There are a number of things you can do if your neighbour’s tree is affecting you in this way; however, if possible you should always talk about a solution with your neighbour as a first step. I don't mind the tree but its roots have cracked the pavement and are causing serious damage to my garden wall. Performance & security by Cloudflare, Please complete the security check to access. Removing a tree. If the tree is on private land then the landowner is responsible. There are no statutory controls applying to deciduous trees, (while those applying to evergreen are limited to high hedges), and in the absence of direct, proven damage from a neighbour's tree there is little you can do to restrict its height or growth other than prune back overhanging branches to your boundary. Last year I had considerable damage to my property when two trees on a vacant and unattended lot next to the back of my property both had huge limbs fall onto my land, new fence and broke down part of a beautiful Ornamental Cherry tree. Answer: Encroachment of tree roots on to your land will likely be considered a nuisance and you may be entitled to claim the cost of the cure — for example, pruning the roots and repairing any damage they cause — from your neighbour. Tree roots may potentially cause damage to built structures in two ways: Direct damage - damage can be caused by tree branches moving in the wind. If your insurer advises you to remove a healthy, unobtrusive tree as a precaution and you refuse, you may be held responsible for the cost of any future damage. Council consent is not needed for pruning and removing bad trees. If you believe a tree has caused damage to your private property - such as to buildings, fences, driveways or vehicles - what you need to do depends on where the tree is located. A Council or Highways Agency may serve notice on the tree owner to require adequate clearance of hedges or trees encroaching onto pavements or roads. Is this right?Answer: A tree is the Trees can cause subsidence when their roots are in shrinkable clay. • Again, there is a process to go through to prove the cause of the damage, and the extent of that damage. The little pergola over the courtyard is also dangerous as it too is wood rotted. If the roots of a tree situated on a neighbour’s land have caused damage to your property, then the owner of the tree can be liable for the damage under the law of nuisance. Liability for damage caused by tree roots Where tree roots cause damage to a neighbouring property, the owner of the tree can be liable, under the law of nuisance, for such damage. If your action results in the tree damaging property or injuring someone, the property owner or the person hurt may claim damages from you. This is referred to in legal terms as a “nuisance”. The Court also granted a mandatory injunction requiring the Council to take steps to prevent the ongoing nuisance caused by the tree roots. In the Club’s situation referred to above, following representations made by our firm based on the decision made by the NSW Supreme Court in the Michos case, the local council agreed to reverse its original decision and removed the offending trees, thereby allowing the Club to proceed with the upgrading of its car park. If the roots are damaged, and the tree injured or killed then the person using toxic substances may be liable and prosecuted under the Criminal Damage Act 1991. If the tree is on Council land, such as a naturestrip, park or garden: Report an issue online. Fines for damaging a TPO protected tree are severe - up to £20,000 for destroying a tree even up to £2,500 just for causing damage such as cutting through roots. There must be some demonstrated act or omission of negligence by Council. Question: I've just bought an end-of-terrace house with a tree outside on the public path. Blocked drains and lifted paving may also be a problem. Please enable Cookies and reload the page. I had to pay landscapers to clean up all those trees including the section from my Cherry tree, and replace the three sections of my fence. Report subsidence to your building insurer. If roots from a neighbour’s tree cross property lines, the owner of the property being affected has the right to remove the roots. In a recent decision in the case of Michos v. Council of the City of Botany the NSW Supreme Court held that a council was liable in nuisance and in negligence for damage to private land caused by tree roots on council owned land. My question is: If I cut the roots and destabilise the tree, were it to fall down and damage other property, what would my liability for collateral damage be? In Dean v Ellsworth the applicants, Mr and Mrs Dean, wanted two Eucalypts on their neighbours’ property to be removed because the tree roots were damaging their driveway and could potentially damage the underground services buried beneath. This might happen if the tree is damaging roads, drains or other public amenities, or if it obstructs traffic or the view of road traffic. When you can trim hedges or trees You can trim branches or roots that cross into your property from a neighbour’s property or a public road. Case study - Tree Root Damage. For example, Rubber trees, Indian Coral trees, Umbrella trees, Cocos palms, Oleanders, Poplars, Bamboo and Camphor Laurel. To make a claim against your nuisance neighbour for tree root damage, it has to be proven that the damage was caused by the encroachment of tree roots and that the owner of the tree breached the ‘duty of care’ owed to the neighbouring land owner. Tree roots will follow drains to exploit any condensation on the outside of the pipes and it is possible that, as they grow they may dislodge pipe joints, enter the drain and block it. This article is intended to provide general information in summary form on a legal topic, current at the time of publication. But what if those trees are located on public land which is under the control of the local council and interfere with the use of a private owner’s land? You may need to download version 2.0 now from the Chrome Web Store. Introduced species are bad trees, if they can grow quickly and their roots cause damage to property. Another way to prevent getting this page in the future is to use Privacy Pass. A large maple tree is growing on his neighbour's property very close to the property line. Claims for damage resulting from tree roots are brought in nuisance rather than trespass, even though the tree roots will be encroaching on the neighbouring land. But in some cases, subsidence and structural damage can be linked to tree roots. Our firm recently acted for a Club faced with that issue when the local council refused to remove a number of trees on council property, the roots of which had caused damage to the Club’s car park and prevented the Club from upgrading the car park. A person can take action through the courts to obtain damages, or even an injunction, against the owner of the land on which the offending trees are located if the encroaching tree roots amounts to an unreasonable interference  with the use and enjoyment of that person’s land. The recent case of Khan & Harrow Council & Another (Ramsey J handed down his judgment on 3 September 2013), which concerned damage caused to a property by tree roots, considered when a person will be liable for damage caused by roots from trees on their land. There is no legal right to poison encroaching roots. • This particularly applies if the tree's existence pre-dates your property. You can only trim up to the property boundary. Your IP: The 'right' to do this was established in a test case known as Lemon versus Webbin 1894, in which it was hel… Roots or branches from Council trees can occasionally cause damage to fences, retaining walls, driveways and vehicles. Khan v Kane is fact specific, and liability in that case was established on the basis of Mr Justice Ramsey concluding that it was reasonably foreseeable to a prudent landowner that the tree-roots of a 10 meter high cypress hedge located half a meter from the Khan’s property presented a real risk of damage due to the “ general risk, the location, size and condition of those trees”, including that “ they … Common reasons include: Roots damaging sewer pipes Parts of a tree damaging the roof or building Overhanging branches Trees interfering with views or sunlight Leaves etc overflowing or blocking gutters Damage to driveways and fences from tree roots and […] Damages were awarded to the owners of the private land against the council. If your drains are blocked by roots you will need a drainage company to assist. If you live in a conservation area or the trees that surround your property are protected, you may need council permission to trim before taking any action. The tree root has totally damaged my front fence (wooden) and has lifted the undersoil (with roots) to where the fence now is totally out of whack and not only that, the fence is now riddled with wood rot. Several other statutory authorities also have this right. However, Council’s ownership of the tree does not create an automatic liability in the event of a tree causing damage. Understanding the factors involved in tree damage to buildings, including soil type and depth of foundations, will help both tree and house owners determine what action to take and when to get … If tree roots are damaging or blocking your stormwater/sewer pipes, cracking your front fence or path it is the responsibility of the property owner to maintain the infrastructure and services to their house. In urban and suburban areas trees can often be the subject of a problem between neighbours. Council land. Formal legal advice should be sought in specific circumstances. Tree roots can cause problems by blocking drains. The damage is obviously from the tree but the council says it's not its responsibility and I have to pay for repairs to my wall myself. However, if the damage caused a secondary issue like your pipe bursting and water enters your home suddenly, then you might be covered for the water damage . That's the question Trevor Johnson is facing in the backyard of his North York home. The problem of overhanging branches is probably the most common one on which advice is sought. Therefore, if drains are watertight, roots should not normally affect them. With a TPO neither you nor your neighbour will be allowed to damage the trees in any way without permission from your Council even if the roots are causing problems with your drive. Damages were awarded to the owners of the private land against the council. Council of the City of Botany the NSW Supreme Court held that a council was liable in nuisance and in negligence for damage to private land caused by tree roots on council owned land. Cloudflare Ray ID: 608ee90fce1adcb1 Completing the CAPTCHA proves you are a human and gives you temporary access to the web property. Tree Planting Checklist New trees should be planted in the dormant season between October and March to allow the roots to become established before spring. This can crack external and internal property walls. Local Councils publish a list of trees that are bad trees in their area. Most trees growing near buildings cause no damage. Should you trim past the property boundary, you may be liable to legal action against you for criminal damage. Tree damaging property If you think a tree is damaging your property, the first thing to do is contact your home insurance company for advice. Kerb stones have over the years prevented the roots from spreading leaving a root ball that covers only about 180 degrees i.e all growth on one side (spreading into my property and damaging my walls). What happens when your neighbour's tree and tree roots damage your property? They were also worried branches could damage their home. If you are at an office or shared network, you can ask the network administrator to run a scan across the network looking for misconfigured or infected devices. If your tree is creating problems near a road or public land, the council can issue a notice ordering you to remove or trim it. They do not usually cause the initial damage to the drain and will only enter drains which are already damaged and leaking. Sydney Level 3, 10 Barrack St, Sydney, NSW, 2000, Postal Address GPO Box 3380 SYDNEY NSW 2001 DX: 125 SYDNEY, Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation. The contents do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied on as such. If it is proven that the encroaching roots caused damage to a property, then an action may be brought against the owner of the tree. It is well established law that an owner of land can be liable for damage caused by trees located on that owner’s land when the roots of those trees encroach upon the land of neighbouring properties. If you are on a personal connection, like at home, you can run an anti-virus scan on your device to make sure it is not infected with malware. This is true, even if the tree or hedge is growing into your property boundaries. 2.16 Encroachment of branches or tree roots is the most common cause of tree-related impacts on neighbouring property that are reported in cases brought before a court. There shouldn't be any reason to cut down a healthy tree whose roots are causing no problems. No, only if the trees are growing on Council land. I was told … For more information concerning the law relating to nuisance contact Chris Sydes on The damage where the roots of the tree have been growing into would not be covered because roots do not grow overnight, this is gradual damage. Or contact Council. roots causing damage to your property branches blocking sunlight from solar panels or TV reception.
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