General Question

breedmitch's avatar

If your neighbor's tree falls onto your property, they are responsible for removal and payment of any damages, right?

Asked by breedmitch (12131points) March 13th, 2010

We just had a forty foot tree come down onto our patio (and the backyard next to ours). The tree is in the back yard of a co-op building. Is the co-op responsible for removing it and replacing the two fences the tree took out, as well as any other damages?

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16 Answers

faye's avatar

In my province, they are.

lillycoyote's avatar

Yes, I believe they would be, their insurance should cover it.

Shae's avatar

I had a neighbor that wanted me to remove some tall pine trees b/c he was afraid a tornado or hurricane would bring them down on his house. I called my insurance agent and she told me it would be an act of God and I would not be responsible for the damages.

escapedone7's avatar

It depends I think. When one came down here it was during a terrible storm and the insurance companies called it an “act of God” rather than negligence on the tree owners part. We had been declared a disaster area or something though. I got confused about what rules were in place. We just broke out a chainsaw and started cleaning up. I didn’t want to spend weeks figuring it out.
Yeah what @shae said.
But I don’t know what constitutes and act of God. Hurricane, tornado, or just nasty storm?

jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

I’m not so sure on this one. I’m assuming you have homeowners insurance, which will initially pay for the damages resulting from the tree. In order to account for your likely rising deductible, you may seek reimbursement from the co-op, which they may be willing to pay, or they may not. If they refuse, it could require legal action, which could go either way. If they were negligent, and it was an overgrown, dead, or diseased tree, you are likely to recover costs. If the tree was healthy, they may be found as not at fault.

I don’t think there is a clear cut yes/no answer to this question, I think it will really come down to the specifics of the situation. Perhaps it will be best to contact your insurance agent and ask them what steps to take.

I don’t know if this was very helpful, but best of luck on the situation. These matters can be tricky. :)

jca's avatar

we just had some trees trimmed on our property and a tree removed, and the tree guy told me this: if your tree falls and damages the neighbor’s property, the neighbor is responsible for removing it, and you are not responsible for any damages the tree caused, because the insurance company considers it an Act of God. However, if the neighbor writes you a letter ahead of time, telling you that the tree looks like it is sick or weak, and then said tree falls on neighbor’s house, then it is not an Act of God. To cover myself, i just recently wrote the neighbor a letter about a tree in his yard, that has a vertical crack down the length of the trunk, just in case, because if this tree comes down it will land on my car, and i don’t want to not have the insurance company have any excuse not to pay. by the way i live in NY state if that makes a difference. these laws may vary state to state.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

Ditto what @jca said.

You are within your rights to trim anything that overhangs your yard without asking permission.

mrrich724's avatar

Sometimes you have to take things to extreme circumstances to illustrate a more simple point.

If their dog died in your yard, who would you think is responsible to extract the remains? I would assume them. So my guess is that it is no different for a tree.

jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

@mrrich724 There’s a difference in how the dog vs. tree came to be in the neighbors yard.

If the dog was loose due to the owner’s negligence (not keeping an eye on it, not fixing a broken fence, etc.) then the neighbors should be liable. However, the tree could have been blown over buy a strong gust of wind. Assuming that the tree was not dead or diseased and simply unkempt by the neighbor, then they would not be at fault for the tree falling over.

Your_Majesty's avatar

I don’t think tree is considered as property in US(especially when it’s done by nature). Unlike dog,if your neighbor’s dog bite you then the owner would have to responsible for that.

john65pennington's avatar

Yes they are liable and don’t forget to set your clocks ahead one hour ahead before you go to bed. its daylight savings time again.

Coloma's avatar

I like the ‘act of god’ note. lolol

Really…it is SO true…we assign all this ownership crap to even the trees….I get it, of course…but it alway’s makes me laugh. YOUR tree fell in my yard! hahahaha

susanc's avatar

@jca – in my state too.
It seems odd that God is given responsibility only for undocumented trees. Maybe it’s an insurance dodge.

MRSHINYSHOES's avatar

Yes, they are. And if your neighbour’s tree happens to encroach on your property, you have the right to prune the branches and give them back to your neighbour because the pruned branches are still theirs! Lol.

mcmildd's avatar

Basically if the tree falls during a storm onto the neighbors property and damages something it is called an act of god. The tree owner is not responsible. If the tree owner is cutting the tree down and it falls and damages the neighbors property he is fully and legally responsible.

breedmitch's avatar

Over a year later update: act of god. Our insurance paid some. We paid the rest.

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