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Ask Leon Your Own Question
Leon, Solicitor
Category: Australia Law
Satisfied Customers: 44203
Experience:  BEc Dip Ed, Dip Law (SAB) MTax (UNSW)
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Leon i have an issue with Botany Bay Council our sewerage

Customer Question

Hi Leon i have an issue with Botany Bay Council our sewerage was blocked due to council tree planted on the nature strip in front of our house. We had to get plumbers in at a total cost of $ 16,000 as we had no choice due to the excess blockage of the pipes caused by the tree roots. I sent a letter to council claiming costs to the total value , almost 12 months later after having all evidence i.e. photos reports from plumbers, meeting with plumbers they sent a letter saying that the pipes are our responsibility and tree roots don't damage pipes and only do if there is a crack in the pipe which we are responsible for . How can this be the, are we supposed to did every year to check our pipes? they offered us only a one time of of $4000 not negotiable , and if accepted a disclaimer of no further liability to council is to be signed. There is a similar case from our neighbours with similar offer about 6 doors down from us . I believe this is wrong and they are taking advantage of my parents pensioners . what should we do can we pursue a case they say that that offer is an amicable offer and they do not need to give us a cent . please advise thanks carlo
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Australia Law
Expert:  Leon replied 1 year ago.
Good AfternoonMy name is ***** ***** I am a NSW Solicitor. Thank you for your question, and will do my best to assist you with your question. Please understand this is not legal advise Please understand this is not legal advice but a guide to assist you.Did you plumber confirm that the roots caused the damage?Do you have a detailed report?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Dear Leon,
Yes we have quite a few comprehensive reports by our plumbers, and copies of said reports were also sent to council with my initial letter of claim.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
the reports state the the tree was definitely the result of the blockage.
Expert:  Leon replied 1 year ago.
Good AfternoonThat should be enough to sue them. I am not sure on what basis they are saying they are not liable. I have looked at their website and found this document think this is what they are relying on. It is nuisance under the law. Part 2 of the Trees (Disputes Between Neighbours) Act 2006 allows the court to make orders against owners of trees whose roots damage pipes. Here is an exert followed by the link it comes from. Under Part 2 of the Trees Act, a landowner or occupier can apply to the Court for an order to remedy, restrain or prevent damage to property or injury to any person that is caused or is likely to be caused by a tree on adjoining land (section 7).Part 2 applies to trees in areas zoned as:residential rural residential village township industrial business or having the substantial character of one of these zones (section 4).It does not apply to trees on council land (section 4).The types of orders the Court can make under Part 2 (section 9) include an order:to remedy damage to property to restrain or prevent damage or (further damage) to property to prevent injury to any person requiring an application for consent be made to a body such as the Heritage Council authorising the applicant to take specific action to remedy, restrain or prevent damage or injury authorising entry onto land for the purpose of carrying out an order for the payment of costs associated with the carrying out of an order for compensation for damage to property requiring that a tree be replaced.Some examples are for orders to:remove a tree, grind or poison its stump and remove offending roots prune overhanging tree limbs pay for roofing work and replacement of tiles damaged by fallen tree limbs pay for repair/replacement costs for sewer pipes, cracked walls or paths badly damaged by tree roots pay for installation of a root control barrier.Orders for repair of property or compensation for damage or injury can still be issued by the Court though the tree may have been already removed (section 4(4)). have a case but you have to try and negotiate with them and try to resolve it before going to court. But the law is clear. Your report I suspect is good enough to rely on against council. I hope this makes sense and is of assistance. If there is nothing further thank you for using my services. If I have missed anything, or you have any further questions please let me know If there is anything else in the future please do not hesitate to ask. Please do not forget to leave positive feedback. RegardsLeon