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I’m at my wits end and tired of being nervous about this issue during severe weather. The problem is that in the autumn when the walnuts fall to the ground, the ones that fall from the massive branch overhanging my house are constantly hitting my roof. Jenay – We looked and unfortunately, we donât have a Q&A that directly addresses your problem. In most cases this is correct, but there is a stipulation that says you have the right to remove those limbs as long as it does not cause “irreparable harm to the tree.”. If you have ever wondered whose responsibility it is to handle a fallen tree should it fall, we can help with some of the basic information. Our driveways are actually next to each other and when the tenant moved out years ago the landlords had to bring the house up to code before renting again. What is a ‘tree’? An insurer generally sets a limit of $20 million for “legal liability” to pay damages arising from a claim for an accident that results in death, bodily injury, or damage to property of a third party not living with you. I also live in Garden City, MI and I TOO have a rental next door. This case involved a review of landowners’ liability for damage caused by trees falling on (or from) their land. Now he has purchased the lot and he wants to site his garage directly under the tree and is concerned that it will drop leaves and debris on the roof. I planted trees 3′ off property line neighbor hit and killed 16 of them. If the tree dies or becomes a hazard, it is the joint responsibility of the owners to remove it and the cost is to be shared between them. Fallen Tree Damage—Who Pays? They seem to pick and choose what they want to be involoved in. I would consult with an attorney that specializes in property/real estate law. WHAT???!!! During storms over the last three years in Michigan my neighbors crappy trees have fallen over on my property and have caused damage. (To learn what you must prove in order to get actual damages, see Nolo’s article When a Neighbor Damages or Destroys Your Tree.) Often the only above ground sign we have is the presence of the fruiting bodies of the fungus in the form of mushrooms around the base of the tree or on the roots. You cannot force them to remove it unless your city has some type of ordinance that would allow the city to order its removal. In the early morning of 18 December 2009, a passing train collided with the stem of an ash tree that had fallen onto the railway line from the garden of an adjacent property. I spoke to the owner couple months ago about 2 dead trees on his property line but within inches of our property. One of the most common questions we get is – if a tree falls and damage occurs, who is responsible? In general, a person cannot be liable unless they could be charged with the responsibility to prevent the occurrence. I live in no. IS THIS MY RESPONSIBILITY?? Click cover to read now! In this case the tree becomes joint property and both parties must agree to remove or prune the tree before any work is performed. 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. He asked us to remove the tree for the first time before he purchased the lot, and we told him that we would work with anyone who bought the lot to trim the tree in a responsible way. It’s bad enough having to clean up all the fallen nuts and branches but the constant thud for days on end is unnerving. But, we hope that is not need and your conversation goes smoothly. For example, a healthy tree that falls over during a tornado, hurricane, wind storm or winter storm would not be the responsibility of the homeowner. I cannot believe if you have gone to GC Hall that they wouldn’t make the owner fix this!!! You may come home to find that your expectations have not been met. That would be considered an act of nature. Learn how your comment data is processed. I did cut some of the large branches off - none from the part that fell. I would suggest that both parties agree on which limbs are to be removed ahead of time and not just leave an open-ended statement saying that any limb that has crossed the property line can be removed. Deed Restrictions hello i own a building and lease it out to a business. She claimed she would come out to inspect and call me back. If these trees fall on our property are we liable for removal? Would you happen to know if I can have the portion of the branch that overhangs my roof trimmed backed? Often I am asked about legal issues and trees, such as “I want to remove several branches off my neighbor’s tree that are encroaching my property.” Many people are under the impression that it is all right to remove anything that is growing over their property. On the other hand, if you remove large limbs from medium or mature trees, it is unlikely that the tree will be able to replace them and the loss will be permanent. Even if the tree showed internal decay at the point of failure, without prior knowledge of this defect you would have to claim it on your own insurance and pay the deductible. Cleaning up the damage from a storm can be a difficult task, both physically and emotionally, and things can become especially tense when you discover that it's your neighbor's tree that damaged your house. Thanks for reading! As a homeowner, are you responsible for the damage caused by a tree on your property that hits your neighbor’s home or other insured structure, such as a garage or shed? the tree is on city and or state property in that little courtesy patch that everyone has out front. How close to the property line can a tree be planted? If you see any mushrooms or conks on any part of a tree, it would be wise to have the tree checked out by an arborist. Tree owners should be prepared to manage trees properly to reduce the risk of damage or harm, and any possibility of liability. I have a $500.00 deductible. (repairable) but someday it may be my home. The lot recently sold, and the new owner does not like the tree. Do you need to enter the tree from the neighbor’s property or can you do the work from your side? Am I responsible for a very tall dead tree that fell causing damage to the neighbors roof? Your email address will not be published. An example would be a dead or leaning tree with a large cavity and decay. Good luck and thanks for reading! Tall grass is mainly just an eye sore, not really causing damage to anyone elses property, yet they refuse to enforce her to maintain her tree roots that ARE actually causing damage to MY PROPERTY?!? In general is your problem fixed and if so how did you get a resolution? I thought perfect opportunity to ask her if she was willing to remove it. Every year, storms are responsible for felling countless trees and limbs. Hazardous treesAnother situation I run into often is when a neighbor has a hazardous tree that is threatening someone else’s property. In planned communities, the question of responsibility for damage caused by fallen trees is often posed to the owners association. I live in Michigan. Thanks for reading Michigan Gardener! Another issue becomes access. As is the law, it depends. This is a question best posed to an attorney specializing in real estate and property rights. This extends to damages if a tree on your property falls and damages … He says we do. I can use the firewood, and if she gives me permission, I plan to clean up the limb. My neighbor has a very large “dirty” black walnut tree that’s growing very near our lot line. If the trunk sits primarily on your property, then you are the owner. Did you have to take to court or anything? If the tree were to fall on or damage your property, you can claim it against their insurance and they would have to pay the deductible. Remember our, tree example at the beginning. State law provides that the owner of a tree whose branches overhang an adjoining landowner’s property is liable for damages caused by the overhanging branches. What you can do is have the tree inspected by an arborist and if it is a hazard, the arborist can write a report that clearly states the tree’s defects and why it is hazardous. The house next door is a rental with the same tenants since I bought the house. If the tree dies or becomes a hazard, it is the joint responsibility of the owners to remove it and the cost is to be shared between them. Possibly but the only way to know for sure is for you to contact an attorney that specializes in property rights/real estate matters. You might check with your municipality to see if they are any codes in your area to address this (unlikely). So now years later as predicted its tearing up my driveway. It’s a husband and wife. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. For a tree to be considered a known hazard it must evaluated by a qualified individual or be obvious to a reasonable person that the tree has a high chance of failure before it fails. He also expects me to pay for half the tree removal. This is pretty simple, even in law - anything that one would call a tree is a ’tree’ (ref: Bullock v Secretary of State for the Environment, 1980). Am I responsible for a very tall dead tree that fell causing damage to the neighbors roof? I own my home out right, and I have a massive tree in my front yard just past the point where the city would allow me to put up a fence. Rural Tree Liability. I just came across this website. As an arborist I am always looking for hazard trees and the signs of structural defects whenever I do an estimate because I can potentially be held liable if I visit a property and fail to recognize a hazard and it ends up causing damage in the future. Glad it was my shed, and just a couple holes on my greenhouse plastic. When I spoke with him he said he might check around to see if any friends need firewood but have not heard any other response. I asked why if I didn’t cut my lawn all summer long I would be given a citation? Most shrubs and many smaller ornamental trees will tolerate heavy pruning without damage and would most likely be able to regrow back to their original form if left alone. If she were to want the firewood, in Michigan, do one of us “own” the limb that has fallen to the ground on her property? Barbara- The Duty of Care Owed by Tree Owners Both occupiers and anyone with responsibility for trees e.g. We are continually picking up dead branches and since we have already paid for 2 trees that fell into our property from a different neighbor, we do not want to experience that again. The answer to this question lies in who owns the tree, and whose land it has fallen onto. AT large oak tree fell on my car and a coworkers car which totaled both. Best of luck! I have pictures of the tree and my garage on my cell phone. I enjoy turning deadfall into firewood and keeping my woods “clean”. Thanks. Now there is MORE damage to my garage and we are arguing about whose responsibility it is to remove the tree. I keep trying different people in all departments. When trees are close to your property line, then the law determines the owner by looking at the trunk of the tree. It grew really fast! You may come home to find that your expectations have not been met. Any help or suggestions would be appreciated. They are not attorneys and can’t tell you about the law, but if you are questioning if the tree is in need of removal or not due to disease, do look them up. My suggestion would be to contact a tree expert in your area and or a real estate attorney. This can be presented to the owner and if they ignore their responsibility they can potentially be held liable when the tree fails because it is now a known hazard. After the tree fell there were no roots attached to base at all and termite damage and fungus in hollow trunk was obvious. My neighbor has one very close, but the trunk is on his side. ), For an exact answer youâll need to consult with an attorney specializing in property/real estate matters. Anyway, part of me wondered if we have the same landlord? or are they more likely to state that they’re not obligated to trim, cut, and remove anything? We do not have zoning laws in our township, and the county seems to have no knowledge of any laws either. I would suggest that both parties agree on which limbs are to be removed ahead of time and not just leave an open-ended statement saying that any limb that has crossed the property line can be removed. Fortunately, in Florida, the law regarding fallen trees and the resulting damage is fairly clear. They may be able to give you an initial consultation at no cost. Most landscape or arborists carry liability insurance for just such circumstances, plus they’re usually well-versed in proper tree management, care and removal. If the trunk of the tree is on your property, you do; and if the trunk of the tree on your neighbors’ property, they do, no matter how much of the canopy overhangs the property line. I would consult with an attorney for an accurate answer. It was one of their tenants that planted it there and I requested that they didn’t knowing this would eventually be a problem. The top of the trunk of the tree is growing over the fence and literally into the top corner of my garage pushing the wall of my garage out. ... To determine who’s legally responsible for personal injuries and property damage caused by a fallen tree, we must first determine where the tree is located. I would suggest you check with an attorney with experience in property rights. Unfortunately, some of those fallen trees damage homes and other property. You might consider contacting an attorney that specializes in real estate and/or property rights. In the case of Shoemaker v. Harris, a tree located on Mr. Harris’ property fell ultimately landing on Mr. Shoemaker’s van. I have found Garden City to be NO HELP AT ALL!!!! I called her a few weeks ago and informed her again that now its doing damage not only to my driveway but hers as well. The second tree could fall on opposite corner or on our gazebo. In that case, the owner of the … In this case the tree becomes joint property and both parties must agree to remove or prune the tree before any work is performed. Best of luck. I always fear for the safety of my family with these trees hanging over my head., If I could move I would. A tree on my property lost some large limbs that landed on my neighbors property in a very wooded area of the property line. Even though the tree trunk is on your neighbor’s property, anything from the tree that falls onto your property is your … It was my tree, but is it now her limb once it became separated from the tree? I have mentioned multiple times to the managers about the potential threat these trees are. Might the city remove it if I ask? This issue sponsored by: This is were the law can get a little gray because removing similar types or amounts of limbs from different species of trees can have different effects. It just happened again for the THIRD time. The same portion of the land I’m not allowed to put a fences. is the city generally liable for the damage in such a case? Where do i find a statute or precident for liability for tree damage do to property owners neglect to take care of his damaged tree? This only applies if the tree is a known hazard – it will not apply to a healthy tree that fails in a storm. This tree is not near my neighbor’s house so is of no consequence to his roof. One often-overlooked legal issue related to storms and property damage in Maryland, Virginia, and DC is potential legal liability related to tree damage, at risk trees, or fallen trees. Therefore, if your neighbor’s tree drops a branch and causes injury to a vehicle, person, or structure, they are liable to you for the damages caused. Btw… I do cut and maintain my lawn âº The tree also damaged my car i only have liability insurance. One of the most common questions we receive on property line or easement related question is who is a responsible for trees on a property line. The tree was rotten at the bottom of the tree for many years and it set between the side walk and the street. Heath – I would strongly recommend you consult with a real estate attorney if you are interested in determining your rights. They can answer with far more certainty that we can. We have this stupid law where my homeowners insurance has to cover it. A large branch grows over the property line and above your neighbors land. The city may fine me for not maintaining the land the tree sits on. Well, I hope to hear back from you and hope you were able to fix your garage at HIS cost. If the tree were to fall on or damage your property, you can claim it against their insurance and they would have to pay the deductible. I live in a rural area. In this case the tree becomes joint property and both parties must agree to remove or prune the tree before any work is performed. You would not have to have a prior evaluation in order to claim it as a known hazard because most reasonable people would be able to tell that this is a danger and act accordingly by having it removed. When it comes to damage caused by falling trees, monies can be recovered in certain circumstances if the person responsible for the tree is found to have been negligent. Tree-Gate boils down to a legal duty of care. Some species are much more tolerant than others to pruning, and the size and amount that can be safely removed will vary greatly between them. Several years later, the a large branch comes off the tree and goes into the neighbors … Getting access to the treeAnother issue becomes access. Required fields are marked *. -Jonathon, i live in houghton lake my nieghbor has 27 trees ash trees that are dead or dying there is a discolored lok to some and some that are split to the top all this trees directly threaten my property and personal safty , i have talk with the land owner who said he would have them removed shook my hand and hasnt been back since i have many pics of these trees , to have already fell one hit my house and another fell on my car, am stage 4 lung cancer survior my township lake township has a ordiance but doesnt make anyone resposnabile to care for there land , since am on a very limited budget due to illness is there any one that can look at my trees for a small fee or for free , since this person is a wealthy person has the income to remove but fails to care for there land what would be my options , thanks in need of help ,, carl booth hought lake michigan lake township. 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