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Neighbors insurance insist I remove 150 y.o. Oak


Mr. D
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I’ve recently bought a house in Northwest London, with several tall trees on property. One of them is a 20m+ oak.

One of the things we have inherited from the seller is a long standing dispute with the neighbor, whose insurance company insists that this oak is the cause of subsidence under their garage. 
in our purchase agreement, the seller provided us with funds to meet the demands of the insurance company. We convinced the insurance company to let us pollard the entire tree, rather than cut it to stump which is what they had originally demanded. 
now that we have finished the Pollard in, they insist that actually the tree needs to be reduced by half, that we remove the entire crown and cut it to the halfway point. 
As there is no proof that this tree causes sub, only their insistence of the risk of possibility, we are loathe to destroy such a majestic old tree. 
now I have received a notice saying that if I don’t respond to them with a commitment to act within the next seven days they will take legal action against us. 

unfortunately the tree is not listed or protected by our council. 
Any advice on how I can save my tree?

 

Edited by Mr. D
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7 hours ago, neiln said:

because I've been the homeowner with subsidence caused by  neighbours large oak in south london, and the *&*^&%& wouldn't take his tree down for years and years and years despite arborist reports, engineers reports, testpits, bore hole soil samples with roots from his tree and showing desiccation at depth, years of crack monitoring, years of level monitoring.  So i know a 20+m oak in london on its shrinkable clay, will cause trouble for any and ALL nearby structures.  the neighbours garage, the neighbours house, other neighbours houses and the OPs house too.  I know the stress caused by a belligerent tree owner.  sorry OP, not you, if you listen!  I like trees, honest, but unfortunately a20m+ oak is too big for pretty much all suburban gardens.  its inappropriate.  that size tree does not fit there.  the roots are tresspasing and causing damage.  if the OP doesn't remove the tree, eventually the neighbour or his insurer will take him to court for the damage caused.  When i did this, my neighbour removed the tree finally.

 

So my best advice for the good of everyone, OP, remove the tree but ask the neighbours insurers to pay for it to be done. they will i suspect.

iI would have thought the buildings were " trespassing " onto the roots of the tree if the tree was there first ...

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1 hour ago, Retired Climber said:

I'm saying the tree could be trespassing, the building can't. Well, technically a building can trespass, but not in this case. 

The point I was making was if the tree was there first then its inconsiderate or lack of planning . \Its the old " move to the country then complain about the rooster calling  " syndrome .

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Just now, Stubby said:

The point I was making was if the tree was there first then its inconsiderate or lack of planning . \Its the old " move to the country then complain about the rooster calling  " syndrome .

I agree. However, trespass (when used in this scenario) has a specific meaning in law. As we are discussing a legal dispute, I'm using the term in its legal sense. 

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Just now, Retired Climber said:

I agree. However, trespass (when used in this scenario) has a specific meaning in law. As we are discussing a legal dispute, I'm using the term in its legal sense. 

Strike from the record M'lud Sorry .

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Let's assume the house is a between the wars suburban build, so ~100.  The garage probably younger but let's say 40.  Both less then the acorn that led to this great oak, yes. But both were built many years before the sensibly sized for a suburban garden, tree, extended its roots to trespass into the neighbours property and desicate the soil near the foundations causing the subsidence.  So no, the building came first.  Ok I'd possibly argue different if the house were built in a forest where you could expect a tree to grow large, but I'd say it is unreasonable to allow a tree to grow so large in a small suburban garden setting and hence I don't think it's like moving to the country and complaining of the smell.

 

No you won't get heave.  Not if my assumptions are correct.  If wrong and the garage is so recent that it were built on soil already desicated, then removing the tree woild lead to the soil recovering to a moisture and swollen state higher than the intended place for the foundations... And heave.  But in my scenario, no, the soil can only recover to where the building wants it to be.  In short, heave only possible for structures built on predicated soil.

 

Take  the tree down. 

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