Alleged damage by our old tree to neighbour's new house

Alleged damage by our old tree to neighbour's new house

Postby hollyb » Wed Jul 20, 2011 9:44 am

We have an oak tree in the corner of our garden estimated to be c 70yrs old so pretty huge. We have had a 'subsidence mitigation unit' letter commissioned by the neighbour's insurance company requiring us, on the advice of an aboriculturist's report, to reduce all the branches by 10ft and to continue to prune similarly every two years. They are also requiring we remove 4m privet hedging and a hawthorn tree. We have removed the hawthorn ourselves but the cost of butchering the oak thus would be phenomenal (and ongoing). And we cannot believe a privet hedge would be damaging. All this vegetation is within a conservation area by the way.

This oak tree was there long before the house was built. Are we really liable for the damage even if it is caused by our tree routes? The letter threatens legal action if we don't co-operate. Would it be reasonable to agree to the work being done at the neighbour's (or their insurer's) expense? I really can't see why the fact that someone chose to build a house so close to a healthy growing oak tree should be our problem.

And all this while we are trying to sell our house!
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Re: Alleged damage by our old tree to neighbour's new house

Postby WILL*REMAIN*STRONG » Wed Jul 20, 2011 1:36 pm

Has the cause of the subsidence been proved then? Does the report outline which roots are the cause of the damage/subsidence? I'm not an expert, hopefully Treeman will be along shortly to advice you. Usually insurance companies want a quick solution and that is usually the removal of vegetation near the house in question, they don't necessarily do root analysis in the first instance. If they provide evidence that the roots of your tree are the cause of the damage, they can take legal action against you if you do not comply.
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Re: Alleged damage by our old tree to neighbour's new house

Postby hollyb » Wed Jul 20, 2011 1:58 pm

No proof presented. Their engineers are said to be "satisfied that damge is due to clay shrinkage subsidence exacerbated by vegetation. Vegetation is judged to have the potential to be exerting a contributory influence in respect of the current damage to the insured property".

No technical investigations have been carried out as far as we are aware -this is all based on observation.
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Re: Alleged damage by our old tree to neighbour's new house

Postby despair » Wed Jul 20, 2011 2:05 pm

I am sure Treeman wil provide a suitable reply for the Insurance Co
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