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Trees add structure and drama to a garden but their size and potential to cause nuisance or damage means they can sometimes be a worry. If you fail to do so, your action will amount to theft. We work together as a team to give clients more than they expect. The local authority had been put on notice of the potential damage as a neighbour made a claim in 1996 and the authority had carried out tree reduction works in 1998. Because tree roots carry on growing they can cause a " continuing Nuisance ". Click here for a full list of third-party plugins used on this site. Cases of this type are not governed by any special set of principles. This fast-growing tree has a root system that will tear up your yard in no time. I am disabled, on benefit, female and 64 years old. As they had failed to do so, they were liable. It is probably for this reason that many disputes arise in the first place. However, in analysing the facts, the Judge found a reasonably prudent landowner would have been aware of the real risk of damage to neighbouring property by the cypress hedge. Tree branches and roots growing over the boundary are not trespassing in the legal sense. You can ask the court to order the owner to prune or remove the tree. In Berent v Family Mosaic Housing [2012] EWCA Civ 961, [2012] BLR 488 the Court of Appeal affirmed that disputes relating to damage to property alleged to have been caused by tree roots were to be decided by the application of the general law of negligence and nuisance. In the case of Robbins v Bexley LBC [2013] a landowner’s buildings suffered damage in 2003 and 2006 due to tree roots from the adjoining local authority park. It is generally best to discuss your concerns with the tree owner beforehand, but under established ‘common law’, you should be able to prune branches and roots that grow over your boundary, with or without the owner’s consent. D denied liability. Ben Jones is a partner in our property disputes team. If your neighbours have trees close to your buildings you should also consider carrying out a risk assessment and putting your neighbour on (written) notice of your concerns. A Perennial Problem: Tree Root Nuisance Print publication. For instance, if the tree that is alleged to have caused the damage is several hundred metres away, it would be unreasonable for the claimant to seek damages for the cost of underpinning where repair for the damage, insertion of a root barrier and regular pruning would be sufficient. It should be noted that the nuisance “continues” from the previous owner of the property on which the tree is situated, to an incoming owner, provided that the above two-fold test is satisfied. The Theft Act 1968 makes it a criminal offence to take wild flowers, fruit and foliage from any plant if it is sold for commercial gain. You are therefore, technically exercising the self-help remedy of ‘abating a nuisance’ by cutting the offending branches off. You can cut them yourself but you must try to limit the amount of damage to the tree, which can be difficult to do. Helen Porter here reviews two recent cases between neighbours regarding tree roots extending into properties, the importance of foreseeable risk, and gives guidance to commercial property owners on avoiding these risks. 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. It should Most cities have ordinances prohibiting property owners from keeping dangerous conditions on their property. Clearly I do not have the ability or the money to deal with this. You must tell your neighbour in advance if a tree … 5 They are legally a nuisance . 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. Similarly, if the roots are causing serious problems and subsidence, the court may order the tree to be removed or treated accordingly. Don’t grab the axe just yet. it should be possible to identity the relevant trees as posing a greater risk than others) rather than merely a vague possibility. Tree roots and claims in nuisance. they were unaware of the risks that their trees posed and they could not have foreseen that their trees would cause subsidence damage to a neighbouring property. Removing or resetting your browser cookies will reset these preferences. However, whilst there is no obligation to prune trees, if branches or roots encroach on to neighbouring land, the Courts have regarded them as causing a nuisance, in the legal sense, even if no damage is caused. By Stephens Scown, The rules on who can legally work in the UK after Brexit are definitely changing…. You can learn more detailed information in our Privacy Policy. Damage caused to property by tree roots is a problem often encountered by land owners, occupiers and developers. The legal theory is that the dangerous tree is a "nuisance" because it is unreasonable for the owner to keep it and it interferes with your use and enjoyment of your property. These cookies enable core website functionality, and can only be disabled by changing your browser preferences. By pressing send and providing your details you are agreeing to our Privacy Notice. The duty of care arising from nuisance in the context of tree roots, does not arise unless and until the tree owner has (or ought to have had) knowledge of the existence of the problem and the danger it poses. This includes the branches and the fruit of any tree or shrub. If damage has occurred, the usual course of action would be to notify the tree owner in order to enable them to take remedial action. Identity the relevant trees as posing a greater risk than others ) than! From a tree comes onto a neighbour 's land, a nuisance this fast-growing tree has root. Grasp the rights and responsibilities of tree root damage you can learn more detailed information in our Privacy.. The Accept all button means you are agreeing to our clients have additional evidence for the was... Help from a tree surgeon if the roots themselves encroach across the boundary can not be held responsible for changes. 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