What is tree subsidence and how to deal with it

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What is tree Subsidence - Home Guide Expert
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What is tree subsidence and how to deal with it

When a tree is planted too close to your property it can potentially cause Tree Subsidence to your home and property depending on the type of tree.  So what is tree subsidence and how to deal with it?

Known tress that can cause subsidence if planted too close to your property are:

  • Willow
  • Poplar
  • Oak
  • Ash

Some ornamental trees can be planted between 15-20 feet from your property but always seek advice from a tree surgeon or qualified arborist before planting.

If you believe the subsidence is caused by a tree planted too close to your property, speak to a tree surgeon, qualified arborist or a structural engineer.

How to deal with Tree Subsidence if the tree is planted in your own garden:

  1. Keep it trimmed.
  2. NEVER remove the tree yourself.  The tree may be protected and the removal of the tree could cause heave to your property.  If the tree is protected, get in touch with your local council to report the issue.  They should be able to give you guidance on how to deal with it.
  3. If you see newly formed cracks inside or outside your property contact your buildings insurance provider straight away.  Your insurer will send a representative (usually a loss adjuster) to your property to assess the damage.  You will have to pay the first part of any claim (usually £1,000).
  4. If subsidence is suspected, the cracks will need to be monitored over a period of time by a qualified structural engineer before they can be repaired.
  5. You have the option of finding one yourself or your insurance company can recommend one to you.
  6. Once any works have been decided by the structural engineer you will need to find a contractor to carry out remedial works or you can use your insurers contractors.

How to deal with Tree Subsidence if the tree is planted in your neighbours garden:

  1. Ask the neighbour to keep it trimmed verbally and in writing.
  2. Ask the neighbour to have it removed under guidance of a structural engineer.
  3. If you see newly formed cracks inside or outside your property contact your buildings insurance provider straight away.  Your insurer will send a representative (usually a loss adjuster) to your property to assess the damage.  You will have to pay the first part of any claim (usually £1,000).
  4. If subsidence is suspected, the cracks will need to be monitored over a period of time by a qualified structural engineer before they can be repaired.
  5. You have the option of finding one yourself or your insurance company can recommend one to you.
  6. Once any works have been decided by the structural engineer you will need to find a contractor to carry out remedial works or you can use your insurers contractors.
  7. If the neighbour does not comply, get in touch with your Local Authority to ask for assistance in getting the tree assessed and removed.
  8. If your neighbour becomes aggressive or difficult, click here.
  9. If your neighbour requires access to your land to carry out the works, click here for guidance.

How to deal with Tree Subsidence if the tree is planted on a public footway:

  1. Write to your local authority straight away advising them that you are concerned about the tree that is causing tree subsidence to your property.  If you can, get an email address for the relevant department of your local authority and also post a copy of the letter using a trackable postal service.  To find the email address of your local authority, click here.
  2. Speak with your neighbours to see if they are being affected by the tree and if they have contacted the council about the issue themselves.  Ask for copies of their correspondence to the council.  If you can, get the neighbour to email you with their concerns.  Local Authorities tend to deal with it much quicker if they have documentation to support the concerns of neighbours as well as yourself.
  3. Contact your buildings insurance provider straight away.  Your insurer will send a representative (usually a loss adjuster) to your property to assess the damage.  You will have to pay the first part of any claim (usually £1,000).
  4. If subsidence is suspected, the cracks will need to be monitored over a period of time by a qualified structural engineer before they can be repaired.
  5. You have the option of finding one yourself or your insurance company can recommend one to you.
  6. Once any works have been decided by the structural engineer you will need to find a contractor to carry out remedial works or you can use your insurers contractors.
  7. Continually chase your local authority – write/email/call them at least once a week until they deal with the issue.

When the tree subsidence issue has been resolved and your property has been repaired, there should be no risk of subsidence happening again.

If your property has been underpinned, you may expect to pay a higher amount for your buildings insurance.

If you are buying a property for the first time or buying and selling a property at the same time, check whether subsidence is a common problem in the area.  What soil is your property built on?

If you need to make an insurance claim, click here.

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