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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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Our property is the highest of four similar dwellings whose

Resolved Question:

Our property is the highest of four similar dwellings whose soil drains run across all four back gardens before discharging via the side garden of the 'lowest' of the four dwellings into the public sewer in the road. Because we were experiencing difficulties with blocked drains when we moved in, we had the entire drainage system replaced in 100 plastic drainage pipe the entire length of which is accessible via inspection chambers. This was done in conjunction with other building work. The original salt-glazed pipes crossing my neighbour's garden are blocked by the roots of a flourishing coniferous tree (about 3.0m high) planted directly over the path of the drain some 4.0m away from the boundary fence. Because the drains are 1.8m deep at the boundary, the builder installed a 45degree branch directly below the fence rising to a 100mm diameter rodding eye to afford immediate access to clear the frequent blockages occurring below the tree. I continue to withdraw roots from 7-8 90cm sections of rod (21-24 feet) away from the rodding point at the ground level. This clears the drains temporarily but the clearing exercise has to be repeated every 3-4 weeks as the root ingress re-establishes. The neighbours say that it's our problem as it's 'upstream' of their manhole and the tree roots don't affect the function of their drains. Please advise me of where we stand legally.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Alex Watts : Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help with this.
Alex Watts : So I am clear, who owns the tree?
Customer:

Hi Alex,

Customer:

Hi Alex

Alex Watts :

Hello

Customer:

The tree belongs to my neighbour and is some 4.0m on her side of the fence within her garden but is directly over the foul drain that passes from my land across her land to connect into the first of a series of inspection chamber in each of the adjoining properties..... If it helps, I can draw a sketch and send a pdf to you.

Alex Watts :

No that is all I need to know.

Alex Watts :

The neighbour is responsible for any damage caused who owns the tree

Alex Watts :

What you need to do is get a professional survey done and ask the neighbour to remedy the problem, ie by cutting down or pruning the tree.

Alex Watts :

Make sure they get a copy of the report if it says your neighbour is at fault.

Alex Watts :

You need to write and set out your position and request they remove the tree within 14 days or say you will go to Court within 14 days. You should make sure you send this recorded delivery and keep a copy.

Alex Watts :

If they do not then you can issue proceedings in the County Court. You can do this by completing form N1 http://hmctsformfinder.justice.gov.uk/courtfinder/forms/n001-eng.pdf and take it to your local County Court.

Alex Watts :

The Court will then issue a claim which a copy will be sent to the Defendant who will have a limited time to defend it, if not you can enter Judgment and enforce.

Alex Watts :

If the matter is defended the Judge will consider whether to make an order to make the neighbour cut down or remove the tree

Alex Watts :

If the Court makes an order and the neighbour refuses they would be in contempt of Court.

Alex Watts :

The Court could then warn, fine or send the neighbour to prison

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

Customer:

Hi Alex, (The first two disappeared because I used 'enter') You have made things perfectly clear for which you have my sincerest thanks. I shall invite a party-wall surveyor colleague to undertake a survey. I believe he has the camera equipment to prepare a record of the existing condition of the interior of the drain entering via the rodding shaft to which I previously referred. I shall then follow your guidance and hope that my colleague's bedside manner prevails./

Ash, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience: Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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