Big Blue Interactive The Corner Forum  
Back to the Corner
 

Archived Thread

NFT: Fallen Tree Responsibility

KeoweeFan : 9/13/2017 10:31 am
We had a huge tree (175') uproot (Irma) that was 10 inside our property line. I've a tree surgeon coming over and I planned to pay for the entire removal as well as at least two of my neighbor's trees that were damaged.

I offered to bring some pole saws over so we could clean up whatever branches we could reach were around his house. No actual damage to his house fortunately except for 1 gutter downspout.

When I get there he gives me 2 50 gallon drums and has spent the next two hours sweeping leaves from his driveway while I cut off branches on his property and pile them on my side. I am pissed.

As I said I've elected to pay the tree surgeon but what are the legal responsibilities?
1. For cleanup on his side of the line (which I'm doing)
2. Subsequent damage to his trees. (several)
3. Gutter repair. (When the opposite situation occurred my agent told me for insurance property damage, it's not where a tree starts but here it lands that determines whose insurance pays.)

Any opinions? Right now I'm willing to pay hardball.
Just to be clear....  
Keith : 9/13/2017 10:33 am : link
So a large tree that was on your property fell onto his property and did some damage to his trees. You are offering to pay and clean up your damaged tree as well as the trees that your tree damaged that were on his property? Is that correct?
Not sure what the law is where you are but in GA  
superspynyg : 9/13/2017 10:35 am : link
falling trees are considered an "Act of GOD" and is the responsibility of the homeowner where the damage occurred not the owner of the tree. Unless the neighbor has raised concerns of the falling tree due to it leaning or roots or it rotting. Then he must send you a certified letter asking for the removal or have an arborist come inspect the tree and document that it is going to fall and cause damage to your house/property.

You did the right thing as a neighbor in offering to pay for the removal. If he is being a jerk then consult a tree company (that has an arborist) and get the official state stance.
Assuming it wasn't a  
Andy Sky : 9/13/2017 10:36 am : link
clearly dead or damaged tree, it is my understanding that you are generally not responsible for anything that falls beyond the property line, but I'm not certain.
Why are you pissed?  
jcn56 : 9/13/2017 10:36 am : link
I'm not clear on that part - was there something you were expecting from him?
Sounds like he was expecting the neighbor to assist  
Keith : 9/13/2017 10:37 am : link
with the tree cleanup, but instead the neighbor was busy cleaning his driveway.
I would make sure to get clear pictures  
Andy Sky : 9/13/2017 10:38 am : link
of the entire situation before I did any further clean up.
RE: Sounds like he was expecting the neighbor to assist  
jcn56 : 9/13/2017 10:38 am : link
In comment 13597085 Keith said:
Quote:
with the tree cleanup, but instead the neighbor was busy cleaning his driveway.


Unless I read wrong - he offered to have the trees removed. Do they even need to be cleaning up branches at this point? Why not wait for those guys to haul the whole thing away?
Generally,  
FranknWeezer : 9/13/2017 10:45 am : link
you're only responsible for the tree on your side of the property. Acts of God won't normally attach liability to tree owner. That is, unless a) this was not a 'natural growth tree'...e.g. you planted it and it fell b/c of not being well-rooted or other negligence on your part; b) the tree prior to the storm posed a danger to your neighbor's property (was rotten, leaning, etc.) and he put you on notice of the issue. On the flip-side, your neighbor had the right to address any problem with the tree affecting their side of the property line, before the incident. In other words, if my neighbor has a tree with a heavy limb hanging across their fence and over my garage, I have the right to cut down the limb to the property line in order to protect my property (on the front end, before an incident occurs).
what where  
jtfuoco : 9/13/2017 10:49 am : link
the 50 gallon drums for? In my experience your better off not starting a war with you neighbor over some trees these things tend to spiral of out control and only make you life a living hell.
A tree fell on my house during Sandy  
Maximus, Esq. : 9/13/2017 11:04 am : link
It was from the town lot next to me. I was responsible for the damage to my house and my own cleanup. Whether my home owner insurer sought subrogation rights against my neighbor (the town) I'm not sure. That said, my insurer paid for the damage to my home and your neighbor's insurer would likely do the same.
My neighbor once had a dead tree that was leaning  
GentleGiant : 9/13/2017 11:16 am : link
precariously toward my property. I wanted him to cut it down, he told me that if I wanted it down I could do it. I found out from my town that even if the tree fell and damaged my house the only way he could be held liable is if, prior to the act, I had sent him a legal notice about a dangerous tree on his property. I end up taking the tree down and paying for it, not worth the hassle of forcing him to do it. In the end he offered to pay half and I told him to forget about. The good will it generated in the years after more than paid me back.
Waiting for the  
well...bye TC : 9/13/2017 11:37 am : link
"So this neighbor of mines fucking tree falls on my property and now he expects me to clean this shit up" thread...
A tree  
afann : 9/13/2017 11:40 am : link
Also fell into my house from sandy. I still my neighbors tree. I was responsible for everything damaged on my property. It's not who owns the tree but where it falls.
Sorry for the late response  
KeoweeFan : 9/13/2017 12:13 pm : link
I was out cutting branches.
Keith your summary of the situation is correct.
Yes, I was pissed that he did not offer to help with cleanup on his property.
Tree trimmers estimate hours the job will take so if I can safely do some of the grunt work and trim top branches that are now low to the ground I can save some money.
- I was pretty sure I am not responsible for damage to his house. (e.g. the downspout.) but wasn't clear on who had to pay for removing his trees (big ones) that were damaged by the tree from my property.
BTW this is South Carolina in a heavily wooded area.
It would appear as though your neighbor  
Keith : 9/13/2017 12:30 pm : link
is of the belief that it's your responsibility being that it was your tree. It would also appear as though this was your thinking as well initially. Now it seems as though the bbi fithful have made you aware that it isn't your responsibility, so you have a few options:

1. Just take care of it and move on.
2. Make your neighbor aware that it's not your responsibility to clean up or pay for. You can offer to split the cost or just take care of your property. You can also let him know and tell him that you can help clean up each others property.
3. Just take care of your property and let him figure it out on his own.

Now, I understand your frustration that your neighbor didn't help, but I think you should go with option 1. Why make waves over something so stupid that could effect so much more? You were willing to take care of it initially, before you got annoyed, why not just take care of it and move on?
RE: Sorry for the late response  
jcn56 : 9/13/2017 12:45 pm : link
In comment 13597253 KeoweeFan said:
Quote:
I was out cutting branches.
Keith your summary of the situation is correct.
Yes, I was pissed that he did not offer to help with cleanup on his property.
Tree trimmers estimate hours the job will take so if I can safely do some of the grunt work and trim top branches that are now low to the ground I can save some money.
- I was pretty sure I am not responsible for damage to his house. (e.g. the downspout.) but wasn't clear on who had to pay for removing his trees (big ones) that were damaged by the tree from my property.
BTW this is South Carolina in a heavily wooded area.


I guess I was thrown off by the fact that you offered to pay for the cleanup. IMO, once you've done that - you've basically admitted that it's your responsibility.

Not saying that it is - from what's posted above, it's pretty clear that it's not - but maybe there are some mixed signals here if you implied it was on you at first and now you're backing off that stance a bit?
RE: It would appear as though your neighbor  
KeoweeFan : 9/13/2017 12:48 pm : link
In comment 13597275 Keith said:
Quote:
is of the belief that it's your responsibility being that it was your tree. It would also appear as though this was your thinking as well initially. Now it seems as though the bbi fithful have made you aware that it isn't your responsibility, so you have a few options:

1. Just take care of it and move on.
2. Make your neighbor aware that it's not your responsibility to clean up or pay for. You can offer to split the cost or just take care of your property. You can also let him know and tell him that you can help clean up each others property.
3. Just take care of your property and let him figure it out on his own.

Now, I understand your frustration that your neighbor didn't help, but I think you should go with option 1. Why make waves over something so stupid that could effect so much more? You were willing to take care of it initially, before you got annoyed, why not just take care of it and move on?

Keith, thanks for the advice.
I may have to go with option 2 (pay most but let him know the law) since he is now talking about the two story gutter downspout damage and remounting a wire (30'up another tree) for a bluebird feeder - which had nothing to do the the fallen tree (but as long as the tree cutter is here......) BTW he told me he wanted it cleaned up in the next month because the house goes on the market in November!
Now out to the yard again :)
Yeah,  
Keith : 9/13/2017 1:16 pm : link
I think it's important to let him know that it's not your responsibility and you are willing to help out of the goodness of your heart. Also, since he's moving anyway....screw him? Haha.
Sounds Like Yur Neighbor is a ....  
Triple "G" : 9/13/2017 1:21 pm : link
POS and should be thanking you up down left and right for you paying for everything. He instead rakes all the leaves on to your property and expects you to clean up his mess in his yard.

That is the epitome of well its not my fault thinking. Tell this guy to go pound salt. Your flipping the bill for an act of god, no insurance company that you have would pay for his damages or clean up because it isn't your responsibility. It is however your neighbors. Tell him your rescinding your offer to pay. (Kidding) No your being the bigger man so don't stoop to his level.

You can however mention to him that By Law, you do not have to pay for this at all. You are doing it because YOU FEEL IT IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO. That should send the message to him to stop being an asshole about it.

If he doesn't get the message, at least you know for the future what kind of person he really is

Your Neighbor is a ....  
Triple "G" : 9/13/2017 1:24 pm : link
POS and should be thanking you up down left and right for you paying for everything. He instead rakes all the leaves on to your property and expects you to clean up his mess in his yard.

That is the epitome of well its not my fault thinking. Tell this guy to go pound salt. Your flipping the bill for an act of god, no insurance company that you have would pay for his damages or clean up because it isn't your responsibility. It is however your neighbors. Tell him your rescinding your offer to pay. (Kidding) No your being the bigger man so don't stoop to his level.

You can however mention to him that By Law, you do not have to pay for this at all. You are doing it because YOU FEEL IT IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO. That should send the message to him to stop being an asshole about it.

If he doesn't get the message, at least you know for the future what kind of person he really is

Sounds like he's moving  
mcr2343 : 9/13/2017 1:44 pm : link
let him clean it up himself
Thanks for all the advice  
KeoweeFan : 9/13/2017 3:30 pm : link
I'll go with Keith's #2.

The last straw was I learn from his wife that he's gone bowling all afternoon 'til 6PM (I gave up tennis this AM) and leaves for 2 week vacation tomorrow!
Back to the Corner