Neighbourly dispute

Neighbourly dispute

Postby uklyptus » Thu Jul 17, 2014 3:46 pm

A tree, of which the roots are on my side of the garden fence separating my property from my neighbours whilst the bulk of the trunk overhung my neighbours garden, collapsed into my neighbours garden. Damage was minimal, confined to breaking some netting and support posts on his children's trampoline. I undertook responsibility for the removal of the tree using a 'tree surgeon' recommended by my neighbour. He gave me the most competitive quote of the three I contacted.
In the course of the morning the 'surgeon' told me that on an earlier visit to my neighbour on an unrelated matter, he advised that the tree in question was 'close' to collapsing - a fact never passed on to me by my neighbour.
I paid the 'surgeon' the £125 for clearance of the tree and now my neighbour is asking for a similar amount to be paid for the repairs to the trampoline. My insurance company, not surprisingly, are not interested in either payment.
I read somewhere else that if a tree has roots in one garden and the bulk of the trunk in another both parties can reasonably be considered to be jointly responsible. This, added to the fact that the information re possible collapse was not passed on to me and neither did my neighbour take any action upon it, leave me feeling that I have done enough and paid out enough of my own money in reparation.
My next intended step is to inform my neighbour of this and the reasons why and suggest he contacts his own insurance company for payment of damage repairs to the trampoline.
Would that be unreasonable?
Any thoughts and advice would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks.
uklyptus
 
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Re: Neighbourly dispute

Postby jonahinoz » Fri Jul 18, 2014 7:06 am

Hi,

Let the insurer's fight it out between themselves. :D His insurers will probably pass it back to you, which you will pass to your insurers, which your insurers will have difficulty in ignoring. I'm guessing.

There might be something in either/both policies requiring the claimant to pay the first £100 (?). You could argue that you have already paid £125.

Could it be argued that your neighbout was negligent in not telling you what he knew? "I'll keep quiet, wait till the tree falls over, then make a claim!" Have you been negligent in not employing an expert to tell you that your tree was dangerous? Dunno! But there's a sappling. Quick, chop it down, before .....

John W
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Re: Neighbourly dispute

Postby MacadamB53 » Fri Jul 18, 2014 8:00 am

Hi uklyptus,

I read somewhere else that if a tree has roots in one garden and the bulk of the trunk in another both parties can reasonably be considered to be jointly responsible.

where did you read this?

Kind regards, Mac
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Re: Neighbourly dispute

Postby uklyptus » Fri Jul 18, 2014 12:18 pm

MacadamB53 -

Actually the quote is:

"The general rule is that a tree belongs to the person whose land it originally grew on. When trees overlap a boundary, ownership usually falls with the person who has the greatest proportion of the tree’s trunk within their boundary."

Having re-read it I think I may have interpreted this slightly differently. The article can be found with the link below and the quote I have taken comes from the very end of the article on the blog page of the internet site for treesurgeryshenfield (apparently I am not authorized to post url links) blog page entitled :

"my-neighbours-tree-has-blown-down-in-my-garden-who-is-responsible-for-its-removal"

The article also states: " A tree owner can be held personally responsible if they’ve ignored advice regarding a potentially dangerous tree and which subsequently causes damage to people or property."
Hence my annoyance that my neighbour failed to pass on the information.
uklyptus
 
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Re: Neighbourly dispute

Postby MacadamB53 » Fri Jul 18, 2014 12:26 pm

Hi uklyptus,

Having re-read it I think I may have interpreted this slightly differently.

I think so too ;)

Kind regards, Mac
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Re: Neighbourly dispute

Postby ukmicky » Fri Jul 18, 2014 11:15 pm

You are only legally responsible for any damage if you knew or should have known the tree was in danger of falling.
Advice given is not legally qualified and you are advised to gain a professional opinion
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Re: Neighbourly dispute

Postby MacadamB53 » Fri Jul 18, 2014 11:26 pm

ukmicky wrote:You are only legally responsible for any damage if you knew or should have known the tree was in danger of falling.

Hi ukmicky,

given the description of the tree given by the OP, would you not say he's not responsible at all?
("the bulk of the trunk overhung my neighbours garden")

Kind regards, Mac
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Re: Neighbourly dispute

Postby jonahinoz » Sat Jul 19, 2014 6:43 am

or should have known the tree was in danger of falling.

Hi,

How has Case Law defined "should have known"

"Its your tree, you should have known!"

or

"It never crossed my mind! Why should it?"

Is a tree owner expectedto call in a tree expert every year?

John W
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Re: Neighbourly dispute

Postby MacadamB53 » Sat Jul 19, 2014 8:35 am

Hi John W,

hopefully someone like Treeman will be along to answer.

my take though is trees don't generally tend to fall over but when they do it might be caused by something a layman ought to notice and act upon - outward signs it is diseased or dying, severe damage compromising it's structural integrity, stuff like that. I think the courts would expect a tree owner to demonstrate they acted as a responsible owner would - giving it a visual inspection on a regular (but not necessarily frequent) basis. I also think where the owner has multiple trees or more is expected of them due to legislation (eg a local authority) then the courts would look at it differently.

if a tree fails due to some unseen force then what could you have done...

just my amateur take on it

Happy packing and kind regards, Mac
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Re: Neighbourly dispute

Postby ukmicky » Sat Jul 19, 2014 6:09 pm

MacadamB53 wrote:
ukmicky wrote:You are only legally responsible for any damage if you knew or should have known the tree was in danger of falling.

Hi ukmicky,

given the description of the tree given by the OP, would you not say he's not responsible at all?
("the bulk of the trunk overhung my neighbours garden")

Kind regards, Mac


Its rooted in his garden , so its his tree.
Advice given is not legally qualified and you are advised to gain a professional opinion
ukmicky
 
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Re: Neighbourly dispute

Postby ukmicky » Sat Jul 19, 2014 6:18 pm

jonahinoz wrote:or should have known the tree was in danger of falling.

Hi,

How has Case Law defined "should have known"

"Its your tree, you should have known!"

or

"It never crossed my mind! Why should it?"

Is a tree owner expectedto call in a tree expert every year?

John W


It depends, apart from being told about a problem and failing to investigate.

A normal house holder is only expected to take the occasional look as you walk by. You are not expected to have it looked at by a qualified person unless there were good reasons to suspect there was something wrong.
Advice given is not legally qualified and you are advised to gain a professional opinion
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Re: Neighbourly dispute

Postby uklyptus » Sun Jul 20, 2014 7:49 pm

Thanks for all your posts - still not sure of rights and wrongs but will talk to neighbour and attempt a sensible compromise.
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