Claims often require experts in different fields to assist the parties and the Court. "Serious harm" generally means structural damage to property, for example damaged roofs or walls, crushed pipes, clogged sewers, or cracked foundations. Updated Jan 29, 2019; Posted Sep 10, 2018 . If the amount of damage is more substantial than the damage that trimming back the roots would do to the tree, it’s Lucy’s right to have her neighbor remove them. Most of the claim will be fairly obvious – the cost of rectification work such as underpinning, repairs to cracks, rebuilding walls and paths or relaying sections of a drain. Prevention is key to avoiding costly tree root damage. In Ontario, the government does not regulate the pruning of trees on private property. As trees grow, encroaching roots and overhanging branches can extend beyond the legal boundary into neighbouring property, sometimes causing inconvenience, damage or even injury. But the damage can also be indirect, as roots draw water from clay soil, which then rehydrates following significant rainfall. 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. Trees can also shed all sorts of debris onto neighboring roofs, cars, and people. Different insurance policies have different special limits or policy coverages. Always call your insurance company to ask if the damage is covered, because every policy and situation is different. roots caused 11 percent of foundation damage, even when they made up only 2 percent of the tree population. Healthy tree root systems may, over time, topple fences and uproot sidewalks, even those that run in front of neighboring properties. Liability for damage caused by tree roots. Pine trees, for instance, have almost no impact on your foundation. How Does Getting a Dog Affect Your Home Insurance? However, if the owner or occupier of property adjacent to the road has made a written request to the council to take reasonable action to avert a risk of damage from the tree and the council What Does Comprehensive Auto Insurance Really Cover? The recent case of Khan & Harrow Council & Another  (Ramsey J handed down his judgment on 3 September 2013), which concerned damage caused to a property by tree roots, considered when a person will be liable for damage caused by roots from trees on their land. To help prevent tree root damage that will eventually interfere with sewer lines: Plant small, slow-growing trees near sewer lines. Basically, it depends on how much harm the tree roots are causing. roots causing damage to your property; branches blocking sunlight from solar panels or TV reception. Large roots close to the tree should not be cut as these may kill or destabilise the … Mr and Mrs Khan owned a property in Stanmore, Middlesex. If damage is localised and at some distance to the tree, the offending root could be cut off, a root barrier fitted to prevent roots growing back into this area and repairs to patios or drives made. 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. One of the main issues to consider before planting a tree is how large your yard is. Instead, the neighbor can go ahead and trim the tree himself. Regardless of if there is property damage, a landowner may sue her neighbor to make that neighbor trim the branches that encroach the landowner's property. Whatever the mechanism, the resulting bill for remedial works for tree root damage can be substantial. 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 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. Trees and Nuisance Law. If the tree is on the property line, both property owners share the value of the tree and are responsible for upkeep on their side of the boundary line. Here are some tips to help you avoid problems. If you have trees on your property, you have a legal duty to take reasonable steps to prevent or minimise the risk of damage to neighbouring property. Claims for damage resulting from tree roots are brought in nuisance rather than trespass, even though the tree roots will be encroaching on the neighbouring land. You may not go onto the neighbor's property or destroy the tree. Depending on your policy there may be a maximum dollar limit like $500 or $1000. 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. Tree roots may affect neighbouring land irrespective of whether the roots themselves encroach across the boundary of that land. Insurance Information Institute. 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). Local authorities are under a legal duty to have in place an ongoing programme of inspection and maintenance in respect of ‘their’ trees. Consider faulty construction or settlement/subsidence caused by some other factor. There are no trees on our property. Weather-related damage or storm damage is often covered by insurance. Gradual Damage (Even If Hidden), Types of Tree Damage Home Insurance Covers, Sometimes It Matters Who the Tree Belongs To. A tree-root-damage study cited by the Michigan State University Extension found that oak (Quercus spp.) There are factors unrelated to tree roots that can cause similar types of damage. Insurance is meant to cover sudden and accidental damage and not gradual damage or home maintenance. 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)). Apart from any injunction required, your claim will be a monetary one for compensation. If they are successful in recovering the costs of the claim in subrogation, then they may be able to reimburse you for the deductible when everything is settled. Background. Liability for damage caused by tree roots Where tree roots cause damage to a neighbouring property, the owner of the tree can be liable, under the law of nuisance, for such damage. It is important to remember that a neighbour can be held liable for a nuisance that began before they purchased the property – if they had knowledge of it (actual or deemed) and have failed to take reasonable steps to rectify the problem. Our drains were toast from root damage, we've excavated and replace 30 meters of drains as a direct result of infestation of roots from councils trees. Trees are a beautiful feature of many properties and homes, but what happens if a tree falls on your house, or you get damage to your property from trees? 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