A large tree limb fell during a storm from my healthy, maintained maple tree and damaged both my own fence and a neighbor's fence. The owner of the tree may be responsible for damage caused to a neighbor’s property but only if it can be found that the tree’s owner failed to properly maintain the tree. This is true if the tree fell over due to an act of nature. If a tree straddles a boundary line between two properties, both neighbors can have legal rights and responsibilities, and both neighbors may be at risk of damage if the tree falls. Finally, check with your homeowner’s insurance carrier and make sure you review and are familiar with your policy(ies). Unless a fallen tree was located on common area owned by the association (and the association knew, or should have known, the tree posed a hazard prior to the storm) or the association is obligated per the terms of its governing documents to remove fallen trees on lots (this would be unusual), the responsibility for the fallen tree lies on one of the two lot owners (the owner of the lot the tree was … Typical examples are claims for damage to drains, driveways, foundations and fences. Who Covers Damages Caused By a Neighbor’s Fallen Tree? A prudent property owner will take reasonable action to ensure that no tree on their land will cause harm or damage to any neighbouring land or buildings. To start, the idea of who owns the tree comes into play; imagine your property line goes to infinity up and down. Again, it is possible to discuss joint cleanup with your neighbor, but it is not required by law. If the tree owner was on notice before the storm that the tree was likely to fall down, this defense may not be accepted by a court. However, generally a tribunal referee will not be able to hear claims when the dispute is over loss of light, sunshine or views, or involves removal or trimming of the tree. However, there is always a possibility during any story that your tree or a large tree limb could fall on your neighbor’s house or car. In this situation, the best practical solution is usually for the neighbors to share the cost of removing the boundary tree if it becomes unsafe. Inevitably these storms will lead to falling branches and sometimes, even the toppling of entire trees. to answer some of these questions and develop a dialogue to assist those in our community. As we are recovering from the effects of Hurricane Irma, there are many questions that seem to be common and reoccurring. Tree Roots and Property Damage: Whose Responsibility? … It is within the knowledge of all who have long resided in this area that we are occasionally subjected to winds of hurricane force, and that these winds have a tendency to topple trees, break limbs, and send unsecured object flying about. While generally the responsibility for damages caused by fallen trees or encroaching branches or roots depends on the health of the tree, the facts of each case are important. In the case of Shoemaker v. Harris, a tree located on Mr. Harris’ property fell ultimately landing on Mr. Shoemaker’s van. Generally, property owners are only responsible for damage caused by dead trees located on their property. All rights reserved. Your tree falls on your neighbor’s property causing damage to their property. This tree can cause damage to the neighboring property, the neighboring structure, and creates the expense of removing the tree. What is the legal position if a neighbour's tree is blown over in a gale and destroys my garden shed and everything in it?The replacement cost of the shed and contents would be about £500-600. At that point, the property owner whose property the tree resides on becomes responsible and as such, can be liable. Legally, a homeowner is allowed to remove any part of a neighbor’s tree, including the canopy and roots, that crosses the property line as long as it does not damage the tree. A common area of disagreement among neighbors is who is responsible for property damage resulting from fallen trees and branches. Replacing the trees themselves can be more complicated. This resource is meant for volunteer lawyers. We listen to our clients' concerns and work with them to build a strategy that meets their legal goals. Also, if a tree was dying, unstable or diseased … Although, generally, the starting point is that there is no liability for a fallen tree, our analysis is going to come under one of four categories: If you have specific questions about fallen trees, property and casualty insurance, or property law, please reach out to one of us. In reversing the lower court, the appellate court found there was no evidence that Mr. Harris knew of the tree’s dangerous condition (actual notice) or that the dangerous condition existed for such a length of time that Mr. Harris should have discovered the danger and removed it before it damaged his neighbor’s property (constructive notice). If the tree falls, it will most likely damage my fence and children's playhouse and swingset, not to mention it is a danger to anyone in my back yard. However, in general the damaged party still must prove that the owner was negligent… most often failure to properly maintain the tree. 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