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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 10915
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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Hello, I have a tree at the bottom of my garden. This tree

Customer Question

Hello,

I have a tree at the bottom of my garden. This tree is close to a neighbouring property and some of the branches overhang the building on their property. In a storm a branch broke off and caused damage to the roof of their property. Some tiles and a fascia board were knocked off. The owner of the property is now trying to claim that I am responsible for paying for the repair work and for cutting back the branches of the tree.

Am I liable for paying for this damage? A tree surgeon visited my tree a few weeks before the storm and stated it was our neighbours obligation to cut back the branches.

Many thanks, XXXXX
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Ash replied 3 years ago.

Alex Watts :

Hello my name is Alex and I will help you with this. Please note that I am a working Solicitor and may be on and offline as I have to attend Court and meet with clients, even at weekends. As such you may not get an instant response when you reply as this is not an ‘on demand’ live service, but rest assured I will be giving your question my immediate attention upon return. There is no need to wait here, you will get an email when I reply.

Alex Watts :

Its bad news Ian. If the damage was caused by your tree it makes no difference whether the branches were overhanging or not.

Alex Watts :

In law if branches are overhanging then the neighbour can cut the overhanging ones back and must offer you back the cuttings. It is strange I know but that is what the law states.

Alex Watts :

However because the damage was caused by your tree you are, in law responsible for that damage. It is the same if you had parked your car and forgot to put the handbrake on and it rolled away - even though you were not there you would be responsible.

Alex Watts :

So sadly you are indeed responsible for any damage.

Alex Watts :

The neighbour is under no obligation whatsoever to cut the overhanging branches back, but is entitled to do so.

Alex Watts :

I realise that this is not the answer you want and it is certainly not the one I want to give you, but I have a duty to be honest.

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

JACUSTOMER-8cg6n81y- :

Hello Alex,

Alex Watts : Hello. I am just on the train so a reply may be delayed.
JACUSTOMER-8cg6n81y- :

Apologies, the tree surveyor just phoned. Thats fine. Thank you very much for your reply. As the branch was broken off in a storm, (and this is acknowledged in correspondence from the neighbouring property) does this absolve me of liability for damage sustained to the roof? If I am still liable, I will accept that, and pay for their damages.

JACUSTOMER-8cg6n81y- :

As the tree surgeon reviewed the tree a few weeks prior to the storm, and did not state that I am responsible for cutting back the branches on the neighbour side/would be liable for any damage sustained as a consequence of their growth/breakage in a storm, has the surgeon been negligent/have any liability in this case? I asked him round specifically to get a quote done to cut back the branches but he stated it was not my responsibility, and instead charged me £550 for cutting back some ivy at its base/pruning a smaller tree in the garden.

Alex Watts : No you are liable I am sorry to say.
Alex Watts : You are responsible for the tree and its branches as it is coming from your side.
Alex Watts : The tree surgeon may have been negligent and you may have a claim.

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