Your Tree Falls on a Neighbor's Shed

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Art wrote:

Trees are definitely property and often have significant value. In most jurisdictions there is also law that covers trees near property lines. For example, where I live a neighbor may remove any limbs from a tree whose trunk is on his neighbor's property if those limbs overhang his property.
My general understanding of how "it works" related to tree damage is that if a tree falls in a significant wind storm onto a neighbor's property, the homeowner with the damage collects from his own insurance. If a tree is clearly diseased or dead/damaged and is a known threat to do damage beforehand that could be another story. If the tree owner is shown to have known about the tree's condition and did nothing about the tree, then if it falls the damaged homeowner or his insurance company may well be succesful suing for the damage. As noted though anyone can bring a suit in either situation....
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wrote:

Then what are they? Are they real property?
Where I live, we have retailers who sell trees. You pay for a tree...you take it home. If someone steals it from you on the way home, they've committed petty theft or a felony.
Is it real property? If you plant a tree, does your real estate taxes go up?

Could very well be.

Ah...the name calling plateau. This time, I'm kinda surprised.
Have a nice week...
Trent
What do you call a smart blonde? A golden retriever.
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A piece of wood you bring home from the lumber yard is personal property until you fasten it securely to your house and then it is a fixture and in most states stays with the house when you sell it if the contract doesn't say otherwise. So yes, when you plant a tree in your yard it may no longer be personal property.

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On Fri, 09 Jul 2004 03:30:57 GMT, "Art"

But not always, of course. So what point are you tryin' to make?

Since its not intellectual property, it can only be real...or personal.
I think yer tryin' to lump 'personal' and 'real' and 'fixture' into one package. They are each autonomous.
Anyway...that's not the issue.
My statement was/is that, if a large tree on my property that I own falls onto the neighbor's property, I still own the tree...and have a right to claim the wood.
The wood from some trees can be worth thousands of dollars.
Have a nice week...
Trent
What do you call a smart blonde? A golden retriever.
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wrote:

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I have seen people dig up trees and move them to a new house.
I've also seen people steal trees.
Of course they're "property".
The "which property the tree is on/ownership" bit mostly applies _before_ the tree falls down.
--
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
It's not just anyone who gets a Starship Cruiser class named after them.
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A cousin in Tennessee had a neighbors tree fall and damage the cousins home. I figured it was cut n dried..Neighbor at fault=Neigbors insurance, right ?
Wrong, neighbor refused to claim on his insurance or pay for damage, cousin had to take him to court.
Strangely, the judge ruled for the neighbor. It wasnt enough that the tree was obviously a hazard and fell, doing damage. Apparently to be liable, the neighbor needed to KNOW (in advance of the 'falling') that it was a hazard. I hope if I m ever sued, I get that judge.
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On Thu, 08 Jul 2004 02:41:46 GMT, "Art"

Actually, Federal laws governing natural resources could apply. Doubtful any fool would try, but technically claims could be made under Federal logging statutes. Which in certain areas may mean that no wood could be harvested. :)
Jeff

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Doubtful. I guarantee the federal statute has a mindboggling definition of a forest and his house is not likely to be in one. Now if we were talking about damage to wetlands it would be a different story.
wrote:

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scribbled this interesting note:

Around here when the tree crosses the property line the neighbor can quite correctly cut it back to the property line and the tree owner has no say in the matter...
-- John Willis (Remove the Primes before e-mailing me)
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On Wed, 07 Jul 2004 21:49:04 -0500, John Willis

That's not the same scenario. And the owner ALWAYS has a say. He can go to court and get a restraining order...and then let the court decide. This recently happened in my area...where the local electric utility was temporarily restrained from trimming trees they owned...due to local residents' objections. They were also restrained from trimming any trees/branches that had grown onto their vertical right-of-way.
And if trimming the tree causes damages later...by disrupting the balance of the tree or by causing physical (health) damage to the tree, the trimming neighbor can be held liable.
In my locale, you are not allowed to cut the roots of any tree where the roots are more than 2" in diameter...without a permit from the city...which includes inspection.
Again...if the property of neighbor A is involuntarily transported onto the property of neighbor B, neighbor A doesn't automatically lose ownership of that property. He has the right to reclaim that property.
Picture a tornado that gently picks up a large camper and sets it in a neighbor's yard. I've seen this happen. The scenario with the tree is no different.
Have a nice week...
Trent
What do you call a smart blonde? A golden retriever.
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Last year a huge ash tree split in a storm and most of it hit my house, causing significant damage. My insurance agent and the adjuster both said, essentially, once it crossed over the fence, it became my tree, not the neighbor's, and my insurance coverage deals with it, not his (though he sustained some property damage as well, covered by his carrier).
--
Chuck Reti
Detroit MI
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If your tree falls on the neighbors shed, and no one hears, did it make any noise?
If your tree falls on the neighbors shed, and no one sees, is there any liability?
P.s. Go talk to your neighbor, and ask what he wants the two of you to do about it. We can't answer your question until you talk to your neighbor.
--

Christopher A. Young
Learn more about Jesus
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Dave wrote:

This happened to me when I lived in Virginia...but a pine toppled over and creamed my crappy old shed. My neighbor was outside looking at it before I was and immediately apologized for it. He asked me what I wanted to do....I more or less told him that the shed was a POS and if he'd help me move the contents of the shed to the garage I'd be happy. We then cut up the tree and hauled it off. The next day we had a cookout with plenty of beer. When I decided to put a nicer framed shed in he was there helping; I returned the favor when he put one it.
What comes around goes around. If ya'll get along ok (and it's nice to get along with your neighbors) then talk to him. He might be willing to let you fix the damage. Ask him if he'd like to help or supervisor. You buy the beer. It's amazing what a six pack will do.
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On 7 Jul 2004 11:23:02 -0700, galt snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Dave) wrote:

What caused the tree to fall?
Have a nice week...
Trent
What do you call a smart blonde? A golden retriever.
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Build a tree house.

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Here in Maryland there is no liability to the neighbor if it is your tree. There insurance is designed to cover it. I'd suggest you call your agent and find out if that is the case. Then, if you think your neighbor will never talk to you again if you don't help, offer minimal assistance. But beware of setting a precedent!

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I would hope that helping your neighbour isn't a precedent at all.

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What I meant was: in terms of insurance things can get tricky. If your neighbor comes to you and gets angry because their insurance has to cover your tree, as the law states here, then I'd be mighty careful the extent to which I'd go to help out. A goodwill gesture may be appropriate. But a neighbor like that would manipulate you thereafter in a myriad of ways if you weren't careful.

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galt snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Dave) wrote in message

Hi Dave,
I was a homeowners' isurance adjuster in New Mexico for about 8 years. Here's my advice:
If the damage is to the extent and expense that you can't handle it "between friendly neighbors," then its best to call your insurance agent.
The claim representative will investigate and determine if your HO policy's liability coverages will can pay for the damage to the shed.
If it was, say, a healthy tree by all indications, and it fell over unexpectedly or in a wind or other natural event, then it would appear that you are not negligent and your liability coverage would owe nothing to your neighbor.
The neighbor would have to file a claim under his own insurance policy, and he would be responsible for his deductible.
If you neighbor sued you for the damage to his shed, then your liability coverage would pay for your defense in court and costs (up to your liablity policy's limit) to dispose of the lawsuit.
That's why it's important to consider reporting the loss to your agent, because if you are sued a long time down the road, the insurance company could possibly deny coverage because you didn't report the loss in a reasonably timely manner--or, if so much time has passed that you and your neighbor forget the exact day it happened, then there is a risk that the date of loss you report could fall on a day that you happened not to have coverage (say if your policy lapsed temporarily because of a payment snafu; or wasn't in effect at the time). Weird things like that happen.
Now, if the tree was old and rotten, for example, and you had knowledge it could possibly be a hazard to your neighbor's property, and you never got around to doing anything about it, then you'd likely be liable for the damage and your liablity coverage would pay for it.
If your liability coverage paid for the damage, there would be no deductible that you or your neighbor would be responsible for.
A loss like this typically wouldn't raise your premiums-unless, while the claim rep or agent is inspecting the loss, they find you've made improvements to the property (example: new garage, add on to the house, etc. and claim rep realizes you are obviously underinsured).
Also, a loss like this won't typically result in cancellation of your policy--unless during the inspection the claim rep or agent finds your home is a poor insurable risk: if it is , say, neglected, in poor condition (a rotten roof; a liablity hazard like an open, swimming pool half-filled with green moldy water).
Having said all this, HO policies often have an additional coverage under the liablity portion of the contract: It is called Damage to Property of Others, and it is payable even if there was no liablity on your part. It is typically very limited, to $500, usually.
There's a couple of reasons for this coverage: to make small claims against you "go away," even though you are not liable (to avoid the expense of lawsuits). And in a sense, it's kind of there if you feel "morally obligated" for a loss, even though you are not legally obligated to pay (the tree hitting a neighbors shed is a classic case of this). The claim rep can pay your neighbor under this coverage, and it can pay or go toward paying your neighbor's deductible, for example.
And that keeps you and your neighbor on friendly terms, hopefully :-)
And finally: To me, it sounds strange that there would be states that say if the tree is yours, you are automatically liable. Think what a legal nightmare that would be in a major wind event--your trees flying around and hitting a half dozen neighbor's houses. Would it be fair for your insurance policy to pay all your neighbors' damage? Just a thought.
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