I rent a home, is the landlord responsible for tree damage to my property?
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Asked September 1, 2015
In most states, property owners are required to have insurance on rental property because the responsibility for property damages caused by trees on the rental property may fall to the owner. Responsibility may depend on the conditions declared in the rental agreement, which is signed by both the renter and the owner. If the lease agreement mentions the renter is responsible for maintaining the upkeep of the property inside and outside of the home or unit, damage caused by a tree to the renter's personal property may not be covered under the owner's insurance policy, if the conditions were not kept.
The agreement may also require the renter to inform the owner of all conditions exposing potential hazards, which could result in damages to the home, unit or the renter's personal property. In this case, the damages may be renter's responsibility, if the renter failed to inform the owner of the potential danger. This is one reason many property owners require renters to obtain renters insurance coverage for the protection and replacement of renter's damaged personal property.
First course of action is to review the cause of the tree damage to determine the assignment of responsibility and examine the extent of damages to the renter's personal property. Most of the time owner or landlord insurance policies do not cover renter or tenant personal property if damaged, but there are exceptions. For example, if the owner knew about the potential hazard and failed to respond and repair within a reasonable time, the owner may be responsible for the renter's damages.
Normally the owner is not responsible for personal damages to renter's property. But they are responsible for trees on the property, especially pertaining to landscaping. If the owner knew of diseased trees or damaged pavement used as driveways or walkways caused by overgrown tree roots the owner may be fully liable for the damages. No matter what the circumstances, renters should report damages and file insurance claims as a record of damages incurred as a result of unsafe property maintenance or owner negligence. Typically, community areas are landscaped with trees and it's not unusual for branches to fall in the parking areas, damages may be perceived as shared responsibilities between the owner and the renter.
Answered September 2, 2015 by HomeService