Overgrown Magnolia tree results in loss of view!

Overgrown Magnolia tree results in loss of view!

15:13 PM, 31st October 2022, About 2 years ago 5

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Hello, I am told that in English law there is no such thing as a legal right to a view, (established in Aldred’s Case 1610). However, if a tree is allowed to grow uncontrolled and too large, resulting in the loss of a valued view, is there a potential legal challenge on the grounds of this being an “annoyance”?

I have owned a top floor flat within a three storey residential development for over 22 years. For at least 20 of those years the property enjoyed a very appealing view over the canal and tow path which provided hours of enjoyment watching the canal boats passing below.

However, during that time, a 2 metre magnolia bush, located 5 metres in front of my property, has been allowed to grow into a multi branched substantial tree standing some 8 to 9 metres tall today. In the last two years, the exponential growth of the tree has totally obliterated the valued view we once enjoyed from my living room and balcony.

In fact the tree is now all we can see.

I have repeatedly asked the management company to have the tree pruned back so it is no more than 5 metres in height, ie. equivalent to the distance it stands from the footings of the building. They will not do so because two of the resident directors on the residents committee (who live in flats unaffected by this tree) say “they do not want to cut the tree”.

I believe that their refusal to control the growth of the tree contributes to the “annoyance”. I have read that the test of annoyance is whether “reasonable people, having regard to the ordinary use of a dwelling for pleasurable enjoyment, would be annoyed or aggrieved”.

As I have benefited from this view for over twenty years, I feel it is clearly now an annoyance because it deprives me of my right to the ‘quiet enjoyment’ of the leased premises to which I believe I am still entitled.

I really am aggrieved and hope that someone can advise me on the best course of action to take to persuade the management company to cooperate and trim this tree to a more reasonable size.


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Judith Wordsworth

18:49 PM, 31st October 2022, About 2 years ago

In summer you may persuade for a pruning under "a right to light" if the foliage is blocking light to your property.
Pruning the top will benefit the tree and encourage sideways branch growth as magnolias can get very straggly

David Smith

10:14 AM, 1st November 2022, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Judith Wordsworth at 31/10/2022 - 18:49
You have an absolute right to light but not a view.
I would think if the tree is that large and close to your window then it must have an effect on the light into your property in the summer so you could have a claim.

Ron H-W

11:10 AM, 1st November 2022, About 2 years ago

If it's only 5 metres from the building AND allowed to grow unchecked, isn't there a (long-term) risk of structural damage to the building? I bet the insurers would be happier if the tree were kept under control!
So, if all else fails, maybe draw the insurer's attention to this tree, and your concerns for the structural integrity of the building?

Tim Rogers

14:47 PM, 1st November 2022, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Ron H-W at 01/11/2022 - 11:10
I agree with this, the building insurance may actually be invalidated by the tree being that size and in that proximity to the building.

It may also be worth your while checking for any covenants in the lease and/or bringing it to the attention of the freeholders as a structural liability.

I'm surprised that the other flats on lower floors have not raised it as an issue, if only for the light aspect. It maybe worth checking and presenting a combined front.

David Houghton

18:54 PM, 4th November 2022, About 2 years ago

The right to light probably won't help. The light has to be "sufficient" and the drop measurable. Unless you could prove you have been doing saying close work sewing by window light for ,20+ years

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