I’m looking for some advice on our options regarding the possible reclaim of insurance excess from the local authority in relation to property subsidence caused by trees and vegetation on land owned by the local authority.
I have searched online, but in general posts I found didn’t really answer the question but rather focused on saying ‘that’s what you pay insurance for’.
For a little background, here’s a few facts and other information I’ve found:
1.Crack movement & soil sample testing via the insurers over the past couple of years confirm the subsidence is due to a combination of clay soil and the trees nearby (less than 10 meters away).
2.The council planted the trees after the property was built.
3.Council have constantly delayed responding to requests to remove or trim back the vegetation. They also informed there was a 6+ month waiting list as they are understaffed and overworked.
4.Other trees and vegetation in the local vicinity were being removed/trimmed throughout this process.
5.Only a few months ago a couple of trees further up the street were removed due to storm damage and one branch on the tree outside of our house as it was within 1 meter of our property.
6.I understand that in law, a local authority is referred to as a ‘reasonably prudent landlord’, have more responsibilities than an individual and are expected to know more about potential issues/their responsibilities.
7.Our insurers initially suggested the excess would likely be £500 as it’s the porch damaged not the main property and they would to recover upon our behalf. But now we’ve received notification for payment of £1,000.
8.To our knowledge, 3 neighbours have subsidence (one just re-pointed the brickwork, not sure on other two as are rented but one of them has substantial cracks in the corner of their main property).
9.we have emailed back our insurers asking for an explanation and what steps they are making to recover.
10.We have not yet contacted the authority in case we prejudice any case.
I understand in law we may have a better claim against the council as opposed to an individual (e.g. proving negligence), but would also likely face heavier resistance as their insurance team would most likely play the longer legal game and push beyond small claims court knowing most would be scared of the legal fees.
So basically, is there anything that we can do/anyone we should contact ?