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Tree roots

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
My parents' neighbour stubbornly refuses to do anything about the tree in his garden, which grows bigger every year, is very close to my parents' house, and is causing major problems for them. As well as blocking out light, some of its branches overhung their garden. I know that you're allowed to cut off tree branches that overhang your garden up to the boundary, so they did that. Is this law also true of tree roots? The roots are causing damage to my parents' garden - breaking their concrete path from underneath. It's very likely that the branches also go under their house, which could cause subsidence, destablising it. The roots could also break underground pipes. Are they allowed to remove the roots that are under their house and garden?

My parents cannot afford to hire a solicitor or go to court and even if they could, they would prefer not to go down that route. They used to have a friend, who was a plumber, who told them that the roots are a threat to the pipes and was also sure that the damage to the garden was caused by the roots - although he didn't know the law regarding what you're allowed to do about a neighbour's tree.

The tree isn't near enough to any other houses or gardens to cause any problems for anyone else. That means that there's no chance that my parents could get any of the other neighbours to support them in doing anything about the tree.


  • MaisyMaisy The Mix convert CymruPosts: 295 Moderator
    According to this it sounds like you can get rid of roots from your neighbours tree if they are causing issues around your house and garden. Not 100% sure on that though. Either way, if your parents do want to take action about the roots, I think it's best for them to let your neighbour know, just out of decency. My neighbour cut down one of our trees and roots without talking to us about it first, and in the process broke our wall. So yeah, it's good to keep the lines of communication open :)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Thank you; now I know that they are allowed to remove those roots which are on their side of the fence. The problem with cutting off the roots under my parents' garden is that it could destabilise the tree and cause it to fall. Who's responsibility would it be to repair the damage caused by the tree if it fell? The neighbour would claim that my parents caused it to fall by cutting some of the roots off it.

    Your neighbour cut down your tree? It was in your garden - and they cut the whole thing down, which fell onto your wall (rather than merely pruning the overhang)? I'm only talking about my parents cutting off what's on their side of the fence, not what's on their neighbour's side.
  • MaisyMaisy The Mix convert CymruPosts: 295 Moderator
    Not sure who would be responsible to pay for damages if the tree fell. Guess that's something to talk about with your neighbour?

    ​Our tree was actually on the wall :p It was a dry stone wall and a tree was growing there, and had been for years. It was fine where it was, but the branches were overhanging into the neighbours garden. Rather than just cutting the branches, they decided to step over the wall into our garden and cut the tree down. And in the process ruining the dry stone wall, exposing the roots which they couldn't get rid of. So now it's a mess and I guess that in a few years time, after a few good rain storms, it will probably just collapse into their garden (though they are hoping to move anyway, so it won't be their problem). So yeah, I think sticking to just cutting what's on your side of the fence will be fine :p
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    The neighbour refuses to discuss it or do anything about it. He thinks the tree is great. He denies that it causes any problems to my parents and doesn't care if it does.

    Your neighbour obviously did the wrong thing. My parents aren't considering going into his garden - they just want to get rid of what's in their garden.

    If the neighbour's tree was further away from my parents' house, it wouldn't be much of a problem. Its trunk is inches away from the fence and is only a several feet away from both houses. Before my parents pruned it, some of the branches were mere inches away from their house. I can't understand why anyone would want a tree so close to their house.
  • MaisyMaisy The Mix convert CymruPosts: 295 Moderator
    Hmm, that sounds tricky. Maybe you can get your parents to contact Citizens Advice? They have a little article on neighbour issues here: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/housing/problems-where-you-live/neighbour-disputes/ if that's any help at all.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Thank you. That link doesn't say who's responsible for damage caused by a tree falling due to some of its roots being removed to stop the roots causing further damage. I'll try to find out. If this tree falls, it will likely cause a lot of damage to both houses.
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