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Ask James Mather Your Own Question
James Mather
James Mather,
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 22629
Experience:  Senior Partner at Berkson Wallace
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Tow years ago the Housing trust (newlon) which owns the house

Customer Question

Tow years ago the Housing trust (newlon) which owns the house at the back of my son's house, felled a huge tee in that garden which had been damaging the foundations of nearby properties. It had made the boundary wall avery unstable. The felling completely demoloshed my son's wall leaving a huige mess of rubble and bricks which they agreed to nake good. This was two years ago.
The garden is still full pof rubbish and my son's three small children are being endangered The garden is ruined. My daughter in law have asked repeatedly for this to be delat with and their person has dragged his feet and done nothing. Although Newlon at first agreed to pay to make the wall good, they are now asking my sone to pay half the cost. We feel this is outrageous and that they actually are liable for repairing the wall and also compensating the family for the loss of amenity.
This has gone on for two years and we now face another warm season without a garden. What can we do?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  James Mather replied 5 years ago.

How much will it all cost to put right?

Was the wall falling down before?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

The wall had been damaged by the tree roots and was in danger of falling down. This was one of the reasons the tree was felled. newlon have replied today after I wrote to the Chairman of the board.

They agree to arrange for the wall to be rebuilt, but they are asking my son to contribute 800 pounds to the cost, which he can't afford. They say this is because they want to restore it to a better quality than the previous wall. However, had their tree not ruined the wall in the first place, it would not need to be replaced.

legally, are they liable for the whole cost after first weakening the wall and then demolishing it completely. Also do they need to compensate my son for the loss of his garden for the last two years?


Expert:  James Mather replied 5 years ago.

What condition was the wall in before this incident and before the tree
roots started to damage it? It appears that it was fine.

If that is the case, they are liable for the whole cost of the wall.

The situation would be different if the wall (tree roots apart) was in poor
condition before the tree damaged it.

In the wall is built to a better state than it was before the roots (it
didn't need any attention) then they cannot claim any betterment.

If the wall had been falling down already and the tree roots and the tree
falling simply helped it on its way they would only be responsible for a small
proportion of the cost.

There is a claim for loss of amenity in the garden but it is not worth a
lot of money, probably a few hundred pounds.

However your son is also under a duty to mitigate his loss by dealing with
this himself and it is unlikely therefore that he could claim the loss of use
for two years. It has not helped his claim for loss of use, the fact that he
has been waiting for the other side to do it rather than taking a proactive
role in doing it himself and then suing them.

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