Next door’s trees are threatening my property but I can’t locate the owner

Property Clinic: An online search will reveal who the owner of the adjacent house is

‘Any works carried out on the trees should be at the cost of the land owner.’ File photograph: Getty

‘Any works carried out on the trees should be at the cost of the land owner.’ File photograph: Getty

 

I have asked the resident of the house adjacent to mine (which he rents) to cut back his tree, which overhangs my garage roof. Recently during a bad storm, I noticed that the branches from his tree are over my garage roof, and have heard the swinging branches creak as they were moved about by the strong winds.

As I do not have contact information for the owner, I approached the tenants of the house seeking the owner’s name and address. I was told by the tenant that when they brought their concerns re the trees to the owner’s attention, he informed them that the trees concerned were outside the boundary of the property.

The tenants said that the owner advised his tenants to approach the owner of the land behind his property. I have made contact with a tree surgeon to visit and assess risks to my property, and then to reduce the risks by removing all relevant branches overhanging my garage. This alone may not remove all risk to my garage – if tree adjacent to my garage or adjoining trees are dangerous.

The trees have no main trunks, and they are taller than a two-storey house with the branches growing in all directions.

I have written to the owner of the field behind to see if these trees are on his property – as a first step in trying to establish ownership of trees. I am attempting to locate the full name and address of the owner of the neighbouring house. Can I claim the expenses incurred in protecting my garage from the owner of the trees?

First, conduct a search to find out who is the owner of the adjacent property on which the tree is growing. This can be done by visiting the Land Direct website, landdirect.ieSecond, you should report the danger to your local authority and to An Garda Síochána. They might assist you in contacting the owner of the land on which the tree is growing.

When you have found out who the owner of the property is you should write a letter, enclosing a copy of the tree surgeon’s report, informing him of your concerns. Send the letter by registered/recorded post.

In your letter, request that the hazard of the trees be dealt with as set out in the tree surgeon’s report within 14 days. Set out in the letter that you will hold them responsible if any damage is caused to your property or if any person is injured as a result of the tree or any part of it falling on your property.

Any works carried out on the trees should be at the cost of the land owner.

You may not trespass on to another person’s property nor have the work carried out without consent. However, you are entitled to cut any branches off the tree that are overhanging your property as they are trespassing.

Finally, you are not entitled to recover the costs associated with the work done by you to cut any overhanging branches nor the cost of and expense you have incurred thus far.

  • William O’Connor, solicitor at P. O’Connor & Son, poconsol.ie
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