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.

Conclusion

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

E-mail: info@white-baos.com

White & Baos 2022 – All Rights Reserved.

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