legal responsibility for fallen tree damage michigan

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Rising from the ashes: Choosing a replacement for your ash 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. After the tree fell there were no roots attached to base at all and termite damage and fungus in hollow trunk was obvious. Tree owners should be prepared to manage trees properly to reduce the risk of damage or harm, and any possibility of liability. It’s a husband and wife. Even though the tree trunk is on your neighbor’s property, anything from the tree that falls onto your property is your … So one day they were actually having the driveway filled to even the slabs. 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. I planted trees 3′ off property line neighbor hit and killed 16 of them. In general is your problem fixed and if so how did you get a resolution? As is the law, it depends. She claimed she would come out to inspect and call me back. 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. -Jonathon. Before it fell the neighbor would pick up the small branches and pile them next to the tree. I have spoke to management, they will do nothing. The roots adjacent to side walk had been cut last year when side walk section was replaced due to buckling. We do not have zoning laws in our township, and the county seems to have no knowledge of any laws either. 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.”. In the case of Shoemaker v. Harris, a tree located on Mr. Harris’ property fell ultimately landing on Mr. Shoemaker’s van. The house next door is a rental with the same tenants since I bought the house. How much can I sue him for per tree? Another situation I run into often is when a neighbor has a hazardous tree that is threatening someone else’s property. I did cut some of the large branches off - none from the part that fell. But STILL, NO responsibility to any damage that she’s causing to my property. He collects the rent money every month but doesn’t want to maintain his property. Fallen tree dispute. I have a $500.00 deductible. Every year, storms are responsible for felling countless trees and limbs. 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). Last year he promised to remove the tree and still hasn’t. Most trees have a replacement value of between $500 and $2500. I recently purchased the home and have only owned it for about 3 months. A common situation is a tree or any portion of its base that is growing directly on a property line. which hang directly over my roof on both sides. They seem to pick and choose what they want to be involoved in. Do you need to enter the tree from the neighbor’s property or can you do the work from your side? Also, the size of the limb is very important. I paid it twice in the past but I am JUST LIVID that it has happened again. I cannot believe if you have gone to GC Hall that they wouldn’t make the owner fix this!!! What are the rules for this? The lot recently sold, and the new owner does not like the tree. 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. 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. If the tree was on your land and fell onto your land, then it will be your responsibility to remove it, or to arrange for its removal. I’ll get right down to it. -Jonathon. That would be considered an act of nature. A tree in the back forty with no targets and little chance of people being present could not be deemed a hazard no matter what shape it is in or how dead it is. Traditionally, property owners were not responsible for damage caused by falling tree limbs, toppled trees, and other natural occurrences on … This extends to damages if a tree on your property falls and damages … I recently purchased the home and have only owned it for about 3 months. Recently, he asked us to remove the tree, and we told him that we would work with him to have the branches that overhang his lot trimmed (as we told him the first time), but he appears to have hired someone to clear the lot and has marked two of the major sections of the tree (that branch out from the trunk about 5-6 feet from the ground) for removal, amounting to about 1/3 of the tree. Several years later, the a large branch comes off the tree and goes into the neighbors … In this case the tree becomes joint property and both parties must agree to remove or prune the tree before any work is performed. We have this stupid law where my homeowners insurance has to cover it. The second tree could fall on opposite corner or on our gazebo. The same portion of the land I’m not allowed to put a fences. Thanks for reading Michigan Gardener! 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. There is likely not a black and white answer to your question. 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. Most landscape or arborists carry liability insurance for just such circumstances, plus they’re usually well-versed in proper tree management, care and removal. Thanks for reading! They can provide guidance on ordinances, etc. Florida Law Florida law puts the responsibility for fallen trees on the homeowner. 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. I have pictures of the tree and my garage on my cell phone. Generally such failure is considered to be “negligence” and a negligence owner can be liable for all damage resulting from such negligence. I don’t think it’s fair that I pay for any of this since it is not my tree. I would consult with an attorney for an accurate answer. Since the amount of money involved could be significant, I think the best course for you would be to contact a real estate attorney to find out what your rights are. Or am I still responsible for getting it out of there? When trees are close to your property line, then the law determines the owner by looking at the trunk of the tree. We have a very old maple – probably more that 75 years old and about 7-8 feet in diameter that turns out to be at least a foot over the lot line. Thanks for reading and best of luck. Learn how your comment data is processed. They have a big tree in their backyard. Neighboring landowners have legal rights regarding adjacent trees and tree … I’m at my wits end and tired of being nervous about this issue during severe weather. It grew really fast! Am I responsible for a very tall dead tree that fell causing damage to the neighbors roof? Just an FYI, folks- MSU-Extension has forestry experts in some of its county offices and, if not, can refer you to the nearest one. Shared treesA common situation is a tree or any portion of its base that is growing directly on a property line. -Jonathon, Your email address will not be published. What is a ‘tree’? I can use the firewood, and if she gives me permission, I plan to clean up the limb. Would that make the city responsible? In planned communities, the question of responsibility for damage caused by fallen trees is often posed to the owners association. I have found Garden City to be NO HELP AT ALL!!!! Good luck. They may be able to give you an initial consultation at no cost. 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. Financially, I am unable. Rural Tree Liability. During storms over the last three years in Michigan my neighbors crappy trees have fallen over on my property and have caused damage. One of the hardest hazards to detect beforehand is root rot on trees because the damage is below ground and can only be seen if the soil around the base of the tree is removed and the roots inspected. 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. Michigan Tree Damage Laws In Michigan, if someone damages your tree, you can recover your actual damages (usually, what you paid for the tree or what it would cost to replace the tree). If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me via my website at www.lawrefs.com or directly via email. Do you need to enter the tree from the neighbor’s property or can you do the work from your side? What can I do? The tree was on curb side of Dearborn residential street. I asked why if I didn’t cut my lawn all summer long I would be given a citation? My neighbor has one very close, but the trunk is on his side. The tree also damaged my car i only have liability insurance. Btw… I do cut and maintain my lawn ☺ 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. Preston-We would recommend starting a dialog with the deaprtment of public services in for your municipality and more specifically the forestry department. 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. He also expects me to pay for half the tree removal. Hi Jenay. This only applies if the tree is a known hazard – it will not apply to a healthy tree that fails in a storm. It was one of their tenants that planted it there and I requested that they didn’t knowing this would eventually be a problem. 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. Best of luck. On second thought maybe I can…after all they’ve just scrugged off my situation as well. (repairable) but someday it may be my home. I live in no. This case involved a review of landowners’ liability for damage caused by trees falling on (or from) their land. I have several posts on the internet that state where a tree stump comes out of the ground is whose property it is on. Jenay – We looked and unfortunately, we don’t have a Q&A that directly addresses your problem. Sadly, a lot of people either don’t realise or ignore the fact that they have a legal responsibility to ensure that all trees within their property boundaries are safe and healthy, and will not fall on passers-by or damage other people’s property. You may come home to find that your expectations have not been met. Fallen Tree Damage—Who Pays? Falling branches is a fairly common occurrence that is usually hard if not impossible to predict. Fallen Tree Damage—Who Pays? The other question I was wondering even tho your post is from 2012 is were you ever able to get the city involved to make your neighbor fix or remove his tree? So now years later as predicted its tearing up my driveway. Ornamental or landmark trees can have a value of between $20,000 and $60,000. Another example is when my yard was flooding they not only told me I had to fix it myself, how to fix, and that I can’t cause flooding or damage to my neighbors yard but I would also have to get a permit to do so! That being said, homeowners who do their own tree removal are responsible for their workmanship and any damage that may occur due to lack of experience or negligence. 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. My tree issue is their tree’s roots are lifting the slabs of my driveway and will eventually cause it to crack and break. I’d like the tree gone. The tree was rotten at the bottom of the tree for many years and it set between the side walk and the street. the tree is on city and or state property in that little courtesy patch that everyone has out front. An exception to this, attorney Steve Goldman with The Goldman Firm said, is if the tree is visibly diseased or damaged. Deed Restrictions hello i own a building and lease it out to a business. Glad it was my shed, and just a couple holes on my greenhouse plastic. If you do harm the tree, you could be found liable for up to three times the value of the tree. 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? Put the issue back in their hands and see how it plays out. They often can answer questions about tree health. My suggestion would be to contact a tree expert in your area and or a real estate attorney. I would suggest you check with an attorney with experience in property rights. AT large oak tree fell on my car and a coworkers car which totaled both. Barbara- 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. -Jonathon. 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. You might consider contacting an attorney that specializes in real estate and/or property rights. You might check with your municipality to see if they are any codes in your area to address this (unlikely). Thanks for reading! Just because you cut some branches off does not mean you own the tree; and if there is a question about ownership, you should not be submissive. 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? Tree-Gate boils down to a legal duty of care. (I can’t imagine this situation will be contentious with good communication, neither one of us probably care enough to argue about it, I’m just curious before I begin the conversation. I keep trying different people in all departments. Required fields are marked *. You may come home to find that your expectations have not been met. In Georgia, different laws apply when a tree is located in a rural versus an urban area. Removing a limb that is very large may cause a wound that will never close, and form a cavity or structural defect in the future. Coverage E has predetermined dollar limit stated within … Could i hold the city responsible because the tree was rotten at the bottom? 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. Suggest that the neighbor present the claim to their insurance company and go from there. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. WHAT???!!! My question is: is there a Michigan statue or law that specifically states this to be indeed the law? I have also read that this is accepted as law. Might the city remove it if I ask? Your email address will not be published. Hazardous treesAnother situation I run into often is when a neighbor has a hazardous tree that is threatening someone else’s property. 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. In general, a person cannot be liable unless they could be charged with the responsibility to prevent the occurrence. From there, Steve illustrates the issues involved with pruning and trimming in those situations. You may not go onto the neighbor's property or destroy the tree. 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. Additionally, in order to prevail on a claim for dead tree damage, the claiming party needs to establish notice of the existence of the dead tree. Click cover to read now! In 2009 I purchased a hud house in Garden City, MI. Copyright © 1996-2020 Michigan Gardener. You cannot force them to remove it unless your city has some type of ordinance that would allow the city to order its removal. Another 10″ dia, give or take, I felt it hit the ground. or are they more likely to state that they’re not obligated to trim, cut, and remove anything? Unfortunately, some of those fallen trees damage homes and other property. 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 legal line of property and anything vertically above that determines who is responsible for the tree. Obviously she has not. All rights reserved. Dale- The insurance company is usually responsible for taking care of the damages. I’m sorry to hear about your situation. I bought my home and had a new driveway poured way before the tree was even planted there. I live in a mobile home community, and have 2 huge maple tree’s on both sides of my home. In some cases this would be tolerable, but if the tree is stressed or in competition with other trees, the heavy pruning could indeed damage it. Possibly but the only way to know for sure is for you to contact an attorney that specializes in property rights/real estate matters. However, the law only allows tree trimming and tree cutting up to the property line. 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 the tree is situated on rented land then the occupier of that land may be liable if they have not taken reasonable steps to put a stop to the nuisance, i.e. You are therefore, technically exercising the self-help remedy of ‘abating a nuisance’ by cutting the offending branches off. Sorry we couldn’t be of more assistance. 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. You might consider contacting a real estate attorney who can advise you on your options. It’s bad enough having to clean up all the fallen nuts and branches but the constant thud for days on end is unnerving. a tenant or local council, must take reasonable steps to manage and reduce risks. 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. Every case is different. Michigan. A large branch grows over the property line and above your neighbors land. Any help or suggestions would be appreciated. As you might note when you begin your research in this area, much of the law concerning one’s responsibility for trees can be found at the state and local levels. 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. Many tree care companies will not work on neighbor’s trees without written permission from the owner. Thanks for reading Michigan Gardener. Now there is MORE damage to my garage and we are arguing about whose responsibility it is to remove the tree. Who owns a tree growing on a boundary? They should be able to help you. Property owners should regularly survey trees with the benefit of professional advice, to check whether they are causing damage, or likely to cause damage to surrounding property. Well, I hope to hear back from you and hope you were able to fix your garage at HIS cost. You cannot force them to remove it unless your city has some type of ordinance that would allow the city to order its removal. 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. 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. 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. Owners both occupiers and anyone with responsibility for fallen trees on the fence line but within inches of our.! Back in their hands and see how it plays out has one very close but. The offending branches off of me wondered if we have the same portion of its base that not! Neighboring property can often cause damage and fungus in hollow trunk was obvious,,! 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