Summer nights let us spend more time out in our gardens but there are things we could be doing from the comfort of our lawns that could actually be breaking the law.
The legal experts at BPP University Law School have revealed six ways you could be unknowingly breaking the law from the comfort of your own backyard.
If you’re planning on spending as much time in the sunshine (while it lasts) as possible, keep reading so that you don’t get caught out later.
Here are six ways that you could be breaking the law from your own garden and how you can avoid it.
How you could be breaking the law from your own garden
1. Fruit theft
If you come across fruit that has fallen from your neighbour’s tree, they have the legal right to ask for it back.
On top of that, if you removed the fruit then it would actually count as stealing.
The simplest way to avoid it, according to BPP University Law School, is to return the fruit as soon as you find it.
However, don’t just simply throw back into their garden because this could be interpreted as littering or fly-tipping.
2. Trimming branches
Branches hanging over the fence blocking your view or your access to the sun can be an eyesore and a bit of a pain.
However, you need to resist hacking off the tree branch if it doesn’t belong to you to avoid breaking the law.
That being said, you can cut branches up to your property line which is the point where your garden ends and your neighbour’s land begins.
In any case, it’s always best to ask them first to help avoid any conflict.
3. Planting trees
If you are spending more time in your garden then, naturally, you may want to make some changes to it – possibly by planting some trees.
But you should be aware of the Right to Light Act beforehand and it might even make you think twice about it.
The act states that if your neighbour has had natural light accessible via a window for 20 years or more, you are not allowed to block it.
You should try to plant trees and bushes out of the way of windows that do not belong to you, just to avoid any confusion.
4. Asking your neighbours to clean up their leaves
Cleaning up your garden in the Spring and Summer can be a relaxing and somewhat challenging job at the same time.
It can be a thankless task, especially when you are left to clean leaves that have fallen from your neighbour’s trees into your garden.
You might be tempted to ask your neighbour to pitch in but they are actually not under any legal obligation to do any of the clean-up.
5. Taking flowers from your neighbours
If you and your green fingers get their colour from envying your neighbour’s flowers and not from spending time in your garden, listen up.
Just like taking fruit from your neighbour’s fallen trees, even if the flowers have dropped off your neighbour still has the right to ask for it back.
It’s best to avoid taking flowers unless you’ve asked, paid for them or planted and grown them yourself!
6. Taking land disputes into your own hands
Don’t take any land dispute between yourself and a neighbour into your own hands.
While sitting in the garden this summer, it’s natural for your mind to wander and even question things like:’should my neighbour’s fence be that close to my house? Is that genuinely where the boundaries between our houses are?’
If it does, BPP University Law School recommends that you settle any confusion by contacting HM Land Registry since boundaries can in fact move over the years.