Overgrown or untidy gardens

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

  • overflowing wheelie bins, or a build-up of rubbish sacks and other waste
  • rotting food and other materials
  • dense, overgrown vegetation, or a badly managed compost heap.

As well as looking unsightly and causing a smell, this could attract pests such as rats and mice.

What you can do

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

Your rights

Your rights when it comes to neighbours' gardens are governed by several laws. An unkempt or slightly overgrown garden is not sufficient to enable you to take action unless it's contravening the law

Taking action yourself

There are strict laws on what you can and cannot do when it comes to taking action yourself. You cannot trespass onto the gardens of neighbours 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 although by law, you should offer any clippings back to your neighbour.
Useful guidance can be found on gov.uk

However, some trees have a tree preservation order placed upon them and you can be fined if you remove anything other than dead wood.
For further information, visit our Work on protected trees page.


Remember, it is the responsibility of individual owners to ensure that they do not leave land under their control to deteriorate to the point where the only option is enforcement action.

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, please report it to Environmental Health on 0151 443 4712 or [email protected]. We can investigate problems that are causing a statutory nuisance or providing harbourage for rats or mice.

What we can do

We will investigate to see if the waste, rubbish and vegetation is causing a problem. 
We can talk to the owner or occupier of the property and explain what action they need to take.  We will try and resolve the issue informally but can take a more formal approach if necessary.
If the problem does not improve, we can serve a legal notice on the person responsible.  If they do not take the action required in the notice, we could take further legal action against them.

What we cannot do

We are unable to take any action for untidy gardens, or for any ‘inert matter’ - for example building materials or wood.  We will only take action where there is a Public Health risk.

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