The trees and hedging next door block our light and are damaging our fence

Property Clinic: The best option is for a neighbourly agreement about having the trees trimmed back

As the neighbouring property is owned by a management company, you should try to contact the directors of the management company. Photograph: iStock

As the neighbouring property is owned by a management company, you should try to contact the directors of the management company. Photograph: iStock

 

We have recently purchased a property that backs on to an apartment complex and have some issues with the trees and hedging along the party wall. Firstly, there are three very large trees that cause both our garden and house to be in complete shade from 3pm onwards. I know we do not have a right to light in the garden, but do we have a right to light in the house?

Secondly, their hedging is causing the party fence to fall into our garden as it is so overgrown, and we need them to trim it back. I have tried contacting the (outsourced) management company by phone and email to obtain permission from the directors to prune the trees and discuss what to do about the hedge but I have not had any response one way or another. What are our options here?

Aisling Keenan replies: Wylie on Irish Land Law notes “Rights of light are also common though they can be acquired only in respect of a building, indeed only in respect of a window or other aperture in a building”.

It should be considered if the “three very large trees” mentioned are overgrown and need to be maintained in order to allow you more light or if these trees are already being maintained (trimmed) and this shade from 3pm is still a problem. If the former is the case, then the best option is for a neighbourly discussion and agreement about having the trees trimmed back and a regular maintenance programme put in place in order to deal with the matter in the long term.

The maintenance of the neighbouring property is something that has a direct effect on your property with the hedging impinging on the boundary fence and in this regard the best option is discussion between the parties and agreements reached for the solution. In this case, as the neighbouring property is owned by a management company, you should try to contact the directors of the management company, considering that your efforts with the managing agent have failed.

The names and addresses of the directors of any company in Ireland are a matter of public record and can be obtained easily from the Companies Office. You will need to know the name of the management company to search the Companies Office website and for a small fee you can request a “Company Printout”. When you have the names and addresses of the directors, then you can write to them and your discussions can commence. It would be a good idea to include some pictures that demonstrate the point that you are making and appealing for them to revert to you on the matter. You may find that the directors are also living in the apartment complex and it will also be in their interest to maintain the common areas and boundaries of their development in order to protect the value of all owners’ investments there.

  • Aisling Keenan is a property managing agent and consultant and an associate member of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland, scsi.ie
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