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Some Common Questions Regarding Property Damage

Disclaimer: This content has been prepared by third party lawyers, not by ARAG nor by the Insurer. It is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter and is not intended to constitute legal advice, and you should not rely on this information as a substitute for obtaining your own legal advice. If any of the below issues apply to you, then you should obtain legal advice about your specific circumstances. ARAG and the Insurer disclaim any liability for damages howsoever arising out of or in connection with the use and/or reference to any of this content.

Published on 01.07.2020.

The person who lives next door to me damaged the fence between our properties when they hosted a party over the weekend. It needs to be fixed but I do not want to pay for something that was not my fault. What can I do?

If the fence was damaged because of their negligence or deliberate action, they will have to pay the entire repair cost. This also applies if someone else at the party was responsible for the damage because they were on your neighbour's property with their implied consent.

I have damaged the fence between my property and my neighbour's. How extensive do the repairs need to be?

The fence must be repaired to a reasonable standard. This may involve considering the state of the fence before you damaged it. For example, if it was an older fence made from pine, you may not need to replace it with a more expensive type of modern fence.

My neighbour is claiming that the roots of a tree on my property have caused damage to their pipes and driveway. He wants the tree removed. Can he force me to do this?

Your neighbour would have to prove that your tree has caused, is causing or is likely to cause damage to their pipes to be an actionable nuisance. They may also be able to action their request if the tree is likely to cause injury to another person.

Some courts have held that tree roots do not have to be the sole cause of the damage. However, if you can prove that the damage has been significantly caused by poor pipe installation, you may be able to dispute their claim.

It is likely that the court will order you to pay for the damage caused instead of having the tree removed.

My neighbour’s tree keeps dropping leaves on my shed, causing it to rust and rot. It has been happening for a long time. Can I cut the tree down?

Most councils require you to obtain your neighbour’s consent and a permit. If you cut down the tree without these, you could be fined. The amount is higher if the tree belongs to a protected species.

You should communicate your concerns with your neighbour if you have not already done so. You may be able to work out a solution.

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