Neighborhoods full of stately trees are gorgeous and welcoming. Mature trees call to mind visions of tire swings, tree houses, and friendly waving neighbors. Unfortunately, all it takes is one storm and a fallen tree or tree limb to sour the relationship between neighbors.
When your neighbor’s tree is standing healthy and strong it is clear who owns the tree. With the possible exception of some overhanging limbs, the whole of the tree is contained on your neighbor’s property. The problem arises when an unusually strong storm hits your neighborhood bringing with it strong winds or tornadoes. The winds uproot your neighbor’s tree and it falls on your house. Depending on the size and location of the tree relative to your home, the damage can be devastating.
Who Is To Blame?
It Wasn’t My Tree, Why Do I Have To Pay?
Curtis Fay and his team showed up at our house today with all of the heavy equipment necessary to surgically remove a large tree leaning toward our house. I couldn’t stay the whole time and when I got home I surveyed the yard and you wouldn’t even know they were there. Except, of course, the tree vanished. Fast. Excellent clean-up. Great value.
Eric Fuhrman, Memphis, TN
Does The Neighbor’s Negligence Matter?
If you are truly worried that a tree on a neighboring property is posing a danger to your home or property, try talking to your neighbor about your concerns. Approach the conversation with your neighbor in good faith. Your neighbor may be unaware that their tree is in poor condition or has overgrown the property lines, they may not have the wiggle room in their budget to pay a professional tree service to correct the problem, or the tree could have sentimental value. Once you learn more about the situation you can proceed from that knowledge.
If a tight budget is a concern you may consider offering to take on hiring and paying for a professional tree service to evaluate the tree and correct the problem areas. Just bear in mind, you cannot force a person to remove a tree that is on their property.
Keep a paper trail record of all of your attempts to remedy the situation. If the worst-case scenario occurs, and the tree falls and damages your home, you will have a record of your proactive attempts to avoid this outcome. You will still need to file a claim with your homeowner’s insurance company to remove the tree and repair the damage to your home. However, your insurance company may want to recover their loss from your neighbor’s insurance if they can prove negligence was a factor.
What If The Tree Damages My Vehicles?
Very often cars that are parked outside bear the brunt of the damage when a tree falls. Again, like damage to your home, damage to your car is generally covered by your vehicle’s insurance policy. Unfortunately, damage of this sort will only be covered by a vehicle insurance policy that includes full comprehensive coverage. If you are still making payments on your car you will have a full coverage policy. Banks require full coverage to protect their investment in the vehicle until the note is paid off. Full comprehensive coverage is expensive and most people drop their car insurance down to a liability only policy once they make their last car payment. If your car insurance does not include full comprehensive coverage any damage done to your car will not be covered.
You may be able to recover your losses by filing a civil suit against your neighbor for the damages caused by their negligence, however you would need to have the documentation discussed earlier to make your case that the neighbor was made aware of the problems, and offered solutions which they refused.
What If I Live In A Rental Property?
Need To Trim Some Trees?
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