Q: My crab apple tree overhangs the pavement and is shedding fruit. Local children are squashing them underfoot, leaving a slippy mess that I have been cleaning up. Who is actually responsible for cleaning them up — the tree owner (me) or the council, which owns the pavement? Would I be legally liable if someone slipped and injured themselves?

A: If the tree is on your land then you are responsible for the reasonably foreseeable harm that it might cause to occupiers of neighbouring land. Such harm could be caused by falling branches, by the action of tree roots on the foundations of buildings, or indeed by puréed apples causing a trip hazard.

Ed is a partner in the property and housing litigation team. He specialises in all aspects of property litigation and property dispute resolution. His areas of expertise include landlord and tenant disputes, business lease renewals, rent and service charge recovery, possession proceedings, and dilapidations claims.

The Sunday Times Home Experts 4 October 2020