Landlords need to keep a log about how they look after fallen trees on their property in case of insurance claims following bad weather.
Solicitors are warning that property owners have a legal responsibility to ensure trees do not endanger a neighbour’s property nor in a state to fall on passers-by.
If the tree comes down in bad weather and is found to be rotten, diseased or dead, neighbours or anyone hurt in the fall can claim compensation.
Lawyer Harjie Singh Bindra, of Midlands law firm MFG Solicitors explained that insurance companies may not pay out for claims if the tree was in poor condition and that landlords could face expensive personal injury claims.
“The bad weather has brought down thousands of trees and branches,” said Bindra. “Many property owners are not aware of their legal position.
“The law is clear – the owner of the land where the tree stands is responsible for ensuring the safety of neighbours and passers-by that could be hurt or have their property damaged should the tree fall.
“If the owner knew or should have known that there was a problem, they must take reasonable steps to remove the tree from their property or make it safe.
“It’s a harsh fact and something causing considerable stress and financial worry at the moment for many landlords.”
Bindra also confirmed he was handling several cases for compensation as the result of trees toppling in the recent bad weather.
Another tip for landlords is to check their boundaries. One landlord faced massive compensation claims when a 100 foot tree fell on to sheds, fences and greenhouses across several gardens. The tree was behind a neighbour’s fence and the landlord only found out after the tree fell that the neighbour had moved the fence away from his side of the tree to grab a few extra feet of land.
The resulting cost of removing the tree and compensation came to nearly £30,000.