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Do not let leaves cause problems

Dead leaves falling from a neighbour’s tree can be more than a pest, they can cause damage from rising damp, block gutters and even cause flooding as they block drains

It is an annual problem and means ladders to clear out gutters which, as people get older, gets less easy. However, it is for the tree’s owner to make sure the leaves are not a problem.

As for all problems to do with neighbours, it is best to speak to them first to see if there is an easy way to resolve it; perhaps for them to collect the leaves or organise for someone to do it for them. If that does not work then you should send a lettre recommandée avec avis de réception registered letter asking them to take action.

The next step is to ensure the tree is sited correctly: if it is more than two metres in height it should be at least 2m from the edge of the neighbour’s property, measured from the trunk centre – unless there are local regulations.

Calling in a huissier (this costs €250-€400) can help as they are familiar with such  problems. They can estimate distances and, if needed, speak directly to the neighbour and ask that trees be trimmed if they are too high. This avoids taking the problem to court.

Minimum distances do not apply if there is a previous signed deal on a closer distance; when both properties were from a sub-divided plot or if the tree is 30+ years old.

If these apply or if the tree is sited properly you must prove the leaves have caused a problem to get satisfaction under
a claim for trouble anormal de voisinage.

Resident or second-home owner in France?
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