Landlord admitted nuisance tree should be removed, but it falls on my car first, who is responsible?

UPDATED: Oct 14, 2020

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UPDATED: Oct 14, 2020Fact Checked

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On May 28, a large (100#+) limb fell from the tree behind our apartment building. The tree is next to/partially over the parking space we are assigned. On May 31, a tree surgeon hired by the landlord helped remove the fallen limb and several other weak ones, but said more are likely to come down and he would recommended to the landlord to take out the trees. On June 3, when we asked if he was going to take down the tree and when, he said it was healthy and not to worry about it. On June 5, he said he would probably have it taken down but he had to wait til his tree surgeon returns from vacation next month. Today (June 13), another large limb fell. My husband sent the landlord the picture, and this time he said it is definitely time to take out those trees as soon as his tree surgeon returns. I have comprehensive insurance, but there is a $1000 deductible and I really can’t afford it. So, given his knowledge of the dangerous state of the tree, AND given that my assigned parking space is very near the tree, is the landlord responsible if something happens to my car?”

Asked June 19, 2018

1 Answer

In this case, yes, it does appear that the landlord is responsible for any damage the tree has on your vehicle in its assigned parking space. Acts of God such as storms that cause branches to fall and potentially damaged are deemed nobody's fault and thus the tenant must use their own insurance for repairs.

You reported the problematic tree(s) to the landlord as part of your responsibilities as a tenant. He then had the trees trimmed and was informed that the tree would need to come down for safety's sake. He did not follow through with this professional recommendation and had prior knowledge that the tree in question was unstable. As a result of this, the landlord's insurance is liable for any damages caused by the tree as part of rental leases landlord' agree to provide safe occupancy.

The next step to take is to gather your evidence. Take pictures of the damage, the tree, the assigned parking space, and so on. Next, document the dates and times of all interactions between you and your landlord in regard to the tree and damage. These materials will help support your case and receive reimbursement from the landlord's insurance provider.

Answered June 20, 2018 by fl_pc

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