Tree roots causing damage to my boundary wall.

Tree roots causing damage to my boundary wall.

Postby bal » Wed Apr 17, 2013 11:01 am

Hi, I am new to this website and forum.
I would like some advice on an issue with my next door neighbour and would be grateful for any guidance. The issue involves the neighbours’ tree and my boundary wall, which has been damaged by the tree roots. The tree in question is a Sycamore 20m in height and is within 1m from my boundary wall and within 10m from my house.

I moved to this detached property 16 years ago, when I purchased the property the neighbour had 2 trees very close to the boundary wall, both trees had caused damage to the wall to the extent that it was bowing out and was in a dangerous state and would have collapsed. The neighbour only agreed to have one tree removed at my cost. The tree cut down was the one closest to the boundary wall and once removed I replaced the whole wall at my cost which was a substantial amount as it was 10m long.

Over the years the neighbour has not maintained the remaining tree, I have been trimming the branches back to the boundary. Each time I arrange for the tree to be trimmed back I request that the neighbour maintains their side to keep the tree in check and avoid damage to the wall but the request falls on deaf ears. The tree is now overgrown to the extent that it's roots are now damaging the wall again and I recently noticed that it was once again bowing out and becoming unsafe. I am also concerned that the roots may reach my house and damage the foundations since the tree is only 7m away from my house.

Last week I discussed the matter with the neighbour and explained that their tree roots are causing damage and movement to the wall and it will need repairs. The neighbour does not fully acknowledge the situation that the wall is unsafe and it has been damaged, they just want to ignore the situation. Eventually the wall will need to be rebuilt. I am reluctant to pay for rebuilding costs, it's not my tree that's caused the damage and even if I go to the expense of rebuilding the wall the existing problem of the tree roots is still there.

I would like my neighbour to pay the cost of rebuilding the wall and take responsibility for their tree. If they are not willing to do this, can I get my neighbour to cut down the tree? Would be grateful for any advice and where I stand legally.

Kindest Regards
Bal
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Re: Tree roots causing damage to my boundary wall.

Postby bal » Wed Apr 17, 2013 3:03 pm

Hi, Thanks for your advice.

I didn't formally put this in writing and have stated it verbally on a number of occasions, now looking back I should of formally wrote to them. Will write to them this week.

On another note, the roots are now under the foundations of the wall and come over to my side. If I rebuild the wall, the existing roots will need to be cut back to the boundary wall and cut out from under the wall's foundations.
I fear this may eventually kill the tree, but on the other hand the wall is now dangerously bowing and could collapse.
Would I be entitled to cut back the roots to the boundary wall and from under the foundations for the repair?

Kindest Regards
Bal

The post you replied to has been removed because of inaccuracies. Please ignore what you read.
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Re: Tree roots causing damage to my boundary wall.

Postby despair » Wed Apr 17, 2013 4:19 pm

You could be caught in a cleft stick

1) you are entiteled to cut back right to the boundary any root that crosses however if that kills the tree you could be liable

2) Since you verbally warned the neighbour on repeated occasions i wonder if a solicitor well vewrsed in such problems could find a suitable way of wording a letter to put the onus back on your neighbour

Other than that i do not know what to suggest
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Re: Tree roots causing damage to my boundary wall.

Postby gardenlaw » Wed Apr 17, 2013 7:48 pm

I think the onus is on the neighbours whether or not you put it in writing. What you did 16 years ago was far more telling than any letter. Your neighbours agreed that their tree was causing damge to your wall. That the tree was a legal; nuisance and although you paid for all the work, in effect they adopted your conclusion by forcing you to pay for everything.
The present situation is a repeat. This time they should do the work at their expense. You should take photographs to go with your letter and show how out of true the wall is.
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Re: Tree roots causing damage to my boundary wall.

Postby bal » Wed Apr 17, 2013 10:11 pm

Dear Gardenlaw,

Thanks for the advice, it's appreciated.
I looked at the documents of 16 years ago and found that I actually had an Arboricultural survey done. The survey recommended that the tree in question needed to be maintained and not allowed to out grow it's location. My neighbour has not kept it under control even though i asked them to do so on many occasions.

You mention that I take photographs to go with a letter and show how out of true the wall is. Question? Once I have the photos and the letter, should I first send this directly to the neighbour and wait for a response? Or is now the time to see a solicitor and let legal handle this.

Kindest Regards
Bal
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Re: Tree roots causing damage to my boundary wall.

Postby ukmicky » Wed Apr 17, 2013 10:16 pm

Speak to your insurance company
Advice given is not legally qualified and you are advised to gain a professional opinion
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Re: Tree roots causing damage to my boundary wall.

Postby despair » Wed Apr 17, 2013 10:47 pm

Also check whether your mortgage or insurances or credit cards or union membership includes. Legal expenses cover because its doubtful that your house insurer will cover garden walls
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Re: Tree roots causing damage to my boundary wall.

Postby arborlad » Wed Apr 17, 2013 11:33 pm

bal wrote: The issue involves the neighbours’ tree and my boundary wall, which has been damaged by the tree roots.



Any chance of a photo?
arborlad

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Re: Tree roots causing damage to my boundary wall.

Postby arborlad » Thu Apr 18, 2013 12:44 am

bal wrote: The issue involves the neighbours’ tree and my boundary wall, which has been damaged by the tree roots.



Any chance of a photo?

Who built the wall?

I would expect a wall to last a lot longer than 16 years, irrespective of adjoining green things.
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Re: Tree roots causing damage to my boundary wall.

Postby bal » Thu Apr 18, 2013 12:00 pm

Thanks for all the advice. I will check with my insurance policy later on today.
Will also try and take some photos at the same time and post on the forum.

Kindest Regards
Bal
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Re: Tree roots causing damage to my boundary wall.

Postby bal » Sun Apr 21, 2013 10:24 pm

Hi

Taken photos ...see attached.
Photos 1,2 and 3. Photo 4 in the next Posting.

It's a Maple tree not a Sycamore tree as I first mentioned.
I have checked my building insurance policy and it doesn't cover damage to the boundary wall, however I do have legal protection with the policy.
I am thinking of using this to pursue a claim against my neighbour, does any one have any experience of using insurance legal cover to claim damages?

Kindest Regards
Bal
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Re: Tree roots causing damage to my boundary wall.

Postby bal » Sun Apr 21, 2013 10:26 pm

Photo 4 attached.
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Re: Tree roots causing damage to my boundary wall.

Postby TO » Mon Apr 22, 2013 9:03 pm

Hi

arborlad wrote:I would expect a wall to last a lot longer than 16 years, irrespective of adjoining green things.
Well I guess the photos answer that.

When the wall is rebuilt consider bridging over the roots. Not difficult, no more expensive, or shouldn't be, and gives the roots room to grow without further damage to the wall and without damaging the tree, with the possibility of killing it.

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Re: Tree roots causing damage to my boundary wall.

Postby bal » Tue Apr 23, 2013 5:44 pm

Spoke to my insurance company today and as expected they don't cover damage to boundary walls. Since I have legal protection cover they put me in contact with their legal dept. According to the legal folks .... the first port of call should be the local authority since they have powers of enforcement? Because my neighbours trees are on private property would the local authority be actually able to do anything? like get my neighbour to keep the tree under control? and then pay for the wall?

I would like to hear from anyone who has had experience with the local authorities in such matters.

Kind Regards
Bal
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Re: Tree roots causing damage to my boundary wall.

Postby kipper » Tue Apr 23, 2013 11:49 pm

With the wall having piers on his side it would appear to be his wall or you had it rebuilt incorrectly with respect to the boundary.. Did you rebulid what was his wall (in effect gifting him a new wall)?

If it is his wall I think the only action you could take would be to put him on notice on safety grounds regarding the integrity of the wall. The council may help with this.
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