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TPOandHeave

TPO trees and ground heave?

Question

I’ve got 2 questions, hopefully you guys can help me. The first is a legal question regarding TPOs and liability and the second is about ground heave risks.

 

1. I’m buying a property in South East England in a rural village that’s a conservation area. It’s an end terrace built in the mid 90s, and my conveyancer found a TPO on 2 horse chestnut trees in the back garden. Here’s the snag, the trees are gone, only stumps remain.


I found planning permission for 2 crown lifts in the early 2000s, one for 3 meters and one for 6. I also found and old estate agent advert for the house from 2014, when the current owners would have bought it, and the trees are gone. 
 

But on Google Streetview the trees are still there, and the date is marked 2009.

so sometime between 2009 and 2014 the trees have been illegally cut down, and there’s no hiding it as the property is on a hill visible from the road, and they were the only trees.

 

I don’t think I’ll be liable for the removal of the trees, but I may be liable to replace them. So my question is, without grassing on the current owner, should I consider indemnity insurance (if applicable), I don’t mind replanting saplings but if the council want the old stumps removed and new trees of a certain size planted I’d rather not have to pay for that, and instead come to an agreement with the current owner or something.

 

2. These trees were massive, taller than the 2 storey house. I’m rubbish with guessing measurements but the stumps looked about 3-4ft wide. One of them was very close to the house, touching the patio area, the other was a bit further down the garden. The garden itself is a bit odd, a large patio area followed by a a turfed area that’s mostly steep hill, the house itself is on the hill, but the parking area and the rest of the garden are at the bottom of the hill, about 7ft below. The trees were at the top of the hill.

 

My survey didn’t find any evidence of subsidence or ground heave, but that’s not to say it won’t happen in the future. 
 

So I’m wondering how to proceed, we first made our offer in August, it’s now December and exchange is looming, so I’d really rather not pull out at this stage unless I had to.

 

Could this be solved by a bit of indemnity insurance? Or do you think I should pay for a tree survey? But even then I don’t think the survey could predict future problems, only state they were possible which leaves me where I started.

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2 hours ago, benedmonds said:

I wouldn't worry about it. 

As in no risk of heave or no risk of trouble with LPA? Hopefully both!

 

sorry, I’m a first time buyer so a bit over zealous and nervous!

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4 minutes ago, TPOandHeave said:

As in no risk of heave or no risk of trouble with LPA? Hopefully both!

 

sorry, I’m a first time buyer so a bit over zealous and nervous!

I agree with @benedmonds  and @Khriss as long as you have kept pictures and evidence as you have documented above.

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20 minutes ago, TPOandHeave said:

As in no risk of heave or no risk of trouble with LPA? Hopefully both!

 

sorry, I’m a first time buyer so a bit over zealous and nervous!

You have documented evidence, they  aint gonna chase you. For yr conscience, plant two or three suitable trees in their  stead. Native broadleaf such as Oak or Beech ( yr on a hill so Beech should thrive) k

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Indemnity insurance is crazy cheap. We took a policy as our listed cottage had a couple of things done that didn't have consent (timber door replaced with mock timber UPVC, that kind of thing). Was about £250.

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The indemnity insurance is something your solicitor should be able to discuss with you. A quick google shows loads of similar questions about missing TPO trees. Personally it's not something I'd raise with the council at all.

 

With regards to heave, if you're feeling bored there's plenty of threads on here such as this one: https://arbtalk.co.uk/forums/topic/121421-the-inevitable-tree-too-close-to-house-on-clay-soil-question/

 

As has been said, take copies of the evidence of the missing tree.

 

Edited by Paul in the woods
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On 03/12/2020 at 03:00, TPOandHeave said:

Could this be solved by a bit of indemnity insurance?

As above, indemnity is cheap as chips.  We had one for a conservatory that was built way before we bought the house but never validated to building regs / planning consent.  It was indemnified (and has been replaced since.)

 

As for the "don't worry about it" angle.  Whilst there is some 'real world' improbability of a later hassle.  Why would you take the chance?  The replant liability remains with the owner of the land so you could end up with a hassle later.

 

Phone / write / contact LPA and get a response in writing.  95% chance they won't be interested.  

 

5% chance the biggest single purchase of your life could have a 5% pre-known potential hassle factor with it.  Is it it worth the chance or better to sort first? 

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