Viewing 13 posts - 1 through 13 (of 13 total)
  • Tree overhangs… Legal situation.
  • Premier Icon outofbreath
    Free Member

    I’m curious about the law regarding overhanging tree branches. Google suggests that the ‘owner’ of the tree has no repsonsibility to trim the overhang of the tree onto a neighbours land but he *is* responsible if the tree does damage.

    Google also suggests the neighbour is free to cut the tree as much as he wishes on his land but he has to chuck the bits back over.

    So if a tree is overhanging your property you are legally free to let it grow onto your land without taking any action, but if it whacks your property and knocks a tile off that’s the tree owning neighbours responsibility. Yeah?

    Anyone satisfy my curiosity by quoting chapter and verse?

    Premier Icon perchypanther
    Free Member

    What you need is an Alligator. It’s my new favourite tool.

    Premier Icon petec
    Free Member

    he has to chuck the bits back over.

    not this. He has to offer you the bits. If he just chucks them over, it’s dumping.

    Premier Icon noone
    Full Member

    There is unlikely to be chapter and verse in the sense that I think you’re expecting (statute).

    Damage to your property is likely to fall under common law private nuisance. The overhang is a trespass which you can remedy by lopping the branches but the trimmings need to be returned to your neighbour as they are their property.

    Not forgetting that you should check if the tree is subject to a Tree Preservation Order in which case you’ll need your LPA’s permission for any works to the tree.

    Premier Icon breninbeener
    Free Member

    Yes, the trimmings need to be offered to the tree owner….NOT dumped in their garden

    Premier Icon petec
    Free Member

    trimmings need to be returned

    it’s not need, it’s offered.

    Before disposing of any arisings you should offer them back to the owner of the tree who is entitled to any benefits from it. If they are declined you are free to dispose of them

    But to answer your question, yes. I can let my neighbour’s tree grow a distance into my garden for years, and not need to do anything about it. If it then damages my house, it’s his problem

    he should have maintained his tree.

    Premier Icon outofbreath
    Free Member

    There is unlikely to be chapter and verse in the sense that I think you’re expecting (statute).

    Yeah that was what I was hoping for, but your comment has kind of clarified it all for me.

    Basically the responsibility is 100pc down to the guy who has the overhang over his land garden. *If* damage is done you could sue/go down the small claims court route. Which isn’t quite the same as saying it’s automatically the tree owners fault. (I imagine someone would have a very weak case if they allowed a tree branch to gradually enchroach on their house over years without saying a word or taking any action until it did damage and *then* sued. If the branch fell it might be different.)

    Thanks all, curiosity satisfied. In a nutshell: “It’s the overhangee’s problem, but could potentially become the overhanger’s problem if damage is done.”

    Premier Icon MoreCashThanDash
    Full Member

    Someone I know is in an interesting situation. Their tree overhangs and risks causing damage to a neighbour’s property but the tree has a protection order and the council keep refusing permission to allow them to trim it. They are in a circular conversation with the council:

    Friend: so if you won’t let me take action to avoid causing damage, you will be responsible for any subsequent damage to my neighbours property?

    Council: oh no, it’s your tree, you are responsible for making sure it doesn’t cause any damage

    Friend: but you’re ignoring the tree surgeons advice telling me to get it trimmed

    Council: that’s right, it’s a very pretty tree with a TPO 🤦

    Premier Icon Murray
    Full Member

    What if you make the tree dangerous by lopping off all the branches and roots on your side?

    Premier Icon petec
    Free Member


    Almost worth telling the household insurers. I’m sure they’ll have a view on that.

    Otherwise possibly


    Looks like it needs to cause more than £500 damage

    Premier Icon dangeourbrain
    Full Member

    @morecashthandash if there’s actual risk they should be able to carry out the works without permission.

    What is the exception for work to prevent or abate a nuisance?
    The authority’s consent is not required for carrying out the minimum of work on a tree protected by an Order that is necessary to prevent or abate a nuisance. Here ‘nuisance’ is used in its legal sense, not its general sense. The courts have held that this means the nuisance must be actionable in law – where it is causing, or there is an immediate risk of it causing, actual damage.

    When deciding what is necessary to prevent or abate a nuisance, tree owners and, where applicable, their neighbours and local authorities, should consider whether steps other than tree work might be taken. For example, there may be engineering solutions for structural damage to buildings.

    Paragraph: 082 Reference ID: 36-082-20140306


    Bear in mind other works should be considered and undertaken first though, the tree is the last thing to consider.

    (for what it’s worth my council consider cutting back to 3m of a permanent structure to be abatement of nuisance, anything more and I get a very stroppy letter, and they have come and measured in the past.)

    Premier Icon MoreCashThanDash
    Full Member

    Thanks for the response guys, I will pass it on.

    Sadly, the friend is my parents elderly neighbour, who apparently doesn’t have any household insurance as her recently deceased husband didn’t believe in such things.

    Premier Icon lunar
    Free Member

    Only ever going to be the tree owners responsibility if it can be proven that they should have taken action to prevent damage at an earlier point in time; for example if they ignore a defect that could otherwise have been foreseen to cause damage or if no inspection had taken place that could have resulted in the defect being detected. You would have zero claim where a tree grows into your property and, for example, fails in a strong wind where that failure was not associated with a defect or some other cause that could otherwise have been previously identified. A tree simply failing or causing damage does not automatically mean the owner will be responsible, far from it. You would need to demonstrate that the owner could have foreseen the problem and taken action. Of course the owner would have to demonstrate some form of inspection, hence why private tree owners should inspect/get their garden trees inspected from time to time!

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