Occupiers Liability Acts

Under the Occupiers Liability Acts 1957 and 1984, "the occupier" of a site has a duty of care to take "reasonable steps" to minimise the risk to people and property resulting from trees on a site. This duty of care extends to anyone who comes onto the property and adjoining properties for any reason - often including trespassers.

In law either the owner of the land or the tenant, or both can be liable, depending on who is, or should be, managing the estate. What constitutes "reasonable steps" will depend on the type of "occupier". Regular visual inspections carried out by a private homeowner will probably be adequate, unless there is any reason to raise concern - such as fungal brackets or a warning from a neighbour. However it is clear that to be able to demonstrate "reasonable steps to minimise risk", commercial occupiers of property must undertake regular tree hazard inspections, record the results and take remedial action where necessary.

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