Neighbour’s fallen tree caused damage to the garden of my rental property.

by Lawrence Squid

12:40 PM, 14th May 2014
About 5 years ago

Neighbour’s fallen tree caused damage to the garden of my rental property.

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Neighbour’s fallen tree caused damage to the garden of my rental property.

A large neglected tree in a neighbour’s garden fell during high winds in February, damaging my garden. My fence was uprooted, along with a section of paving. This was due to the tree roots extending under the fence and paved area of my garden, they were ripped up as the tree fell, leaving a large hole. Lawrence Squid - Property118

I contacted the owner of the property. She informed me that she was insured & would sort out the damage.

Some work was carried out to cut the tree up, but this has now ceased. No activity for several weeks. I’m told that the man doing the work has hurt his back.

Three months have elapsed since the damage occurred.

The owner says that I should claim from my insurer and that they will then counter claim from hers.

I don’t want to involve my insurer, why should I?

I’ve given her 14 days to get the matter resolved. Failing this, I will get the damage to my property repaired and invoice her for the cost.

She now seems content to ignore the situation, which affects another garden in a similar way.

My tenants have lost the amenity of a garden, for which they are paying. So far, they have tolerated this.

Any advice would be gratefully received.

Thanks

Lawrence



Comments

Mark Alexander

12:44 PM, 14th May 2014
About 5 years ago

Small Claims Court.

Get two quotes to repair the damage and add 30% rent reduction to tenant during the period to the claim.

If they don't pay up and you get a CCJ, give it a month and if they still don't pay up pay the extra £72 to upgrade the claim to a High Court writ, then pass the debt to an HCEOA member to pursue, plus costs - see >>> http://www.hceoa.org.uk/contacts.html
.

John Daley

13:03 PM, 14th May 2014
About 5 years ago

Hi Lawrence,

The liability lies with the owner of the tree. The story so far sounds like your neighbour is not making a claim on their insurance.

I'm not sure why you would be reluctant to contact your insurance company. Surely that is why you pay the premiums, to have someone to take care of this for you. The claim should not affect your premiums as it is clearly the fault of a third party.

I can't see why you would go the expense, time and risk of court when insurance was created to sort this out.

Neil Patterson

13:08 PM, 14th May 2014
About 5 years ago

Hi Lawrence,

Can I ask how much the repairs will cost. That way we can maybe get a better perspective on our advice.

As John said I would definitely contact your insurer for advice on this being careful to make sure they understand you are not making a claim from them.

Neil Patterson

13:11 PM, 14th May 2014
About 5 years ago

I would also have a good chat with your neighbour if at all possible. I am sure it will make life much easier in the long run if you can avoid falling out and there may be an issue you are unaware of.

Jeremy Smith

13:15 PM, 14th May 2014
About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Neil Patterson" at "14/05/2014 - 13:08":

Well Neil, hopefully then it is not like car insurance, if you make a claim, even if it is not your fault, they still ask, "have you made a claim the the last X years? " then "upgrade" the premium accordingly !

What about the thread where a chap was trying to renew his private house insurance and they took his BTL claims into account to increase his premium, although there was no connection between the two ?

Personally, I would sort it out without the insurance company, and not "risk" hiked insurance premiums for the next 5 years .
I think Mark's suggestion is good, it doesn't cost much and will scare her into paying up I would think, or she gets a CCJ on her file.

Joe Bloggs

13:32 PM, 14th May 2014
About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "John Daley" at "14/05/2014 - 13:03":

QUOTE 'I’m not sure why you would be reluctant to contact your insurance company.'
ANSWER - because premiums across all BTL policies will rise.

i dont think the question of liability is at all clear cut. the tort of strict liability will not apply as this is a natural use of the land and anyway the tree fell due to act of god (storm) which provides a good defence. also the test of forseeability wll apply (unless the tree owner is a tree expert). i think your neighbour knows what she is doing.

Martyn Surridge

13:38 PM, 14th May 2014
About 5 years ago

Lawrence,

I would speak to your insurers ASAP. It sound to me that this was storm damage and unless you can prove negligence against your neighbours you will have to claim on your own policy. It is quite likely that your neighbours Insurance company will not be interested in dealing with any damage outside the property their policy covers.

If you speak to your own insurance company they will be able to inform you of your rights and what you will need to do. If you fail to inform them in a reasonable amount of time you may find that they will repudiate the claim anyway.

Neil Patterson

13:42 PM, 14th May 2014
About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Jeremy Smith" at "14/05/2014 - 13:15":

Hi Jeremy,

I am with you. I was definitely not suggesting Lawrence makes a claim only asks for their help in how he could deal with it.

Sometimes insurance companies can be quite helpful 🙂

Romain Garcin

13:46 PM, 14th May 2014
About 5 years ago

If the tree was dangerous and reasonably expected to cause damage, then the owner may well be liable as negligent.
Otherwise, this was an act of God with no-one liable.

If the owner of the tree contacted her insurance they probably told her that and thus that they will do nothing until you hit her with such claim of liability. At that point, and if she is covered for civil liability, they would probably assess whether you do have a claim based on the above.

In addition, fences are often excluded from the insurance cover so your insurance may not even pay for that if you claimed on it without any third party liable.

Lawrence Squid

9:36 AM, 15th May 2014
About 5 years ago

Thanks to everyone for such helpful comments.
I'm going to get quotes for repair work.
I'm now pretty sure that I'll just 'take it on the chin', and pay for the repair work myself.
I have enough hassle as it is.
Sometimes it's better to throw some cash at it, and get it resolved.
I have spoken with the neighbouring tenant, and the owner too.
I remain on good terms with both.
I agree Neil that this is essential, maintaining good relationships can only benefit all involved.
This is the first time I've asked for help & and advice, I don't feel so alone now.
There are so many 'landlord bashers' out there, I find it quite demoralising at times. So, how uplifting to have such helpful kindred spirits, thanks again.
Lawrence

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