My neighbour wants me to cut down my tree as it blocks the sun in their garden but I don't want to – what are my rights?

IF your neighbour has asked if you can cut down your tree because it's blocking the sun in their garden, here's where your rights stand.

With warmer weather round the corner, families will be preparing to get their deck chairs out soon – meaning these sorts of spats with next door could become more common.

With British summers notoriously drizzly, making the most of the sunshine will be a priority for many.

But if you're getting in fights with your neighbour about whether your garden is blocking the light, here's what your rights are.

The issue over where you legally stand in this situation was raised by someone posting to the online forum Reddit.

One user said their neighbours were complaining that the apple tree in their garden was casting shade over where they wanted to put their hot tub.

They said the tree does not hang over into next door's garden, and will not agree to cutting it down.

But their neighbours have threatened legal action against him in order to get the tree axed.

We explain what your rights are in a situation such as this.

What are your legal rights?

Estate agent Petty Son & Prestwich have previously shared their tips on what your rights are if a neighbour is complaining about you blocking their sunlight.

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According to their guide, your neighbour might be able to get your tree cut back if it is blocking light from passing through a window or glass door in your property.

Under the Rights of Light Act, if a property has received daylight for the last 20 years, it may be entitled to continue to receive that light.

However, Chun Wong, head of the dispute resolution team at Hodge Jones and Allen solicitors, points out that the right is to "daylight" and not "sunlight". 

"This is usually restricted to one foot of candlelight. There is also no right to a ‘view’," she explained.

"If you do have a right to light which is being adversely affected by large trees, then you may be able to apply to the court to restore your right or get an injunction to prevent interference with your right."

Can a tree be too tall?

There is no specific limit to the height to which a tree is allowed to grow.

If a group of trees starts to form a vegetative screen blocking neighbours' views then it could be a "High Hedge" issue, which the council and Planning Enforcement could get involved with.

The Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 defines how high a hedge can grow under the law.

It doesn't mean that you can't grow anything above that height, but it does mean your neighbour is within your rights to complain about something that exceeds it.

If the hedge is more than two metres tall then your neighbourcan take action.

The Royal Horticultural Society explains that if the hedge affects the "reasonable" enjoyment of a house or garden, negotiation should first take place.

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If that fails, you can ask your council for a complaint form, so long as the hedge exceeds the height.

But keep in mind that there will be a fee involved which can be up to £400.

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