Residential Property

My Neighbours Tree is Encroaching on my Land

If your neighbour’s tree is encroaching on you land you need to act quickly to avoid damage or further damage to your property.  As a landowner you have a right to compensation if a neighbour’s tree is causing harm or disturbing your enjoyment of your property.

What kind of damage can be caused by neighbour’s trees?

Damage from neighbour’s trees can occur in a multitude or ways including:

  • encroaching tree roots which can cause damage to the foundations of a building
  • overhanging branches that can pose a hazard
  • trees that are in danger of falling onto your property

What are the first steps I should take if my neighbour’s tree branches are hanging over my property?

The first thing you should do if your neighbour’s tree is causing damage is to approach them informally and ask them to deal with the situation.  For example, if branches from the tree are overhanging into your garden, you could request that your neighbour trims them back.

If he or she refuses you have a right to trim the branches back to the boundary line yourself, as long as the tree is not subject to a Tree Preservation Order.

How do I deal with a neighbour’s dangerous tree?

Local authorities can take certain actions on dangerous trees, even if they are on private property.  They can serve notice on the owner of the tree to take certain actions to make the tree safe.  If the land owner refuses, the local authority can take action themselves and recover their costs from the landowner.

Can I claim compensation for tree root damage?

If tree roots have caused damage to your property you may be able to claim compensation from your neighbour.  A claim relating to tree root damage can encompass:

  • recovering the cost of having the tree roots removed
  • compensation for any loss of value on the property
  • the cost of alternative accommodation if the owner of the property has to move out during repairs
  • the cost of repairing the property

How can the tree owner defend the claim?

The damage caused by the tree must be ‘reasonably foreseeable’ by the defendant for a claim to be successful.  If there was only ever a small possibility that the tree could have caused damaged then the defendant will not be found liable.  It does not matter who planted the tree, if the defendant bought the property which has a tree that is close to the boundary line, then the Court would normally find that the damage was foreseeable.

If your neighbour’s tree is encroaching on your land in some way and has caused damage you need to speak to a property law solicitor to establish whether or not you have a valid claim for compensation.

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