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Who Is Liable For Damage Caused By A Neighbours Tree

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  • 28-06-2023
Who Is Liable For Damage Caused By A Neighbours Tree

Who is liable for damage caused by a neighbours tree? This article looks at who is responsible for damage to fences and walls. Glenisla Tree Climbers provide professional tree removal in Dundee, Forfar, Angus, Aberdeenshire. Find out more about conflicts which involve trees on properties. 

Who is responsible for Damage caused by a falling tree

When a neighbour's tree falls on your property and causes damage, it is important to understand the implications regarding insurance coverage and responsibility. In the United Kingdom, if a tree from your neighbour's property causes damage to your home or other property, you cannot typically make a claim against their insurance. Home insurance policies generally only cover the property of the policy-holder.

In such cases, it is common practice to make a claim against your own insurance policy. However, it may be worth discussing the situation with your neighbour and exploring the possibility of asking them to contribute towards your policy excess. Negotiating a mutual agreement can help in sharing the financial burden.

If the fallen tree originates from publicly owned land, you have the option to contact the local council and request their assistance in removing the tree. In certain circumstances, if the damage resulted from the council's negligence, you may also be able to seek compensation from them. However, it is important to note that in most cases, making a claim against your own insurance remains the typical course of action.

Navigating the legal aspects surrounding damage caused by a falling tree can be complex, and it is advisable to seek legal advice if needed. Your insurance provider or a legal professional can provide specific guidance tailored to your situation.

When Do I Need Tree Removal?

Who is Liable if a Neighbour’s Tree Falls on My House in a Storm

In the UK, the owner of the land where a tree grows is responsible for it, regardless of who planted it. If a tree causes damage, the owner may be liable, especially if negligence can be proven. To address the situation, write to your neighbour expressing concern and request an arboriculturist to check the tree's health.

If necessary, seek a court injunction or involve the local authority if there's a danger to the public. In rental properties, maintenance responsibility may lie with the tenants as specified in the lease. When in doubt, contact both the landlord and tenant for clarification.

Who is Liable for Damage Caused by Tree Roots?

Determining liability for damage caused by tree roots is complex. When tree roots encroach upon a neighbouring property and cause damage, the owner of the tree can be held responsible under the law of nuisance.

Claims for such damage are typically brought under nuisance law. To succeed in a claim, a report from an arborist confirming the damage was caused by the specific tree's roots is usually necessary.

A surveyor's report may also be required to assess the extent of the damage, recommend remedial work, estimate costs, and determine property value depreciation. The owner of the land where the tree is located is usually liable for root-caused damage.

Who Is Liable For Damage Caused By A Neighbours Tree? Tree Removal Dundee, Forfar, Angus, Aberdeenshire

In some cases, the occupier of the land (e.g., a tenant) may also share liability if they can address the nuisance. Additionally, a person with control over the tree may be responsible, regardless of land ownership.

Both property owners and occupants affected by root damage can bring a claim for compensation. If the damage occurred before the current owner's tenure, they may be eligible to recover costs for necessary remedial work, considering the ongoing nature of the nuisance. Claims may include costs to abate the nuisance, loss of property value, expenses for remedial work, alternative accommodation during repairs, and fees for experts.

Establishing foreseeability is crucial in determining liability. The responsible party must have known or should have known about the potential damage. Liability arises when the responsible party fails to take reasonable action within a reasonable timeframe after notification by the claimant.

The origin of the tree, whether planted or self-sown, is irrelevant to liability. What matters is allowing the tree to encroach upon the neighbour's land, creating a nuisance. Seeking legal advice is essential to understand rights and responsibilities in root damage cases. Legal professionals provide guidance tailored to individual circumstances and help explore available legal remedies.

Who Is Responsible For Damage To Fences And Walls? Dundee, Forfar, Angus, Aberdeenshire

Who is Responsible for Damage to Fences and Walls?

Disputes over boundaries, particularly regarding fences and walls, can strain relationships between neighbours. It is crucial to approach such matters with care and prioritise maintaining a positive rapport. Determining responsibility for a fence or wall often involves reviewing the title deeds of your property.

These documents may explicitly outline who is responsible for maintaining the boundary structures. In cases where the title deeds are silent on this matter, a common presumption is that responsibility is shared between neighbouring property owners.

Shared responsibility means that both neighbours have an obligation to contribute to the upkeep, repair, and potential replacement of fences and walls. This also entails sharing the associated costs.

Approaching discussions about shared responsibilities in a cooperative and respectful manner is essential. Open communication and seeking a mutually agreeable solution for repairs or replacements can help prevent disputes and preserve neighbourly relations. 

If reaching an agreement becomes challenging, seeking legal advice or mediation services can provide guidance on the specific rights and responsibilities in your situation.

Mediation can facilitate constructive dialogue between neighbours and aid in finding a resolution that satisfies both parties. Reviewing your insurance policies is also important to determine if they cover damage to fences and walls. Home insurance policies may provide coverage for certain incidents, so understanding the terms and conditions of your policy is vital.

When addressing damage to fences and walls, maintaining open communication, understanding shared responsibilities, and seeking professional advice when needed are key steps towards finding a fair and amicable resolution with your neighbour.

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Can I cross the boundary to undertake work on trees?

When it comes to undertaking tree work, it is important to understand the legal boundaries and your rights as a property owner.

In general, the law in England and Wales states that you are allowed to cut branches or roots of a tree that are on your own side of the boundary line. However, if there is a genuine risk of property damage or personal injury, you may be permitted to carry out necessary work on the other side of the boundary.

In such cases, it is crucial to seek permission from your neighbour before crossing the boundary line and potentially causing a dispute over boundaries.

Seeking your neighbour's consent before accessing their land is not only a matter of legal responsibility but also helps maintain a positive relationship and avoids unnecessary conflicts.

Can I Cross The Boundary To Undertake Work On Trees?

Open communication and mutual agreement on the tree work can go a long way in preventing disputes and ensuring a harmonious neighbourhood. It is advisable to engage in constructive discussions with your neighbour regarding the concerns you have about the tree and the reasons for needing access to their property. Explaining the potential risks and providing evidence, such as reports from arborists or tree specialists, can help justify the need for work beyond your side of the boundary.

In some cases, it may be necessary to involve a professional mediator or seek legal advice to resolve any disagreements. They can provide guidance on the specific rights and responsibilities in your situation, helping to find a fair and mutually agreeable resolution.

Remember, obtaining permission and maintaining open lines of communication are key factors in navigating the boundaries when undertaking tree work. By respecting your neighbour's property rights and collaborating to address any concerns, you can ensure a peaceful and cooperative approach to tree maintenance and mitigate the risk of disputes arising. 


Are you looking for a professional tree surgeon in Aberdeenshire? We offer a full range of tree maintenance services for Dundee, Forfar, Angus and the surrounding areas. Call 01575 574 157 to find out more.