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tdlawyer
tdlawyer, Lawyer
Category: Property Law
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Experience:  Lawyer with 9 years experience of advising on property issues.
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A neighbours tree topples across my garden, damaging part

Customer Question

A neighbour's tree topples across my garden, damaging part of my fence. What redress
do I have.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  tdlawyer replied 2 years ago.

tdlawyer :

Hello, welcome to the website. My name is Tony, I can assist you with this.

tdlawyer :

Did it fall as a consequence of freak strong winds in the storms we're experiencing?

JACUSTOMER-rm9a80eb- :

Yes, it was yesterday's storm. The tree is a very large conifer which I estimate to be about 50ft tall/flat.

tdlawyer :

Okay and do you know whether it was unstable prior to the storm?

JACUSTOMER-rm9a80eb- :

Not to my knowledge although I have continued to monitor it's condition over the years - fully expecting trouble eventually because of

JACUSTOMER-rm9a80eb- :

it's size.

tdlawyer :

Okay. Well I'm no expert on how stable (or not) these types of trees are at any given height, but the general rule is that when damage is caused due to an "act of god", i.e. a natural disaster or something out of the unexpected over which nobody has control, then there is no liability. However, it might be possible to make a case on the basis that the tree was dangerous to start with and that it fell and caused damage was no surprise and was reasonably foreseeable as likely to happen.

JACUSTOMER-rm9a80eb- :

Are you saying that it becomes my responsibility to clear up the mess no matter the cost. Does the tree owner bear no responsibility for the condition of his trees ( by the way there

tdlawyer :

Unfortunately, yes, this why this type of thing is usually insured against on home insurance policies.

JACUSTOMER-rm9a80eb- :

are two more conifers of equal size one of which was caused to move out of perpendicular in the storm of 2007.

tdlawyer :

He would bear liability if there was something he had done wrong, i.e. kept an unsafe tree.

tdlawyer :

If it was safe but there was a massive storm nobody could foresee, or a tornado (to be extreme) then the owner of the tree is not liable, because its an "Act of God".

JACUSTOMER-rm9a80eb- :

I did write a letter to him in 2007 pointing out that a similar storm might cause the tree to topple( this is not the tree from yesterday's storm but the tree from 2007)

tdlawyer :

Okay, then this is something that you could use to construct an argument that he is liable for maintaining a dangerous tree that was likely to fall and cause you damage.

JACUSTOMER-rm9a80eb- :

Finally, can I insist that the tree when it is cut up it is returned to his garden.

tdlawyer :

Techanically, it is his property, and so you could ask that he take it back. If he refuses, and you remove it (to get the job done) you can issue proceedings in the small claims court to attempt to recover the cost of doing that. However, all that said, my first suggestion would be to try and get your insurance to sort this for you.

JACUSTOMER-rm9a80eb- :

Thank you for your advice.

tdlawyer :

You're welcome. Is there anything else I can assist with?

JACUSTOMER-rm9a80eb- :

You seem to have answered my question - though I must admit to being disappointed with the outcome. Good night!

tdlawyer :

Sorry about that, I would rather be honest with you and I expect you would rather have an honest answer.

tdlawyer :

Thanks for your time and your question. Please do remember to rate the service for me. Thank you.

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