B.C. woman loses bid to have neighbour pay for garden shed damage

Neighbour shed dispute

B.C.’s Civil Resolution Tribunal has rejected a bid by a B.C. woman to have a neighbour pay for damage she alleges their snow-covered hedge did to her shed.

Marilyn Jarvis claimed $1,040 in shed damages by neighbour Kelly Davenport’s overhanging hedge. The amount is for repairing the shed and trimming the hedge’s encroaching branches, she claimed.

According to the May 13 decision, Jarvis said a heavy December 2022 snowfall weighed branches down leading them to snap and fall on the shed’s roof.?Jarvis said she and her husband had warned Davenport about potential damage to the shed and had requested the overhanging branches be trimmed.

Davenport said if the shed were damaged it was likely caused by the weight of the snow on the shed’s roof.

“While she does not set out the legal basis for her claim, I find Mrs. Jarvis alleges Mrs. Davenport’s failure to trim and maintain her hedge either caused a nuisance or was negligent,” tribunal member Megan Stewart said.

Stewart did find there were photos in evidence showing a taped gap in the roof panels, which could be the result of damage.

Jarvis submitted a Jan. 2, 2023 invoice for shed repair work and the removal of encroaching hedge branches. 

Davenport, though, challenged the invoice.

“She says it was likely created by the Jarvis’s friend, and the figures are inflated,” Stewart said. “I find Mrs. Davenport’s assertions speculative, and I give them no weight.”

While the tribunal found there is evidence of damage to the shed’s roof, Jarvis did not prove it was caused by overhanging hedge branches.

“The repair invoice does not indicate the damage’s cause, and none of the photos show hedge branches on a damaged roof,” Stewart said. “The one photo of the gap in the roof panels does not show any branches in the vicinity. A photo showing a cut branch on the shed’s roof does not show any roof damage.”?

Stewart found there was insufficient evidence to show Davenport’s alleged failure to trim her overhanging hedge branches likely caused damage to Jarvis’s shed.

“Since Mrs. Jarvis has not proven causation, I find her claim must fail,” the tribunal ruled.

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