UK query here. My question is about the options available to us when a neighbour carries out actions that damage our hedge boundary.
The rights and responsibilities of property owners when it comes to hedges are discussed frequently on internet forums as it seems to be a very common source of conflict between neighbours.
If I am responsible for a boundary (as specified in the deeds) and it is a hedge that forms this boundary it doesn’t mean I have to maintain their side of the hedge for them. As I understand it, each neighbour is responsible for the part of the hedge that is on their side of the property line - which should run through the centre of the hedge trunks if planted correctly.
So a neighbour, if they wished could cut the hedge back as much as they want on their side, but if they were to lean over and start cutting on my side of the boundary or even cut down the whole thing then this could constitute criminal damage.
But what about situations where the neighbour carries out works that, strictly speaking, are only on their side of the boundary but are severely detrimental to the health of the hedge - perhaps to the extent of killing it off?
In this case, our neighbour is excavating part of their front garden to create a drive. In doing so they have been extremely thorough in removing the earth right up to the boundary line, going halfway round the trunks of the hedge and even underneath the root ball. This has exposed a good two-thirds of the roots of the hedge to the elements which is surely not going to be good for the plant.
If the hedge dies off then would we have grounds to take action against the neighbours for the cost of a replacement? According to the deeds, it is our boundary to maintain.
The neighbouring property is a building site, practically, at the moment and the owner has previously said that they would prefer to replace the hedge with a brick wall. More recent attempts to contact them have been ignored.