I keep steering her away from this property - life has enough hassles!
    • 25 Years On
    • By 25 Years On 13th Oct 18, 7:38 PM
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    25 Years On
    • #5
    • 13th Oct 18, 7:38 PM
    • #5
    • 13th Oct 18, 7:38 PM
    You said they were protected so I assume Tree Protection Orders. This requires permission even to prune them.
    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 13th Oct 18, 7:44 PM
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    Davesnave
    • #6
    • 13th Oct 18, 7:44 PM
    • #6
    • 13th Oct 18, 7:44 PM
    You said they were protected so I assume Tree Protection Orders. This requires permission even to prune them.
    Originally posted by 25 Years On
    The OP has been told the trees are protected, but that's not proof, which is why we've been suggesting more checks before doing anything else. The tree officer at the council is the person to consult.

    Our vendor told us the elm hedge we now own and preserve was specially protected because of its relative rarity, but that turned out not to be true.
    "We won't get fooled again...."
    • EachPenny
    • By EachPenny 13th Oct 18, 7:50 PM
    • 8,690 Posts
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    EachPenny
    • #7
    • 13th Oct 18, 7:50 PM
    • #7
    • 13th Oct 18, 7:50 PM
    The OP has been told the trees are protected, but that's not proof, which is why we've been suggesting more checks before doing anything else. The tree officer at the council is the person to consult.

    Our vendor told us the elm hedge we now own and preserve was specially protected because of its relative rarity, but that turned out not to be true.
    Originally posted by Davesnave
    Absolutely this. Confirmation preferably in writing (exchange of emails) that the trees are not protected and not owned by the council.

    Some councils have a geographic information system (GIS) which is available to the public via the council website. Often this will include information about trees (usually in planning related layers) which are protected or of special interest. I wouldn't take the absence of a tree on GIS as proof it isn't protected, but if it is shown that way then it is very likely to be so.
    "In the future, everyone will be rich for 15 minutes"
    • da_rule
    • By da_rule 13th Oct 18, 11:11 PM
    • 2,872 Posts
    • 2,507 Thanks
    da_rule
    • #8
    • 13th Oct 18, 11:11 PM
    • #8
    • 13th Oct 18, 11:11 PM
    Another matter to consider is that if they are partly on the pavement they may also be on highway land. Therefore, regardless of who owns the land, your local highways authority will have a certain level of responsibility for maintenance.
    • LMS123
    • By LMS123 23rd Oct 18, 9:20 PM
    • 42 Posts
    • 21 Thanks
    LMS123
    • #9
    • 23rd Oct 18, 9:20 PM
    • #9
    • 23rd Oct 18, 9:20 PM
    Ok. It transpires the hedge and trees are on a strip of land owned by a green space land holding company. No annual fee is paid to them and they don't seem to look after the land but they own it.
    What sort of house buying survey would report on the trees if they were thought to be a problem now or in the future? Would the mortgage valuation report look at the trees or will my daughter have to pay for a more thorough survey? How much do surveys look at surrounding land if e.g. Trees affect the valuation or could possibly cause future problems?
    • sevenhills
    • By sevenhills 23rd Oct 18, 10:02 PM
    • 1,834 Posts
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    sevenhills
    The trees are about 15 feet from the house.
    Originally posted by LMS123

    If they are huge and 15ft from the house, it's likely that they are overhanging the nearby pavement and house!
    When I reported a few sycamores overhanging the pavement, they just chopped them down.

    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 24th Oct 18, 4:36 AM
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    Davesnave
    Ok. It transpires the hedge and trees are on a strip of land owned by a green space land holding company. No annual fee is paid to them and they don't seem to look after the land but they own it.
    Originally posted by LMS123
    So, this is the 'protection,' I suppose. The future owner of this house will have no rights over the trees, beyond being able to prune them back to the boundary. Good luck with that!

    Surveyors aren't tree surgeons and aborists aren't surveyors, but both will have a general understanding that large tree 15' from a house could spell trouble, though unless or until it occurs, either with the drains or the foundations, there's nothing to report.

    In any event, the annoyances mentioned in my earlier post will be evident.

    Usually, houses that are cheap for their type and location have a down-side. This isn't one I'd be willing to live with myself.
    "We won't get fooled again...."
    • moneyistooshorttomention
    • By moneyistooshorttomention 24th Oct 18, 6:34 AM
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    moneyistooshorttomention
    I'd feel very cynical about whether this "green space holding company" might try and charge people some sort of fees somewhere along the line. After all - what's in it for them having these green spaces?

    So - I'd want the paperwork checked clearly to make sure that nothing at all was mentioned in it that gave them any rights to start charging fees at some future point. That wouldn't necessarily prevent them doing a try-on to get and some money - but it would be possible to turn round and say "Nowt in my paperwork says you can. So take a running jump".
    If you feel like you don't fit in in this world, it's because you are here to help create a new one.
    • Hillwalker11
    • By Hillwalker11 24th Oct 18, 8:35 AM
    • 42 Posts
    • 165 Thanks
    Hillwalker11
    Be very careful if these trees are removed. If they are close to the house they need removing in stages, not cut down to the roots or removed in one go. This can cause heave which is the opposite to subsidence but just as costly to deal with. A good tree surgeon would advise accordingly.
    • LMS123
    • By LMS123 24th Oct 18, 8:41 AM
    • 42 Posts
    • 21 Thanks
    LMS123
    I think my daughter and son-in-law are letting their hearts rule their heads. I suggested they get a mortgage tree survey but it was met with silence.
    As for the land management company, another house on the development is in the process of being sold. It also has a similar border owned by the land management company and the present owners have an option from this company to buy the land from them for 3000. There are obvious pros and cons to that.
    I will be talking to my daughter later today and put my thoughts again. After that I will keep quiet! I can only sow the seed and hope they don't water it with weedkiller (that should be put on the trees).
    • LMS123
    • By LMS123 24th Oct 18, 8:49 AM
    • 42 Posts
    • 21 Thanks
    LMS123
    Thanks Hillwalker. I agree with that. If they are removed slowly over a number of years there will be less chance of "heave". I think they would have to liase with the land management company to sort it out.If they go ahead with the purchase it is an option.
    • pimento
    • By pimento 24th Oct 18, 8:51 AM
    • 5,544 Posts
    • 7,183 Thanks
    pimento

    Our vendor told us the elm hedge we now own and preserve was specially protected because of its relative rarity, but that turned out not to be true.
    Originally posted by Davesnave

    Our hawthorn hedge (150' along one side of our boundary) is protected under public amenity. It was mentioned when the previous owner got planning permission to extend to the side.
    "If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." -- Red Adair
    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 24th Oct 18, 9:25 AM
    • 26,860 Posts
    • 96,600 Thanks
    Davesnave
    I think my daughter and son-in-law are letting their hearts rule their heads. I suggested they get a mortgage tree survey but it was met with silence.
    As for the land management company, another house on the development is in the process of being sold. It also has a similar border owned by the land management company and the present owners have an option from this company to buy the land from them for 3000. There are obvious pros and cons to that.
    Originally posted by LMS123
    There can only be pros long-term, assuming that there is no TPO, but the home owners would have to factor-in the cost of removal, probably staged, so the cost could be quite significant.
    "We won't get fooled again...."
    • moneyistooshorttomention
    • By moneyistooshorttomention 24th Oct 18, 11:11 AM
    • 17,363 Posts
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    moneyistooshorttomention
    Could it be one of those set-ups on new builds where one has to buy whatever-it-is rather fast (in this case pay 3,000 for a bit of land one would expect to be Council) - so that the company that "owns" this land doesnt have the chance to go "Woah - a year or two have passed and we've just put the price of it up".
    If you feel like you don't fit in in this world, it's because you are here to help create a new one.
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