Neighbours trees near french home are too large

My neighbours have several very large trees just over one metre from our property boundary, but they hang far over our property and block the view. I believe that we can ask them to trim back the tree – at least the part that overhangs our property – can you explain what we can do? M.T.

Yes, you can ask your neighbours – or you ask the owners of the land if the neighbours are tenants – to trim back such trees.

For trees planted within two metres of the boundary line – the distance is measured from the centre of the trunk – you can ask that they be cut back to two metres in height and, in some cases, that they be torn out or cut down to less than two metres.

It is up to the land owner to do work in cutting back branches but you can cut back roots or twigs that cross the boundary.

A 2013 court case saw a property-owner ordered to cut back overhanging branches on an 18m birch tree that was three metres from the boundary.

There may be an exception for trees more than 30 years old (prescription trentenaire) if there has been no complaint in that time or if the properties were originally one and the trees predate the split.

But you may need specialist advice on this.

Such problems are always best resolved in a friendly chat. If that fails, send a formal letter asking for action. Say in the letter your next option is to go to court.

Question answered by Sarah Bright-Thomas of Bright Avocats

Tel: 05 61 57 90 86

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