Problems with the neighbour’s trees. Rights and obligations. Maximum distance and height. Spanish Civil Code. Municipal ordinance. Legal advice.

Problems with the neighbour’s trees. Legal distance and height

Coexistence between neighbours is not always easy. On several occasions we have talked about the problems that arise in communities of owners. In today’s article we analyse a subject that we have been asked about a lot recently, and that we have already explained in previous articles. The disputes that arise when the neighbour’s trees are planted too close to the boundaries of our property. What rule applies in these situations? Is it the Spanish Civil Code or the Municipal Ordinances? In addition to the minimum distance… Should height also be considered? We discuss all these questions below.

What regulation has priority. Spanish Civil Code, Municipal Ordinances or local custom?

To solve a problem of this type, the first thing we must do is to identify the applicable regulation. The answer can be found in the Spanish Civil Code. Art. 591 states that the trees planted near the boundaries must be situated within the distances established:  

– Firstly, by the Municipal Ordinances.

– Secondly, and in case there are no municipal by-laws, in the local customs. However, it is not always easy to prove them.

– Finally, and in the absence of the two previous ones, the provisions of the Spanish Civil Code will apply.

Regulation of the Spanish Civil Code: Art. 591 and 592

What are the exact distances provided for in the Civil Code? Tall trees must be planted, at most, two metres away from the boundary. In the case of bushes or low trees, the distance is reduced to 50 centimetres.

In addition, if the branches extend over the property of another neighbour, the latter has the right to demand that they are cut down. If, instead of branches, it is the roots that invade his property, he has the right to cut them himself.

Let’s look at a practical case. Ordinances for the protection of trees and conservation of plots of land in the town of DENIA

The distance at which trees should be planted from the boundary is regulated in the Tree Protection Ordinance (Art. 7.7). In this case, its regulation is the same as the one foreseen in the Spanish Civil Code. That is, two metres for high trees, 50 centimetres for low trees.

What about height? Is it regulated in any way? It will depend on each municipality. Continuing with the example of the city of Denia. Ordinance for the Conservation of Plots of Land foresees what happens with height. Art. 43 and 44 of said regulation state that when someone fences off his plot with a vegetal fences/living hedge (ie a row of trees planted one next to each other.) the maximum height of the trees must be two metres.


If your neighbour’s trees are causing you problems, please do not hesitate to contact us. At White-Baos Abogados we will carefully study your case: applicable regulation, viability of your claim, etc and offer you expert advice on the subject.

The information provided in this article is not intended to be legal advice, but merely conveys information related to legal issues.

Carlos Baos (Lawyer)

White & Baos.

Tel: +34 966 426 185


White & Baos 2022 – All Rights Reserved.

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7 thoughts on “Problems with the neighbour’s trees. Rights and obligations. Maximum distance and height. Spanish Civil Code. Municipal ordinance. Legal advice.

  1. l have recently cut my neighbours overhanging branches which l then put them back over their fence. l also have a problem with their ivy which is heavily overgrown by a shared fence which is also being damaged by the weight of the ivy. l have tried talking to them but they refuse to remove it. what are my rights as l am finding this experience very distressing.

    1. Thank you for your message.
      If it is not possible an agreement, you could claim against him in court and ask for them to be forced to cut the branches, and also a compensation for the work done by you.

  2. I have been reading your article regarding cutting of branches of overhanging trees.
    We have a similar problem but it is with Pine trees, outside our apartment block and our neighbor underneath. We live in Mijas Costa area. Do the same rules apply Art 591 & 592. They are very tall trees just 1.38 meters from our boundaries. We only want the branches that overhang about our property (by at least 3 meters) pruned as the processional caterpillars invade our terrace and the pines needles gather on terrace to a considerable amount which blocks drains etc when we are away from apartment. We have tried the townhall to no avail. Bags of pine needles have to be swept up each time we come to the property.

  3. Our new neighbour cut down three mature trees between our property while we were away. The trees were cut in the summer, a large jacaranda, a large Spanish pine, and spruce. I understand it is forbidden to cut these trees without a permit, in summer etc. Is there anything we can do? The trees between the houses provided privacy, now we can see straight into their house and them into ours. Furthermore, we live in the south of Spain where there is a drought, the trees are irreplaceable.

  4. Is a small lemon tree less than 2 metres from a neighbour’s garden against the law or is this classed as small and so 50cm is only needed

  5. our next door house not joined has been empty for many years and can’t trace owners family as owner died. their garden is overgrown with trees and plants encroaching over our garden. can we get council to remove tree and plants. torrievieja area

    1. You can ask the Town Hall if their are breaching the local regulations, and also you can claim againas them for the damages caused, etc.
      You can arrange a consultation with our lawyer if you want, to inform you about the diferent options you have.
      Telf 0034 966 426 185

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