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Your Tree falls into neighbours, whose responsibility to clear up?


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I'm struggling to find anything in law that says who should pay for the clear up of the fallen tree?

It's the neighbours insurance to pay for any property damage, got that, but nothing concrete on tree clear up.

Has anyone got any legal case or info that makes it clear?

Tia

 

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I remember some time ago trying to find an answer to this very question but drew a blank.

I guess there has never been a case brought to caught for the judge to rule on as the clear up aspect of the case would be relatively small (compared to day a compensation claim for flattening a car, damaging a house or injuring somebody).

It would surely be the neighbourly thing to do to pay for the clear up if your tree fell into neighbouring land, however as we know not all people are that considerate!

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1 hour ago, TreeAbility said:

 

I'm struggling to find anything in law that says who should pay for the clear up of the fallen tree?

It's the neighbours insurance to pay for any property damage, got that, but nothing concrete on tree clear up.

Has anyone got any legal case or info that makes it clear?

Tia

 

The law in action is far too slow for this sort of thing! If something falls in to a neighbour's property you, as tree owner, have no rights of access to your neighbour's land - you cannot demand to gain access if that access is purely to remove your tree from their land. You could clearly do the decent thing and ask for access and offer to pay for the clearance but that is not what you are asking. Can your neighbour insist on you taking action. They can clearly pay for a lawyer to send you a firm letter but they may only succeed in court (some time, possibly years later, unless they are seeking an injunction) if they can  prove you have been negligent. If a storm has blown over the tree and a tree surgeon acting in your garden removes all the evidence, they would have a hard time, unless of course evidence had been collected before and correspondence had ensued.

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The neighbour's insurer should (it depends upon the insurance contract) pay for all the features of one event: i.e. if a tree  has fallen and caused the insured damage (i.e. the shed, the car, the fence, the wall damage) they should pay for the removal of the part of the tree causing the damage and for the repair. If however the tree has merely damaged a fence and/or a wall which, by themselves, are not insured the insurer may refuse to pay for the tree removal. So what happens with the insurers will depend upon the specifics of the neighbour's insurance contract which you won't know unless they show you the details.

 

If the neighbour has no relevant insurance, you could call upon your CONTENTS insurance. This should contain a liability clause which may cover the tree owner for the costs arising from the neighbour. Things become less clear then as it depends upon events and what is told to insurers.

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Not sure if this helps as it's a rather specific situation, but we have an agreement in place in advance with our neighbour (Anglian Water) relating to a large, unstable willow (>3ft DBH, height around 80ft). It was already hung up in a row of sycamores our side of the boundary and Anglian Water acknowledge it is unstable and will probably fall at some point. When it does, it will land on our side of the boundary. We have specifically agreed that we do not need them to take any action in the meantime. It is a feature on the skyline and we like having it there. When it falls, it won't hit anything of note (it will land on an unused paddock) but in recognition that they have not had to deal with a very awkward dismantle with no vehicle access and nothing to rig off, Anglian Water are happy to sort out a clear up when it comes down (although in practice I may well cut it up and turn it into charcoal). This is a mutually beneficial arrangement which we have in writing.

 

Just a thought that such pre-emptive agreements can be useful in some circumstances.

 

Alec

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The tree is your property, and has fallen into a neighbours garden (If It has or has not caused any damage) it is your legal responsibility to resolve the matter.
Yes the neighbour can contact his, insurance company their loss adjusters will come out and and bring a claim on your house hold insurance policy to recover their losses. If your not covered for that, because you have failed to mention / declare that you have trees on your property. Your insurance company might not cover you under the policy you have. 
You will then be left fighting an insurance company with their own legal team pursuing you for the recovery of their losses and legal fees. this will mount up very quickly. If you can't settle, they will debt collect it or levy it against your property.
As for the time scale to deal with this in the courts. It will depend on the value of your claim and your solicitors. County Courts, possibly six months. For a big claim High Courts six months to a two years. The longer it goes on for the bigger the claim and liability you will face.
I am on a committee that manages some land and we have to have insurance cover, as there are trees on it there are stipulations in the fine print that states that the trees need to be managed and maintained for cover to remain active. This means basic documented tree inspections and relevant work / maintenance being undertaken under the due care and attention clauses.
If there is a tree failure in say a storm, we are liable for any damage it causes. That is why you have insurance.
 

Edited by Jamie Jones
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I cleared up a tree a few years ago for someone in my village, it had fallen out of the corner of his garden so across three neighbours and smashed in the wall and roof of the outbuildings in two of them. One of the first things his insurers asked for was a QTRA which he'd never heard of let alone had one done.

 

He worked at the BBC at the time so had a quiet word with their legal people, and the advice was just pay to clear the tree and for all the repairs. As Jamie says above, insurers would get lawyers arguing and legal costs totally swamp the thing, and if they finally decide it's not covered then you'll be paying that.

 

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I was under the impression the above was not the case.

 

i have been looking into this as i have trees on my ground, but most of the insurance sites state that it is not the tree owners insurance but the house holders if landed on.

They claim of their own and don't then claim of urs like u do for car insurance.

 

By rights the way i read it the neighbours insurance should pay for the work and then give u the timber back if u want it.

It did seem a funny situation to me

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2 hours ago, drinksloe said:

I was under the impression the above was not the case.

 

i have been looking into this as i have trees on my ground, but most of the insurance sites state that it is not the tree owners insurance but the house holders if landed on.

They claim of their own and don't then claim of urs like u do for car insurance.

 

By rights the way i read it the neighbours insurance should pay for the work and then give u the timber back if u want it.

It did seem a funny situation to me

That's what I thought as long as the tree owner has not been negligent e.g. the tree was sound before a strong wind blew it down. I have always considered the removal of bits of your tree trespassing onto a neighbour's land as a result being the tree owner's responsibility but not the damage, of course I am not a lawyer.

IMG-20220304-WA0000.thumb.jpg.54728d89795d5e6c7287620de61de977.jpg

This one I am dealing with roots lifted the fence panels belonging to next door, the top lodged in a birch in the garden meant the other fence was undamaged (thanks to a bit of lowering and the Eder winch) and I thought the repair to the fence after the root was ground out Would be down to the fence's owner but he is claiming £600 from my customer (3 bays of panels).

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16 minutes ago, openspaceman said:

removal of bits of your tree trespassing onto a neighbour's land as a result being the tree owner's responsibility but not the damage

I've heard this too, the insurance company don't want to pay for tree removal as they are only insuring against damage to the buildings. It then gets sticky if the tree needs removing in order to effect repairs.

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