6 Ways You Could Be Breaking The Law In Your Own Garden
Photo by Darren Richardson on Unsplash
With the temperature continuing to rise in the UK, many Brits are (literally) throwing in the towel and opting to stay in their own homes, where it is cooler and quieter.
There are many perks to sunbathing in your own back garden: you can play your own music, you don’t have to buy drinks and, most importantly, you can retreat into your house when it gets too warm.
However, the legal experts at BPP University Law School have revealed that even in the comforts of your own back garden, there are ways in which you can in fact break the law.
It may sound strange, but it’s true: if you find fruit in your garden that has fallen from a tree belonging to your neighbour, they have the legal right to ask for it back.
Not only this, but removing said fruit and keeping it would count as stealing. If you want to avoid this, the best solution is to return the fruit as soon as you find it - and avoid simply throwing it back into their garden. If you do this, it could be seen as garden waste fly-tipping or littering.
Do you ever find yourself trying to sunbathe but an annoying branch from the other side of your fence keeps blocking the rays? While this can be frustrating, you cannot simply hack off the branch of a tree if it doesn’t belong to you.
Despite this, you are, in fact, allowed to cut branches up to your property line - which is essentially where your garden ends and your neighbour’s begins. To avoid conflict, it is always better to ask first.
If you are spending more time in your garden then, naturally, you may want to make some changes to it - possibly by planting some trees.
However, you will need to think twice about this as, under the Right to Light Act,
if your neighbour has had natural light accessible via a window for 20 years or more, you are not allowed to block it.
It is therefore always wise to plant trees and bushes out of the way of windows that do not belong to you, to avoid any confusion.
Asking your neighbours to clean up their leaves
If you have started to spend more time in your garden due to the summer months finally appearing, it is only natural that you would want it to be clean and tidy - but that is, unfortunately, on you.
Strangely, your neighbours are not under any legal obligation to clean up leaves that may have fallen into your garden from their trees.
While it may be tempting to ask your neighbours to get sweeping, as the tree belongs to them, it could be wise to invest in a leaf blower or a rake of your own. This way, your garden can remain pristine.
Taking flowers from your neighbours
Certain trees come equipped with very pretty flowers which, in the heat of the moment and after a few too many afternoon Pinot Grigios, you may feel the urge to take as your own.
While the flowers may have already fallen or may be able to fall from the tree, your neighbours still have every right to ask for them back - just like with their fruit.
So instead, try ordering some seeds, spades and gardening gear yourself, and get planting!
Taking land disputes into your own hands
Finally, we come to the issue that has probably torn more neighbours apart than anything else: land disputes.
Sitting in your garden more often, could lead to your thoughts wandering to topics such as ‘should my neighbour’s fence be that close to my house? Is that genuinely where the boundaries between our houses are?’
Unfortunately, as boundaries can actually move over the years, this kind of confusion can usually only be settled by contacting HM Land Registry.