Tree owner's liability for damage caused by roots

Re: Tree owner's liability for damage caused by roots

Postby MacadamB53 » Sat Oct 03, 2015 8:51 pm

Hi John,

Obviously I have to get the trees felled at my own expense...

...Neighbour seems satisfied


I bet he does!

All the very best, Mac
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Re: Tree owner's liability for damage caused by roots

Postby JohnP1950 » Sun Oct 04, 2015 12:52 pm

Well, it's only fair I suppose. He didn't have any say in the planting of the trees, and they have undoubtedly damaged his property. It would have been better if all this had happened before the vendor sold to us, but as Mr Sheen said it's our responsibility now. At least I can afford the excess, but if we had to pay for all the rebuilding work as well as the tree felling we'd have been in real difficulties.

Apparently our neighbour has had to move a lot of mechanical equipment out of his garage into storage and he was talking about getting compensation for the inconvenience and costs. I think he's now compromised on this point with the assessor, as long as the insurance company also pay for the removal of a couple of roots from his lawn. He says he's happy to do the reseeding afterwards and I've offered to help him level it all first. Good neighbour relations are worth a lot.
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Re: Tree owner's liability for damage caused by roots

Postby arsie » Mon Oct 05, 2015 5:22 pm

So far so good under difficult circumstances. I am slightly surprised your insurers are agreeing to pay as I thought they always have exclusion clauses e.g. not in the first six months/one year.

As a matter of interest were the trees already there when he built his garage? That might explain the apparent lack of 'normal' strip foundations. We built a new garage ten years ago and had to have an expensive ferro concrete raft foundation because of a mature ash tree < ten metres away.

If that is the case here, are the cracks a sign of serious damage or merely cosmetic? Is there metal reinforcement in the foundation pad? Ours had iron mesh and rods embedded and ~450mm thick. If the pad is inadequate/not fit for purpose what then? I guess your insurers' assessor will be the judge.
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Re: Tree owner's liability for damage caused by roots

Postby JohnP1950 » Fri Oct 09, 2015 1:26 am

Hello arsie. There didn't seem to be any time limits with our insurance. My partner was insured with the same company at her last house, so maybe that was a factor.

The trees were there when the garage was built, but I believe they were only quite small then. I did mention that point (i.e. that the garage should have been built to resist damage from the pre-existing trees) to both the neighbour and the insurance guy. He said the law doesn't require someone to go to additional expense to make a structure tree proof. If a neighbour's tree encroaches on his land and thereby damages the structure, the tree owner is liable for the damage - just as long as the structure was not so shoddily built that it would have cracked anyway without interference from the roots. I was quite surprised he was saying all this as I expected him to come up with reason after reason why the company needn't pay. But I guess they have to do things by the book to avoid problems down the line. It probably helped my neighbour that he works for a firm of solicitors and got "in-house" support, as he put it.

The cracks seem to be pretty substantial unfortunately. The raft foundation is cracked diagonally from about a third of the way along the side wall to the corner on the opposite side. The single-skin wall has a crack running diagonally up from where the raft is cracked, and there's another smaller crack parallel to it. There is also a fairly substantial crack about an inch and a half wide at the end of the door lintel and in the brickwork above it. So, it's something more than just cosmetic. I'm not sure whether the raft is reinforced, but I don't think it is - I didn't see any signs of reinforcement.
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Re: Tree owner's liability for damage caused by roots

Postby jonahinoz » Tue Nov 03, 2015 11:16 pm

If a neighbour's tree encroaches on his land and thereby damages the structure, the tree owner is liable.

Hi,

Is letting tree roots encroach under neighbouring property "negligent". As the trees were there before the garage, the damage is unlikely to be deliberate.

I understood that BCOs wander around the realm, demanding that foundations be dug an extra 3 metres because of a nearby tree. Seems reasonable ... unless you have to do the digging.

I would argue that whoever built the garage accepted that, at some time in the future, his garage would become vunerable to root damage. Is there nothing in the Regs to prevent PD where it might require a tree to be killed in a few years?

What if these tree were subject to a TPO?

John W
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