So is it simply a legal dispute over who owns the tree because no one wants responsibility for it?
Is there any kind of protection order on it?
What is the problem with the tree?
Regarding the boundaries, are there any T marks on the land registry plan and is the neighbour saying the your daughter and son-in-law must maintain the fences?
Is the property freehold or leasehold?
There is no legal doctrine where the property on one side belongs to one property and on the other side belongs to another property and even if there are T marks on the deeds which shows ownership of the boundary, that was only ownership at the time the deed was produced, it could have been changed later on with subsequent owners and it may come down to who ever erected the fence at a later date in time.
If there is no evidence of any of that, then the boundaries are jointly owned and are jointly responsible. Even if your daughter is responsible for the boundaries, she is under no duty to maintain them, she can let them fall down, provided they don’t cause damage or injury.
At the moment, there is a dispute over the boundary because unusually, no one wants to take responsibility for this piece of land which is perhaps understandable, because of the liability of the tree.
So you have a boundary dispute which is kind of in reverse.
If your daughter maintains that the tree is not hers and the neighbour maintains that the tree is not his, then the only way of resolving the issue would be to make an application to court to have the matter determined by a judge. The outcome of the court hearing would be dependent on what evidence each side puts forward as to where the boundary was meant to be.
If this went to a full blown land tribunal dispute, the loser could easily be facing legal costs up to £10,000 and potentially more.
For that reason, if the tree is to be removed, it might be an idea to come to an agreement to divide the costs equally between them because at least then, whatever the cost of removing the tree is, it is without risk. There is never a guaranteed outcome when something gets to court regardless of how favourable a report either party may have.
If the neighbour however simply refuses to budge and maintain that it is your daughter’s responsibility, she either has to bite the bullet and maintain it if she is concerned about it, ignore it and let the neighbour worry about it or take legal proceedings to determine ownership.
The neighbour of course is in exactly the same position. Sometimes, there is no definitive answer otherwise matters would never end up in court. They have to be decided by a judge.
Can I clarify anything for you?
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