Neighbour complaining about height of bushes in our garden

37 posts in this topic

Hello. 

I was wondering how to find out of the bushes in our garden which I estimate to be around 3 metres high are under the legal height limit if there is one. 

It is an unusual situation in that we live on the ground floor and own the flat and the garden in front of the house which is fenced off. 

The bushes causing the aggravation do NOT form a hedge, there are merely two of them, one in each corner. 

Our neighbour has asked us to cut them much lower, but we do not want to do this for two reasons. For privacy we wish to keep them fairly high. And we do not have the equipment or ladder to cut them back, so would have to employ someone to do something we don't want doing. Moreover the bushes have been this height for well over a decade, though we bought and moved in only a couple of years ago. 

The bushes are completely within the garden on private land and do not hang over onto the public footpath or highway, so it is not a public land issue in any way. 

The neighbour lives in the first floor flat and is also an owner. 

Where do we stand legally? Are we obliged to keep the bushes to a certain height, just because this neighbour wants a better view when sitting in their lounge/bedroom which look out over the top of our garden towards the river? 

I would be prepared to have them cut back a little (but not a lot) as long as the neighbour pays for it. Any help/tip would be much appreciated. Thank you. 

 

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Hey Luna, I know that in a Schrebergarten that the greenery on the sides should be 130 c.m and at the back 180c.m. That's what the chairman told me and I'm sure it's different in a private garden. If they are your plants/ not hedges you should cut them down. Rent/buy a ladder and take some of it down would be a nice gesture but your neighbour might say it's not enough and then the BS goes on. Let us know how the story unfolds.

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Hello McDee and thank you for your reply. The thing is we have already cut them back twice, once last year and then we had a gardener in to do our grass early summer due to us not being able to manage it ourselves and at the same time I asked if he would cut the bushes. I think he lowered the height by about a metre or more! 

And the only reason I had this done this year was because the neighbour asked us to cut them back so she could 'see the river'. I don't think her husband was bothered either way, it just seems to be her. 

So we have already made the nice gesture you mention. She has now asked us again a few months later - owing to the good weather, the bush has grown a bit again. It is not as high by any means as before and I mentioned this to her and also compared to this situation we found when we bought the flat and garden, it is already a hundred times better looking. 

I cut back a third bush nearer to the house which was very high and it looks a lot tidier and is well under the height of even their floor, let alone their windows. 

 

We are really not prepared to spend more money regularly cutting these two specific bushes in height just so our neighbour can 'see the river'. The bushes block less than 50% of her view in any case as there are two bushes in opposite corners and there is nothing in between them, so the river is still clearly in view from their lounge. I think she wants to be able to see it from her bedroom as again, but to me this a simply a cheek. 

My worry for now is only where we stand legally. 

 

 

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5 hours ago, lunaCH said:

. The bushes block less than 50% of her view in any case as there are two bushes in opposite corners and there is nothing in between them, so the river is still clearly in view from their lounge. I think she wants to be able to see it from her bedroom as again, but to me this a simply a cheek. 

My worry for now is only where we stand legally. 

 

 

If they are blocking light to your neighbours flat, they may have a case.

 

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8 hours ago, White Rose of Yorkshire said:

 

If they are blocking light to your neighbours flat, they may have a case.

 

The bushes in no way block light. They are only just as high as their full-length first-floor windows and they are at least five metres away from these. To block light they would have to be at least another 3 or 4 metres taller than they currently are. The sun is never lower than the height of the bushes when passing across that south-facing section of the property during the day, not even in the winter, if it were, it would be behind the buildings on the other side of the road, so light is definitely not an issue. 

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Check your local rules and do accordingly to.   There might be a limit, 1,30 or 1,80 or whatever.  What you "think" it is irrelevant.

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17 minutes ago, Krieg said:

Check your local rules and do accordingly to.   There might be a limit, 1,30 or 1,80 or whatever.  What you "think" it is irrelevant.

Would that be at regional or municipal level? What if nothing is specified for bushes on private land?

Trees grow on private land and they can be extremely high. 

There seem to be rules about borders and hedges and overhanging branches onto private land of others or onto public land, footpaths and roads, but our bushes do not fall into any of these categories as they contained entirely within our garden. The issue is they grow upwards.

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Just now, lunaCH said:

Would that be at regional or municipal level?

 

No idea, Google your city first. 

 

Just now, lunaCH said:

What if nothing is specified for bushes on private land?

 

It will be.  Bushes are serious business in Germany.

 

Just now, lunaCH said:

Trees grow on private land and they can be extremely high.

 

Trees are not bushes.   However there are rules about trees as well.  Like the minimum distance to the border of your property.  And some trees are protected, once there, they stay there and you need a permission to remove them.

 

Just now, lunaCH said:

 

There seem to be rules about borders and hedges and overhanging branches onto private land of others or onto public land, footpaths and roads, but our bushes do not fall into any of these categories as they contained entirely within our garden. The issue is they grow upwards.

 

Well, if you are not sure if your "bush" is not subject to regulations because you decided it is not a hedge and that would make it immune to laws, then maybe ask a lawyer, or start a fight with your neighbor about it, but I can tell you, that's never good.

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16 hours ago, lunaCH said:

 

 

 

Why not just keep the bushes at 1,80m?You still get your ground level privacy and your neighbour still gets her view. If the tables were turned, what would you see as reasonable? 

 

You can buy good quality garden equipment in lidl most of the time (or all of the time online?) which will save you having to pay for someone to do it.

 

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36 minutes ago, ZA1234 said:

The height allowed depends on the species of tree/bush, and its distance from the border of the property.

 

Gesetz über das Nachbarrecht 
(Nachbarrechtsgesetz - NRG) 
in der Fassung der Bekanntmachung vom 8. Januar 1996

§ 16 
Sonstige Gehölze

http://www.landesrecht-bw.de/jportal/?quelle=jlink&query=NachbG+BW+§+16&psml=bsbawueprod.psml&max=true

 

 

Is there a similar regulation for Munich?

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15 hours ago, lunaCH said:

The bushes block less than 50% of her view

Oh well that`s alright then if they only block less than 50% of her view.

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9 minutes ago, MikeMelga said:

Is there a similar regulation for Munich?

 

Sure.   Neighbor wars would be even worse without clear rules.

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26 minutes ago, MikeMelga said:

Is there a similar regulation for Munich?

 

There's Artikel 47 AGBGB, the law laying down the details for the German Civil Code (BGB) in Bavaria:  https://www.gesetze-bayern.de/Content/Document/BayAGBGB-47

 

Art. 47
Grenzabstand von Pflanzen
 
(1) Der Eigentümer eines Grundstücks kann verlangen, daß auf einem Nachbargrundstück nicht Bäume, Sträucher oder Hecken, Weinstöcke oder Hopfenstöcke in einer geringeren Entfernung als 0,50 m oder, falls sie über 2 m hoch sind, in einer geringeren Entfernung als 2 m von der Grenze seines Grundstücks gehalten werden.
(2) 1Zugunsten eines Waldgrundstücks kann nur die Einhaltung eines Abstands von 0,50 m verlangt werden. 2Das gleiche gilt, wenn Wein oder Hopfen auf einem Grundstück angebaut wird, in dessen Lage dieser Anbau nach den örtlichen Verhältnissen üblich ist.

 

Art. 47 Limit distance of plants

  1. The owner of a plot of land may require that trees, shrubs or hedges, vines or hops are not kept on a neighbouring plot of land at a distance of less than 0.50 m or, if they are more than 2 m high, at a distance of less than 2 m from the boundary of his plot of land.
  2.  1Only a distance of 0.50 m is required if you're neighbouring a forest plot. 2The same shall apply if wine or hops are cultivated on a plot of land in the location of which such cultivation is customary according to local conditions.

 

However, you are only allowed to complain within the first 5 years starting with the end of the year in which the problem first occurred, according to Artikel 52 AGBGB.

So if your neighbour planted a bush that is nearer than 50cm to your fence, you have to complain within 5.x years.

Same with the 2m height limit, you are only allowed to complain within 5.x years of the first time the plant exceeded 2m.

 

And "complain" means taking that neighbour to court, which in Bavaria means mandatory mediation (Schlichtung) first, see here.

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1 hour ago, Krieg said:

if you are not sure if your "bush" is not subject to regulations because you decided it is not a hedge and that would make it immune to laws, then maybe ask a lawyer, or start a fight with your neighbor about it, but I can tell you, that's never good.

This is exactly what we don't want and neither do our neighbours. We have already made a huge effort and done a lot for them. 

The bushes height has already been cut back. it is only natural that they grow back to their standard height and they have been this high for decades.

1 hour ago, ZA1234 said:

The height allowed depends on the species of tree/bush, and its distance from the border of the property.

http://www.landesrecht-bw.de/jportal/?quelle=jlink&query=NachbG+BW+§+16&psml=bsbawueprod.psml&max=true

 

 

Both are those measurements in that document heights?

1 hour ago, pmd said:

 

Why not just keep the bushes at 1,80m?You still get your ground level privacy and your neighbour still gets her view. If the tables were turned, what would you see as reasonable? 

I have asked our predecessor and he has confirmed that the previous owner must have planted them as they were there when he bought the property in the early 1990s. Therefore they have been around 3 metres high for the last 30 years. I don't think the species grows any higher than 4 metres. 

54 minutes ago, PandaMunich said:

 

There's Artikel 47 AGBGB, the law laying down the details for the German Civil Code (BGB) in Bavaria:  https://www.gesetze-bayern.de/Content/Document/BayAGBGB-47

 

Art. 47
Grenzabstand von Pflanzen
 
(1) Der Eigentümer eines Grundstücks kann verlangen, daß auf einem Nachbargrundstück nicht Bäume, Sträucher oder Hecken, Weinstöcke oder Hopfenstöcke in einer geringeren Entfernung als 0,50 m oder, falls sie über 2 m hoch sind, in einer geringeren Entfernung als 2 m von der Grenze seines Grundstücks gehalten werden.
(2) 1Zugunsten eines Waldgrundstücks kann nur die Einhaltung eines Abstands von 0,50 m verlangt werden. 2Das gleiche gilt, wenn Wein oder Hopfen auf einem Grundstück angebaut wird, in dessen Lage dieser Anbau nach den örtlichen Verhältnissen üblich ist.

However, you are only allowed to complain within the first 5 years starting with the end of the year in which the problem first occurred, according to Artikel 52 AGBGB.

So if your neighbour planted a bush that is nearer than 50cm to your fence, you have to complain within 5.x years.

Same with the 2m height limit, you are only allowed to complain within 5.x years of the first time the plant exceeded 2m.

And "complain" means taking that neighbour to court, which in Bavaria means mandatory mediation (Schlichtung) first, see here.

Understood, but our issue is not distance, it is only the height. The bushes have been there at this height since the 1980s. 

The distance will never be queried as the bushes were there before our neighbours came and are on our land, nowhere near their land. 

The woman told me that she does not take people to court out of politeness, she does not have the energy, means or wish to do so - also the issues we have are nothing compared to those that she had with our predecessor and she never did anything about him, legally or otherwise.

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If the bushes are in 2 corners of the garden how are they not on a border?  How close to the fence are they?

 

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11 minutes ago, snowingagain said:

If the bushes are in 2 corners of the garden how are they not on a border?  How close to the fence are they? 

On the other sides of the fence are a path and parking spaces - so they are not on the borders between their land and ours.

They are 1 m from the fences respectively, but the land on both sides of the fence is not their private land. On one side it is our private land still, a narrow footpath and our private parking space, on the other it is a footpath and a visitors' parking space which belongs to both parties. So the borders and fences are irrelevant in this case.

The only issue is the height of bushes on private land, - bushes which do not form a border or hedge of any kind. 

To put it another way, our bushes with their height are partially invading their airspace or line of sight - directly above the garden which is our private land. Their view looks over or across the top of our garden/our private land and onto the streets, gardens and river beyond. 

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54 minutes ago, lunaCH said:

 We have already made a huge effort and done a lot for them. 

 

Cut them to conform with the law or leave them like they are if the conform to the law.   The problem here is you are just choosing what you prefer.

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