Overhanging Tree Problem

by Readers Question

10:03 AM, 2nd September 2013
About 5 years ago

Overhanging Tree Problem

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Overhanging Tree Problem

I have recently taken over management of the freehold and common areas and structure of a development of six flats. I am the sole director of the management company.Overhanging Tree Problem

Overhanging the land there are very substantial branches. If one broke, then it could seriously damage one of the flats. I am aware of the right to cut off branches and then the obligation to put them on the other owners side of the fence.

However, these are so large they will need employment of a specialist tree pruner, at substantial expense. I have given the adjoining owner the chance to cut the trees back. If he doesn’t what does anybody think I can do to make him liable for doing the work or paying for it?

A retaining wall is starting to crack near an encroaching tree. As I understand it, if damage is caused by his tree roots he will be liable. How has anyone else dealt with such a problem?

Thanks

Edwin Cowper



Comments

Neil Patterson

10:31 AM, 2nd September 2013
About 5 years ago

Hi Edwin,

Not being any kind of expert in this area I think my first port of call would be to ask the Council.

Have you tried them yet and what did they say?

Industry Observer

17:06 PM, 2nd September 2013
About 5 years ago

I suggest you quote the Occupiers Liability Act 1957 to the owner - as it is their llegal liability under that Act.

Wouldn't go near Council unless you are 110% certain there are no tree preservation orders involved

John Wagstaffe, Solicitor, Property Litigator

17:17 PM, 2nd September 2013
About 5 years ago

The first thing to check is that the tree is not the subject of a Tree Preservation Order; if it is then there are restrictions on what you can do - unless it is actually causing damage then you are unable
to cut it.

Your basic right is to abate the nuisance by cutting the branches off at the boundary. You should offer them back to your neighbour (as they are their property) but you should not just dump them over the fence on their property - that is fly-tipping under environmental legislation.

If abating the nuisance will be a costly exercise for you then you can apply to the court for an injunction forcing your neighbour to cut the branches, and for damages in respect of any damage caused by the trees to your property. An alternative to the injunction is to arrange to cut the branches yourself  and then make a claim against your neighbour for the cost.

I suspect the council will not be interested, but if the branches are an imminent threat to health and safety then you might find a sympathetic ear.


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