Statistics have shown that the contents of a garden shed in the average household is around the £5,000 mark and, should a thief break in and walk off with the lot, ie. Mower, tools, bike, garden chairs, hose, pram, garden umbrella and so on, it is an expensive loss. So it’s wise to think about insurance. If you prefer not to insure, put a good strong padlock onshed and keep it locked. It is expensive and tiresome to have to replace things and no one likes losing a favourite spade or bicycle.
There is also another form of insurance worth considering: Public Liability protects you should someone trip over your front step, or slip and twist their ankle on your, or should your window box or flower pot fall on their head. Public Liability can be built into household contents policy. If you feel you are vulnerable in either case, contact a broker and ask for advice. Both insurances are moderately inexpensive.
All landscaping work such as, paving, or planting is covered by the Supply of Goods and Services Act (in England and Wales). The landscaper has an obligation to supply goods or materials which are of merchantable quality and to carry out the work with reasonable care and skill. If either the materials or the way the job is done are not up to scratch, you are entitled to compensation which will allow you to get the job done to a reasonable standard. This Act doesn’t apply in Scotland but common law, which would treat the deal as two contracts – one of sale, the other of service — gives much the same protection to the consumer.
Trees and the Law
A tree on the boundary of two properties is owned by both parties. The only way to deal with problems is by agreement, as if any unilateral action made the tree unsafe it would prove a legal minefield. As the owner of a tree, you are responsible for damage caused by the overhang of branches or growth of the tree’s roots.
The usually accepted idea is that the amount of light you are entitled to is for ‘comfortable use and enjoyment’. So if your house is very shaded by a neighbour’s tree, you could ask to have its crown thinned, or removed (lopping only causes denser growth in later years) to let more light in. This does not apply to gardens, so unfortunately you cannot force a neighbour to prune or remove trees to get more light into your garden.
This is also true of your view. You don’t generally have a right of a view over another person’s land. Similarly there is no right to shelter from a neighbour’s trees if he chooses to cut them down.
Trees are the property of the landowner and are subject to the usual rights and liabilities. If you are in doubt about the safety of a tree, consult an expert, preferably an independent Arboricultural Consultant, and not a tree contractor. A very old tree should be inspected at regular intervals.