Overgrown or untidy gardens

Your neighbour's overgrown land can cause a nuisance by attracting unwanted pests and smells. Find out your rights and how we can help here.

If your neighbour lets rubbish build up on their land, or allows their garden to become overgrown, it could cause problems that affect you. For example:

  • Overflowing wheelie bins or a build-up of rubbish sacks and other waste can attract pests such as rats and mice.
  • Rotting food and other materials can cause a smell.
  • Dense, overgrown vegetation or a badly managed compost heap can also attract pests and cause a smell.

What you can do

If the state of your neighbour's garden or land is causing you problems, try talking to them about it first. They may be able to solve the problem without the need for further action.

Your rights

The law does not allow you to take action against a neighbour for having an unkempt or slightly overgrown garden. However, you may be able to take action if the garden is causing a statutory nuisance, such as by attracting pests or causing a smell.

Taking action yourself

You cannot trespass onto your neighbour's land to remove any rubbish or foliage yourself. 

If a neighbour's hedge, brambles, or tree are causing problems on your side of the boundary, you are entitled to prune or remove anything that comes over onto your side of the boundary. However, you must offer any clippings back to your neighbour.

For further information, visit our Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) and development work page.

Reporting an overgrown garden or land

If you are still being affected by a build-up of waste on your neighbour's land or garden, you can report it to Environmental Health. Environmental Health will investigate to see if the waste, rubbish, and vegetation is causing a statutory nuisance. 

If it is, they can talk to the owner or occupier of the property and explain what action they need to take. If the problem does not improve, Environmental Health can serve a legal notice on the person responsible.

What Environmental Health cannot do

Environmental Health cannot take any action for untidy gardens, or for any "inert matter". For example building materials or wood. They will only take action where there is a public health risk.


Environmental Health 


2nd Floor

Municipal Building

Archway Road


L36 9FB


0151 443 4712



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