Considerations. Serious harm caused by encroaching tree limbs or tree roots may give rise to a lawsuit. In most situations, a neighbor who is bothered or worried by encroaching branches or roots of a healthy tree won't be able to successfully sue the tree owner. Lawyers refer to this as ‘causation’. If an owner plants trees near the border of his neighbour’s property the owner must ensure that the border is not affected by overhanging branches, fallen leaves or intruding roots. If the tree is causing actual damage such as roots uplifting a deck or branches pushing down a fence, the owner can be held liable for “nuisance”, that is allowing his use of his property to damage the property of another. An example of gradual damage is when the roots of a tree grow into parts of your home or plumbing. What Does Comprehensive Auto Insurance Really Cover? The concept of tree roots growing does not fit the definition of sudden and accidental because roots grow very slowly, so normally damage caused by roots would not be covered. For example, lightning and windstorm are two common perils. The tree roots are part of your property. 161, 371 P.3d 544 (Div. "Serious harm" usually requires structural damage. A mediator can help the parties to work to find a mutually acceptable way forward. If they feel that a third party like a neighbor is responsible for the damage, then they will take care of you first, but then they will go after the responsible party in what they refer to as subrogation. The tree roots are part of your property. As long as you can show that the damage was reasonably foreseeable, and was caused or significantly contributed to by those tree roots, claims against local authorities often succeed. What happens if a tree causes damage through subsidence to a property but the builder didn’t dig the foundations deep enough? Pine trees, for instance, have almost no impact on your foundation. If you have an all-risk policy, versus a named perils policy, your insurance will cover different things. If you knew, or ought to have known, of this encroachment, and it is reasonably foreseeable that this encroachment will cause damage, then the legal duty is established. This damage will often take the form of subsidence, particularly if the soil is of clay composition. "Serious harm" generally means structural damage to property, for example damaged roofs or walls, crushed pipes, clogged sewers, or cracked foundations. Always call your insurance company to ask if the damage is covered, because every policy and situation is different. But the damage can also be indirect, as roots draw water from clay soil, which then rehydrates following significant rainfall. Prevention is key to avoiding costly tree root damage. Home insurance will cover many forms of damage caused by trees, but may not cover everything. A: A tree that spreads its roots onto a neighboring property, damaging the foundation of someone else’s home, is a nuisance. App. How Does Getting a Dog Affect Your Home Insurance? There are some things to consider if you have a problem with a tree on a shared property line: The term finds its roots in an Enlightenment view that the Germanic Vandals were a uniquely destructive people. Each policy is different so be sure and ask. Local authorities are under a legal duty to have in place an ongoing programme of inspection and maintenance in respect of ‘their’ trees. In addition to underpinning or rebuilding, the cause of the problem must be remedied, often by felling the tree(s) or reducing its size to limit transpiration (reducing the evaporation from leaves lessens the amount of water the tree draws from the soil). But there are several more subtle ways in which a tree can damage a neighbor’s property or real estate. If the roots of neighbor’s row of backyard trees next to your fence have invaded your property, causing damage to your hardscape, and/or threatening your home’s foundation, suit in court for injunctive relief may be effective to force them to remove their offending trees, and to grind down the stumps to kill the roots, thereby solving your problem, and stopping the loss of your home’s market value. One of the main issues to consider before planting a tree is how large your yard is. 1, April 4, 2016). This damage can be very costly to repair. How to Control Invasive Roots. Claiming Water Damage Coverages on Home Insurance, How to File an Insurance Claim When a Tree Falls on Your Car, Look Out! Mustoe had two large Douglas-fir trees located entirely on her property, about two and one-half feet from the property line with her neighbor Ma. If the alleged damage is visible from outside the property, Council’s Tree Operations Supervisor will inspect the site. This is the out-of-pocket money you pay before your insurance provider pays their portion of damages. There was a couple that had an old tree in their own garden that was causing damage to their property which had a preservation order on it. Later British cases established the rule that the owner of land on which a tree grows is liable in nuisance if the roots or branches encroach on adjoining land and cause damage. Don't worry about figuring out where the branches or tree came from if you do not know if you have damage call your insurance company and have them help you with your home insurance claim.. Allowing tree roots to encroach on your neighbour’s land constitutes common law, private nuisance. Many people experience damage to their building structures, pipes, and property from tree roots. There are a number of things you can do if your neighbour’s tree is affecting you in this way; however, if possible you should always talk about a solution with your neighbour as a first step. More on Homeowners Insurance A recent Washington Court of Appeals opinion addressed the rights of a neighbor to destroy roots and branches on her property that belonged to trees located on an adjoining landowner’s property. Another consideration is future insurance which, even if it is available, is likely to carry a significantly higher premium. Disputes typically arise when the branches or roots of a tree on one neighbour’s property (neighbour A) begin encroaching onto their neighbour’s property (neighbour B), causing damage to or interfering with the enjoyment of neighbour B’s property. Insurance is meant to cover sudden and accidental damage and not gradual damage or home maintenance. Tree roots don’t actively attack your home, but that doesn’t mean they can’t damage your property. Trees can also shed all sorts of debris onto neighboring roofs, cars, and people. If there are issues which prove more difficult to resolve, as an alternative to litigation, the Court always encourages parties to engage in alternative methods of dispute resolution such as mediation. You may not go onto the neighbor's property or destroy the tree. Periodically monitor and replace even slow-growing trees. If you have failed to report in time, your insurer can repudiate the claim. However, the law only allows tree trimming and tree cutting up to the property line. Fallen trees not only cause damage to property but also have to be removed once they have fallen after a storm. If the tree is causing actual damage such as roots uplifting a deck or branches pushing down a fence, the owner can be held liable for “nuisance”, that is allowing his use of his property to damage the property of another. If you or your neighbor decide to trim branches, cut tree roots, or treat parts of the tree with a chemical that ultimately causes damage to the tree or your neighbor’s trees, you could be liable for damages. Your insurance company also may not cover the removal of trees if no structure was damaged. It’s a common belief that a tree will develop roots as broad as the tree is tall, but this is a misconception that underestimates the facts. As a result of this, it is generally much easier to establish that they are, or should have been, aware of the potential of damage, compared to a claim against a private neighbour. Here are some tips to help you avoid problems. Many people experience damage to their building structures, pipes, and property from tree roots. This is another good reason, if you intend to remove a lot of tree roots or very large tree roots, or if the roots are deeply rooted, for employing a tree surgeon or arborist to carry out the work for you. You'll be asked whether, to the best of your knowledge, the property has ever been affected by subsidence, landslip, heave, or tree root damage. Different insurance policies have different special limits or policy coverages. The following list of safe tree distances is a list referring to the potential damage from their roots to the foundations of your property which may cause subsidence. Consider faulty construction or settlement/subsidence caused by some other factor. Mila Araujo is a personal lines insurance broker and the director of personal insurance for Ogilvy Insurance. If you do harm the tree, you could be found liable for up to three times the value of the tree. The damage where the roots of the tree have been growing into would not be covered because roots do not grow overnight, this is gradual damage. Authorised & Regulated by Solicitors Regulation Authority (No. This may leave you in a difficult situation if you subsequently need to redirect the claim, or part of it, to your home insurer, perhaps because investigation reveals that a claim against your neighbour is unlikely to succeed. Our firm recently acted for a Club faced with that issue when the local council refused to remove a number of trees on council property, the roots of which had caused damage to the Club’s car park and prevented the Club from upgrading the car park. A 5-minute guide to getting along with neighbors. has planted a tree on a road, they cannot be made liable for any damage resulting from the tree s location or growth (Local Government Act 1999, s 245(1)). This duty arises not only if you know that roots are encroaching over the boundary, but also if you ought to have known about this, perhaps because of the size of the tree and/or its position close to the boundary. Depending on the cause of the damage, a tree falling on a house may be covered or not. As such, you cannot charge a neighbor for the removal of the tree roots that are causing property damage. Most trees have a … 24. Your insurer will not cover the cost of this advice, but that cost must be balanced against the possible need to bring a claim for diminution, which could be substantial – sometimes as much as 20% of the value of the property. It’s tempting to want to try and force your neighbor to make it go away, I know, but stay focused on what’s going to be most productive. Learn more about this in the section on subrogation below. Short version - our IP borders a council reserve, on the reserve directly alongside our boundary is a line of tall trees. Vandalism is the action involving deliberate destruction of or damage to public or private property. 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