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    • Mb1987
    • By Mb1987 12th Oct 18, 11:47 PM
    • 12Posts
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    Mb1987
    Cut down tree landed on neighbours land
    • #1
    • 12th Oct 18, 11:47 PM
    Cut down tree landed on neighbours land 12th Oct 18 at 11:47 PM
    Hi all and sorry this may seem long winded.

    I'm after some advice on behalf of a friend. They have recently purchased a new home and on the back garden was an ash tree (around 1.5x the size of the house)

    It was dead and rotting and was advised that it was in need of being chopped down however with the recent heavy winds a family member cut it down at the base with one cut and its landed on the farmers land directly behind their garden.

    Now next door is furious as he believed it could have landed on his house with kids inside and being friends with the farmer phoned him immediately. Now the farmer is demanding 500 and is keeping the felled wood (or he will take the matter further)

    Admittedly it wasn't their finest hour to cut the tree down in one go but they are not stupid and knew what they were doing (albeit not a professional)

    I am just wondering from a legal point of view what do they do? The farmer will not let them on the land to remove the tree, and the friend is not willing to be blackmailed. Any help or advice would be appreciated thank you
Page 1
    • Aylesbury Duck
    • By Aylesbury Duck 13th Oct 18, 12:22 AM
    • 2,476 Posts
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    Aylesbury Duck
    • #2
    • 13th Oct 18, 12:22 AM
    • #2
    • 13th Oct 18, 12:22 AM
    How's the farmer going to take the matter further? Your friend would be obliged to cover any loss the farmer has incurred. What losses or damage has happened, other than the foreseeable costs of the tree being removed from his land, which is a cost your friend would have to pay.

    As for the neighbour, ignore them. What might have happened is irrelevant.
    • EachPenny
    • By EachPenny 13th Oct 18, 12:31 AM
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    EachPenny
    • #3
    • 13th Oct 18, 12:31 AM
    • #3
    • 13th Oct 18, 12:31 AM
    Admittedly it wasn't their finest hour to cut the tree down in one go but they are not stupid and knew what they were doing (albeit not a professional)
    Originally posted by Mb1987
    Clearly not, or they wouldn't have felled a tree causing it to fall on someone else's property without getting their permission first.

    The question is whether any damage was done to the farmer's property - you've not mentioned this in your post. That damage includes damage to crops, including any which would be damaged as a result of now needing to get a tractor (and trailer) to the tree to remove it.

    A piece of advice for your friend - if you live in the country it is really important to have good relationships with your neighbours... agreeing to give the farmer something for their time and trouble (not necessarily as much as 500) might make their life in the area more pleasant. Treating it as (attempted) blackmail will not.
    "In the future, everyone will be rich for 15 minutes"
    • Mb1987
    • By Mb1987 13th Oct 18, 12:40 AM
    • 12 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    Mb1987
    • #4
    • 13th Oct 18, 12:40 AM
    • #4
    • 13th Oct 18, 12:40 AM
    Thanks for your quick replies, to answer the question the land is just used for horses to roam around on in the day and not used for crops etc none of the horses were out at the time.

    No damage was caused to his fence or the land as the dead branches cushioned the fall and stop the trunk hitting the ground at full force. They have spoken to the farmer with regards to gaining access to the land to remove it as they are sorry for what has happened, a family member did this whilst they were out. I will mention it tomorrow and see if a more reasonable outcome can be achieved
    • sevenhills
    • By sevenhills 13th Oct 18, 2:18 AM
    • 1,847 Posts
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    sevenhills
    • #5
    • 13th Oct 18, 2:18 AM
    • #5
    • 13th Oct 18, 2:18 AM
    They have spoken to the farmer with regards to gaining access to the land to remove it as they are sorry for what has happened, a family member did this whilst they were out.
    Originally posted by Mb1987

    Give the farmer a name and address, and see what he does. What do you expect him to do?

    • moneyistooshorttomention
    • By moneyistooshorttomention 13th Oct 18, 7:25 AM
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    moneyistooshorttomention
    • #6
    • 13th Oct 18, 7:25 AM
    • #6
    • 13th Oct 18, 7:25 AM
    How about sending the farmer a letter (Recorded Delivery) and copy kept. In that saying words to the effect of:

    "This is to request permission to remove the tree from your land at our expense.

    "Otherwise - you are welcome to keep the tree and use the wood in it as you wish and we will make no charge to you for said wood.

    "Can you please let us know which of these two options you wish to select by x date (say a fortnight's time)"

    ***********

    Obviously there is no 3rd option of he keeps the tree for wood AND gets 500. It's extremely cheeky of him to expect to be paid for the tree - when he would get the benefit of that wood from it. He hasn't incurred any costs for putting right damage - so what would that 500 be for anyway?

    With sending him that letter - then I would be surprised if he didn't realise at that point he'd better stop such a try-on to "have it both ways".

    What would be the worst case analysis after all? He goes off to someone (police or a small claims court or whatever) and says "They didn't give me 500 AND the wood from the tree". At that point - you produce the letter that makes it plain you were perfectly willing to remove the tree (but couldnt - because he wouldnt let you onto the land to do so) and they could see for themselves he'd attempted a try-on on you and you were perfectly willing to remove the tree - but he was preventing you doing so.

    Take photos of the tree and land - to be able to prove there is no damage you are liable to pay for.

    It doesn't affect you one bit to have that tree still lying there on his land - it's not in your way at all and so "no skin off your nose" if he leaves it lying there for evermore (which he wouldn't - as he clearly wants the wood from it).
    Last edited by moneyistooshorttomention; 13-10-2018 at 7:30 AM.
    If you feel like you don't fit in in this world, it's because you are here to help create a new one.
    • elsien
    • By elsien 13th Oct 18, 7:27 AM
    • 17,825 Posts
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    elsien
    • #7
    • 13th Oct 18, 7:27 AM
    • #7
    • 13th Oct 18, 7:27 AM
    What is he claiming the 500 for?
    Talking to him seems the obvious starting point rather than escalating with letters straight away.
    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

    Pedant alert - it's could have, not could of.
    • moneyistooshorttomention
    • By moneyistooshorttomention 13th Oct 18, 7:33 AM
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    moneyistooshorttomention
    • #8
    • 13th Oct 18, 7:33 AM
    • #8
    • 13th Oct 18, 7:33 AM
    Nothing I can see - just "throwing his weight around" and trying for money he isn't due for.

    Of course - the other way to deal with this would be to just "Ignore him". The point of sending a letter would be to have proof that the reason why the tree wasn't removed was because he wouldn't allow it to be removed - ie he's the one in the wrong.
    If you feel like you don't fit in in this world, it's because you are here to help create a new one.
    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 13th Oct 18, 8:15 AM
    • 26,882 Posts
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    Davesnave
    • #9
    • 13th Oct 18, 8:15 AM
    • #9
    • 13th Oct 18, 8:15 AM
    What is he claiming the 500 for?
    Talking to him seems the obvious starting point rather than escalating with letters straight away.
    Originally posted by elsien
    Exactly.

    The 'farmer' - keeping horses isn't farming - is possibly laughing his socks off and saying what he's saying to wind up the friend on behalf of the people next door.

    It was an accident caused by someone incompetent, so they should be made to feel a little pain to impress upon them that their actions were foolhardy. Fortunately, no one was hurt and no significant damage caused, so there won't be any basis for compensation, be it 500 or 5.

    Ash is one of the best woods for burning, so I'm sure the tree will find a good home. If it had happened in one of my fields, I'd clear it myself in my own good time, not allow the idiot who felled it access to use a chain saw. Believe it or not, if he did and sawed off one of his own limbs instead, I'd be liable.


    The 'farmer's' response is arguably more rational than some answers here!
    Last edited by Davesnave; 13-10-2018 at 8:21 AM.
    "Gardening is cheaper than psychotherapy.....and you get tomatoes."
    • moneyistooshorttomention
    • By moneyistooshorttomention 13th Oct 18, 9:05 AM
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    moneyistooshorttomention
    I expect they've already realised to pay money for someone "professional" to do it in future if such an incident happens again.

    It wouldnt occur to me (in the farmers position) to be a b*tch about it.

    When a neighbours tree fell on my land one time - it didn't occur to me to do anything other than check there was no damage to my property (there wasn't) and then let them onto my land to remove it. Job done - end of....I've "repaid a favour I owed them". Sorted.
    If you feel like you don't fit in in this world, it's because you are here to help create a new one.
    • elsien
    • By elsien 13th Oct 18, 9:08 AM
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    elsien
    Your tree fell down.
    It wasn't hacked down by someone who apparently didn't know how to do so safely. Therein lies the difference.
    I don't think the farmer is being particularly reasonable on the information given. But without knowing why he's claiming it's hard to judge.
    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

    Pedant alert - it's could have, not could of.
    • paddy's mum
    • By paddy's mum 13th Oct 18, 9:46 AM
    • 3,601 Posts
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    paddy's mum
    If I were the farmer, I wouldn't allow these fools onto my land either!

    Quite apart from the breathtaking arrogance of deliberately felling their very large tree without so much as a "do you mind..." they now want him to give a known idiot access, with the distinct possibility to cause all kinds of other mayhem.

    Going on the prior lack of planning or preparation, the decision not to alert farmer or neighbour, let alone seek any kind of permission or agreement, strongly indicates that these people display a huge lack of even the most basic courtesy. (How many garden owners would appreciate next door's prunings being dumped on their own property simply because it's bigger or more convenient or just there?)

    I suspect that the farmer's demand for 500 is not intending to blackmail the householder at all - just making it very clear indeed that they cannot use his property as some kind of convenient extension to their garden whenever it suits them. If they do so choose at some point in the future, here is ample warning that there will be repercussions!

    This thread is a good example of 'How to antagonise your new Neighbours without even Trying...'
    • stator
    • By stator 13th Oct 18, 10:06 AM
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    stator
    They need to make a formal offer to remove the tree and dispose of it.
    If he refuses, the farmer will have great difficulty making a claim in small claims court.
    He might succeed in some kind of claim for the insult of tresspass, but it's unlikely
    Changing the world, one sarcastic comment at a time.
    • sevenhills
    • By sevenhills 13th Oct 18, 10:10 AM
    • 1,847 Posts
    • 704 Thanks
    sevenhills
    Now next door is furious as he believed it could have landed on his house with kids inside and being friends with the farmer phoned him immediately. Now the farmer is demanding 500 and is keeping the felled wood (or he will take the matter further)
    Originally posted by Mb1987

    He probably has a log burner and wants the wood for himself.

    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 13th Oct 18, 10:18 AM
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    Davesnave
    They need to make a formal offer to remove the tree and dispose of it.
    If he refuses, the farmer will have great difficulty making a claim in small claims court.
    He might succeed in some kind of claim for the insult of tresspass, but it's unlikely
    Originally posted by stator
    There's no damage, so there's no loss and therefore no claim, so that can be ruled out. Whether the farmer knows this is uncertain, but I still suspect his attitude is derived from the anger of his friends. Although, luckily, no harm was done, they are right to be angry.

    To my knowledge, no one has used the law of trespass in this sort of context for a long time, but more relevantly, landowners can be held liable for accidents on their land, whether they give permission to enter or not. It costs significant money each year to insure against this liability, so it's not just about the inconvenience. The farmer may not be covered.

    The tree has a value, so its owners probably have a claim to it, but they will have no say in how it's cut up and retrieved, unless they first gain the cooperation of the farmer.
    Last edited by Davesnave; 13-10-2018 at 10:20 AM.
    "Gardening is cheaper than psychotherapy.....and you get tomatoes."
    • DaftyDuck
    • By DaftyDuck 13th Oct 18, 10:22 AM
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    DaftyDuck
    He probably has a log burner and wants the wood for himself.
    Originally posted by sevenhills
    If he's a farmer, he probably has plenty of wood to feed several households!

    The farmer will have to pay someone to remove the tree: he would be unwise and irresponsible to let the idiot tree vandal on his land, and would be liable for any injuries so caused. He probably can't rely on the integrity of the fence in the meantime, so loses grazing. He may well need to repair the fence; I doubt there is no damage.

    500 may be excessive, it may not. Difficult to tell. However, the fact the OP suggests the idiot in question knew what he was doing beggars belief. If the farmer has been told that, and told they want to go on his land and saw their own wood up, I'm not surprised he is pi55ed off!

    Apologise. Offer to pay for his chosen professionals to chop the tree up and repair the fence .... and offer him the chopped wood as an apology!
    • Slinky
    • By Slinky 13th Oct 18, 10:44 AM
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    Slinky
    I'm curious where the people who cut the tree down thought it was going to end up and why they didn't consult the landowner prior to doing it.


    Now't so odd as folk.


    Just wondering if he's likely to be burying a dog in the field and parking his caravan there also....


    Bag for life anyone?
    • EachPenny
    • By EachPenny 13th Oct 18, 11:54 AM
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    EachPenny
    How about sending the farmer a letter (Recorded Delivery) and copy kept. In that saying words to the effect of:

    "This is to request permission to remove the tree from your land at our expense.

    "Otherwise - you are welcome to keep the tree and use the wood in it as you wish and we will make no charge to you for said wood.

    "Can you please let us know which of these two options you wish to select by x date (say a fortnight's time)"

    ***********

    Obviously there is no 3rd option of he keeps the tree for wood AND gets 500. It's extremely cheeky of him to expect to be paid for the tree - when he would get the benefit of that wood from it. He hasn't incurred any costs for putting right damage - so what would that 500 be for anyway?

    With sending him that letter - then I would be surprised if he didn't realise at that point he'd better stop such a try-on to "have it both ways".

    What would be the worst case analysis after all? He goes off to someone (police or a small claims court or whatever) and says "They didn't give me 500 AND the wood from the tree". At that point - you produce the letter that makes it plain you were perfectly willing to remove the tree (but couldnt - because he wouldnt let you onto the land to do so) and they could see for themselves he'd attempted a try-on on you and you were perfectly willing to remove the tree - but he was preventing you doing so.

    Take photos of the tree and land - to be able to prove there is no damage you are liable to pay for.

    It doesn't affect you one bit to have that tree still lying there on his land - it's not in your way at all and so "no skin off your nose" if he leaves it lying there for evermore (which he wouldn't - as he clearly wants the wood from it).
    Originally posted by moneyistooshorttomention
    I'd ask you to try reversing the situation and see whether you feel the same would apply... imagine the farmer cut down a tree which landed in the OP's friend's garden.

    The thread would now be full of comments saying the friend should sue the arris off the farmer for 'damage' to their property.

    There is a common hypocrisy in the general public of seeing their garden as sacrosanct, but commercial land (e.g. farmland) not being important and being fair game for anyone to use as they wish.

    The bit of your post I've highlighted in bold illustrates the tension you get between 'newcomers' and farmers/country people.

    The OP says no damage has been done (I find that incredibly hard to believe) and the conclusion as a result is not costs will be incurred by the farmer. A large tree falling onto the ground (especially if dead/rotten) is going to leave hundreds of bits of wood scattered all over the place. Some of the branches will have dug themselves into the ground from the impact, and the work to cut the tree up will do further damage to the grass.

    The land is used for grazing by horses. Let's say during the clean up by the friend, a bit of broken tree branch embedded in the ground is missed. One of the horses steps on it and injures its hoof. The farmer then has to pay vet bills, or compensation to the horse's owner. So the clean up will need to be done very carefully, with the farmer checking for themselves that it has been done properly. Any holes, scrapes and ruts will need to be leveled off.

    The OP's friend will take the view there is 'no damage', because it is only a field. If the situation were reversed, they would probably be demanding that their lawn was professionally returfed using premium quality turf, and would be outraged if the farmer suggested sticking a bit of soil in the holes and pouring some 99p grass seed over it.

    I agree with DaftyDuck and Davesnave. There is no way I would allow the OP's friend or family to cut the tree up themselves due to the liability if they manage to injure themselves in the process. There are two choices, the farmer cuts the tree up, or the farmer employs qualified tree workers to cut it up.

    In the latter case it will cost the OP's friend more than 500 for the privilege. The farmer can go to court to claim the cost of this work, and if the OP's friend argues that they should have been allowed to cut the tree up themselves the farmer can point to the fact (backed up by the neighbour) that the friend has allowed the tree to be recklessly felled and should not be trusted to cut it up safely.

    In the former case, why would anyone think the farmer doesn't deserve to be paid for their time to cut the tree up and remove all the debris? Not all of which can be burnt as fuel. Retaining the firewood should be seen as a 'perk of the job', but if the OP's friend really wants it back then the farmer can make arrangments for it to be collected - but has no obligation to cut it into easily handled sections or to permit the friend to use a chainsaw on his land. (a tractor loader can move very large lumps of wood, but not everybody has access to a tractor )

    I completely agree with DaftyDuck's conclusion... and the OP's friend should make an offer (a bit less than 500 perhaps) to make the problem go away and have a decent relationship with their neighbours.

    (BTW, I've quoted your post, but the above comments are not directed to you specifically, there are several posts making the same 'no damage/no cost' remarks and the same applies to all of them).
    "In the future, everyone will be rich for 15 minutes"
    • EachPenny
    • By EachPenny 13th Oct 18, 12:05 PM
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    EachPenny
    Give the farmer a name and address, and see what he does. What do you expect him to do?
    Originally posted by sevenhills
    Liability rests with the owner of the land and tree. That liability might be shared if they employed someone to cut the tree down professionally, but that doesn't appear to be the case.

    The friend's redress would be to sue the person who cut the tree down (if they felt so inclined).
    "In the future, everyone will be rich for 15 minutes"
    • getmore4less
    • By getmore4less 13th Oct 18, 5:44 PM
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    getmore4less
    Do they need access to the land to move it.

    There should be a bit at the base still on their own land they could attach a winch too.
    (or it was not cut down at the bottom)

    Drag it back and cut it up without stepping on farmer's land.

    If they keep horses on the land what happened to the fence between the properties?


    They did check no tree preservation order?
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