Who should pay if a tree on local council land falls and damages a boundary fence?

Question Details: If a tree on district council land falls and damages a boundary fence of private property, who pays for the fence repairs?

Filed under Property Law | 1743 View(s)

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Community Law Wellington & Hutt Valley

You share the cost of repairing the fence, unless the Local Council is at fault for the tree falling over.

If the tree fell due to natural causes, then the Council will only have to pay half. If the Council knew there was a risk of the tree falling onto the fence but did nothing about it, then the Council might have to pay the total cost of repairs.

It is important that you talk to the Council before repairing the fence. If you do work on the fence before talking to the Council, then the Council might not have to pay you half the cost of repairs. The law sets out a process for doing work on a fence that you must follow in order to share the cost of repairs. The process can be found here: www.communitylaw.org.nz.

You should not rely on the above information if you wish to take legal action against the Council on the basis that the Council is at fault and should pay the total cost of repairs. Whether the Council is at fault depends on all the circumstances leading up to the tree falling on the fence.

If the damage was significant, you should consider contacting a lawyer promptly to discuss your options. Search for a property lawyer here: www.propertylawyers.org.nz.

Answered 7 Oct 2013. The IMPORTANT NOTICE below is part of this answer.

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