I'm having some cognitive dissonance around my understanding of
Person A has a mostly-dead tree on their property - poised to fall
across the property line on to Person B's property.
The way I understand it, once the tree falls on to Person B's property,
it's 100% Person B's problem to remove it.
The dissonance comes when I think that, if Person B were to cut that
tree while it were standing, Person A would have legal recourse against
In other words, the one who has control over the tree has no liability
for the tree when it falls whereas the person whose property the tree
falls on has no control over the tree but suffers the damage.
Take it a step further where the tree falls on somebody's house or
Doesn't compute for me.... and it seems like legal stuff is, in the
final analysis, logical..... but this seems not.
What am I missing?
I think you are generally correct.
There may be a situation where fallen tree could cost insurance company
and insurance company may contact owner and pay them to remove the tree
which would be cheaper than their liability if the tree would fall on
their insured's house.
Currently watching one in my back yard where neighbor in back has tree
fallen on next door neighbors tree where broken branches are falling in
my back yard. Going to be fun to see what develops.
There are all kinds of rullings on things similar to this. Probably depends
on where you are at too. Around here the way I understand it,if the owner
of the tree knows it is rotten and ready to fall and it does, then it is his
problem, especially if it falls on your car or building. If the tree is in
good shape, then the other rulings apply.
Similar to the dumb animal act here. If a farmer's cow gets out and you hit
it with a car, you pay. If you can prove the animal has a history of
getting out several times , then the farmer pays for failing to take
reasonable care to keep the cow out of the road.
In my community, all I have to do is inform the city of the danger and
they will give the owner notice to have the danger taken care of.
If the owner does nothing, the city will take care of it and put the
charges on the owner's bill.
The law says that you can (but are not required to) trim any part of
your neighbor's tree that is on (or above) your property. If you do
not choose to do that, and the tree or a falling branch falls on your
property, you are responsible as you noted above. HOWEVER, if the
tree is known to be sick and ready to fall, your neighbor is
responsible to take care of it before it falls and does damage. If he
knows (or should have known) the tree was dangerous, he is responsible
to pay for the damage to your property. If he says it isn't dangerous
and you disagree, get an expert opinion and let the neighbor know.
About 1985 or '86 , my neighbor's tree fell on my house in a
wind/rain/thunder storm . I had asked him many times to do something , as it
was splitting more and more ... well , he didn't and it fell , damaging my
house . His insurance refused to cover , but my insco did pay out for the
loss . They then sued the homeowner and his insco to recover . He put up a
fence and acted thereafter as if I didn't exist . Small person , small loss
I think you'll find that if your neighbor's tree damages your property
that he's liable . I believe it's called tort liability ...
I agree with everything you said except the last paragraph. If the
tree appears to perfectly healthy and yet it comes down in, for
example, a tornado, the law considers that an "act of God". In that
case, everyone pays for their own damage. In your first paragraph,
that wasn't the case. Everyone knew it was splitting and you had
asked him to fix it. Therefore, he was liable.
The case presented by the OP is very similar . The tree is dead , it has a
high probability of causing damage . The homoaner has been made aware ...
therefore he is liable .
BTW , in re "Acts of God" , so all those people who lost everything in
say a tornado or hurricane are just SOL ?
On Fri, 08 May 2015 21:54:31 -0400, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
I think you guys are really saying the same thing:
- In the OPs case, where the tree is dead/known by the neighbor to be
dangerous, the neighbor could indeed be liable if it damages
- In the general case, of a tree that appears healthy, it's considered
an "act of god" and everyone cleans up their own damage (including the
cost of removing the portion of tree that ends up on their property;
my parents dealt with this after Sandy).
- "Act of god" doesn't mean insurance won't cover; someone's insurance
should cover in both cases. In the first, the neighbor's liability
insurance would be responsible (just as if someone slipped on his
unshoveled steps etc). In the second, the person who has the damage
would be covered by their own homeowner's insurance, if it covers such
(most do, but people should carefully look at any storm exclusions).
Even in the first case, the person who has the tree fall on their
property could call their own insurance first, and let them subrogate
to the tree's owner if negligence is found.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.