Tree responsibility

Tree responsibility

Postby Yvee » Sun Jul 29, 2012 6:01 pm


My husband and myself moved into our ground floor flat six weeks ago. It is a Housing Association property and we moved by mutual exchange. The previous tenant was here for two years.

This is a house that was converted into two flats many years ago. I can't find out exactly when but certainly before 2005 as we have paperwork with reference to when the drive was put down.

There are two trees in the front garden and it would appear that we are responsible for both of them. One tree is on the front of our drive and the other is right next to our front window on a one metre privacy strip (as the upstairs flat has the front garden in front of our lounge window.)

The tree on our drive (or I should say three smaller trees intertwined into one) has a huge split down one of the main branches and is so tall that it is touching the telegraph wires. The other tree on the privacy strip is growing across the upstairs flat windows and has reached the roof and is going under the roof tiles.

We asked our Housing Officer a few weeks ago if the trees could be trimmed and sorted. We hadn't heard anything and on friday, my husband telephoned our HA and was told that we are responsible for the trees.

We have read through the tenancy agreement that we signed and below is the complete reference to trees, which I feel is quite ambiguous but I could well be looking for a positive element.


Gardens, driveways and paths

Not remove any tree without first getting permission in writing

Make sure that any tree or hedge that you are responsible for in the garden of the property or on the estate does not cause damage to any other property or cause a nuisance to any neighbours


This is not an excuse but we are pensioners who are unable to do any work ourselves (plus a complete awareness that we are unqualified to do so) as well as not being in a financial position to call in a tree surgeon.

Our previous home (a house) was with another Housing Association and we had trees in the garden but the HA came every five years to trim branches etc. We really never thought to check with the present HA for clarification as trees are such a specialised area.

Hopefully someone would be able to advise us on our situation and I would sincerely appreciate an honest evaluation because if we have to we need to start saving.

Kind regards


Ps: As part of our weekly rent we pay £1.89 a week for "Ground Work" but having checked the HA website it would appear that it is for grassed area, trees etc. around the estate.
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Re: Tree responsibility

Postby juliet » Sun Jul 29, 2012 7:23 pm

Most HA's carry out work on trees on their properties where it is causing damage. But they won't usually where it is for cosmetic or other reasons. Just because money is tight. If I were you I would put a complaint in. Say that it is unreasonable for them to expect you to deal with the trees and just see where that gets you.

Only issue maybe is that when you do a mutual exchange you step into the shoes of the previous and take on their responsbilities. If the HA deem that the previous tenant planted and/or let them get out of control, that responsibility passes to you (which isn't the case when you start a new tenancy). Did you have a conversation with the person that you exchanged with about the trees and why they were out of control?
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Re: Tree responsibility

Postby Yvee » Wed Aug 01, 2012 10:45 am

Thank you so much for your reply Juliet.

Yes, we did speak about the trees to the previous tenant but he told us that the front garden was the responsibility of the flat above us and I truly think that he believed that. We have ended up in a very unfortunate position through our own fault entirely, the previous tenant told us that these prorperties were for the over 45's (he is in his late forties).

We didn't check it out and only discovered the week after we moved in and our Housing Officer visited that they are for anyone over 18 and in fact they are mostly inhabited by young adults with drug and alchohol problems who have support workers to help with gardens etc. There are approximately ten of these properties (20 tenants) and of course we can see now that the gardens are not well looked after.

Luckily, my nephew knows a tree surgeon through his work and we are having the work on the trees done at friend's rate.

Unfortunately, this is not the end of our problems....we have bid through homechoiceplus for an over 55 flat and told our Housing Officer, she came to our flat yesterday and we have got to take the floor up in the bathroom because it is non standard. This was definitely not put down by the previous tenant as it has been down for at least ten years and he was only here for two.....but we signed to take responsibility for non standard items!

Sorry, this has ended up almost a novel :) I really appreciate your reply very much.

Kind regards

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Re: Tree responsibility

Postby hzatph » Wed Aug 01, 2012 3:22 pm

Yvee wrote:we have got to take the floor up in the bathroom because it is non standard.


How will they know that you have not done it - they did not know the previous tenants had not. If they press, forget the contract and tell them to do it.
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