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Ask James Mather Your Own Question
James Mather
James Mather,
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 22629
Experience:  Senior Partner at Berkson Wallace
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Hello, A very old tree is growing over a residents garage.

Customer Question


A very old tree is growing over a resident's garage.

Sometimes branches, sticks and other debris from this tree fall onto the roof of the garage. This has already damaged the roof to the extent that a section of covering has been removed.

Please see the two photos here:

I understand that this resident has complained to the council but has been told that nothing can be done about the problem because this is a listed tree.
(I am unclear whether the tree is on privately owned or land rented from a housing association.)

A second resident has a very similar problem with an adjacent tree growing over his garage - this time from the railway embankment. He too, has complained but Network Rail have said that this tree poses no threat to the garage.

What rights do these residents have?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  James Mather replied 4 years ago.

The first thing to say is that normally
you can cut off overhanging branches without notice however if there is a tree
preservation order, you cannot do it without consent of the local authority.

Any damage caused by falling branches
or debris which can be attributed to negligent maintenance is the
responsibility of whoever owns the land that the trees are on which is
something that you are going to have to establish.

Whether the trees do indeed pose a
problem comes down to evidence.

If anything falls and damages the
property, then the disadvantaged person's claim is against whoever owns the
land that the tree is on and it is for the tree land owner to take issue with
the local authority. Just because the tree is listed does not absolve the land
owner of a claim for negligence. The only difference is that if the tree is
dangerous, they have to ask the Council for consent to remove it or to remove
the overhanging branches. That is the only difference.

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