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Neighbors dead tree fell on my house

Yotaismygame

Yotaismygame

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My neighbors who rent take zero care of the outside of their house and property. Worst house in the neighborhood. Now last night their dead fir tree fell on my house. Wouldn't say it's major damage but gotta be in the 2-5k range. Now this tree has been dead since I bought my house which was the spring of 2016. And at that time it was obvious the tree had been dead for years. I wasn't overly concerned with it because I thought my own tree's would protect my house. Everything's cleaned up now and I patched the holes in my roof for temporary fixes.

The property management company for my neighbors will not be paying for the repairs and said I need to file with my insurance company to have my house fixed. The reason they gave was, because it was an act of god. Now I could understand that to be true if this was a healthy tree but in my eyes it's neglect. I was told it was my fault because I didn't notify the neighbors their tree was dead. It's not my responsibility to look after my neighbors property! I'll be calling my insurance tomorrow to see what they say.

Opinions? Advice?

Thanks, Ian
 
arathol

arathol

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You should have contacted your insurance company as soon as it happened and before you did any clean up or repairs.
Most places require you to send a registered letter to the property owner notifying them that a tree is considered hazardous if you want the owner to take responsibility. An evaluation by an arborist should accompany the letter. Unless you can prove that the owner knew of the hazard you are probably on your own. Let your insurance company handle it. Who owns the fence?
 
sean donato

sean donato

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Yep, went through a similar thing with my jack arse neighbor right after I moved in. It all on you, because you didnt give them a certified notice that you were worried about the tree being a potential threat to your property. Cost my I insurance $6200.00 to fix my roof and have a tree company come out to remove the tree from the roof. I was glad the damage was minimal in my case. I'll soon be contacting the township (and my lawyer if need be) about a few more trees on the property line that are starting to die off. Collage is expensive and weve both been schooled for next time.
 
Yotaismygame

Yotaismygame

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I took pictures, the property management company took pictures. They sent out a tree company to remove the tree ASAP. I called my insurance and asked them if I needed to file a claim or not and they said get in writing the other insurance company would not be paying for it. Calling again in the morning.

Thanks for the help.
 

ATH

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Let your insurance company go after the owners insurance, keep out of it. The companies will mitigate the claim between themselves.
Another "yup".

It will vary by location...but many places the owner will be responsible if a "reasonable person" would have recognized the tree as hazardous. But let the insurance companies figure that out. The question for you becomes which party pays deductible.
 
ElevatorGuy

ElevatorGuy

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It’s not an act of god if it was dead. Same thing happened to us, we tried for 2 years to get a neighbor to remove a dead tree. Ultimately it fell and crushed my shed. My insurance company paid us up front and sued them. I had proof it had been dead for years and proof of the warnings. It’s not the renters fault, my neighbors were renters too. It’s the landlords responsibility.
 
Marine5068

Marine5068

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My neighbors who rent take zero care of the outside of their house and property. Worst house in the neighborhood. Now last night their dead fir tree fell on my house. Wouldn't say it's major damage but gotta be in the 2-5k range. Now this tree has been dead since I bought my house which was the spring of 2016. And at that time it was obvious the tree had been dead for years. I wasn't overly concerned with it because I thought my own tree's would protect my house. Everything's cleaned up now and I patched the holes in my roof for temporary fixes.

The property management company for my neighbors will not be paying for the repairs and said I need to file with my insurance company to have my house fixed. The reason they gave was, because it was an act of god. Now I could understand that to be true if this was a healthy tree but in my eyes it's neglect. I was told it was my fault because I didn't notify the neighbors their tree was dead. It's not my responsibility to look after my neighbors property! I'll be calling my insurance tomorrow to see what they say.

Opinions? Advice?

Thanks, Ian
Take them to court.
 
capetrees

capetrees

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Send a certified letter now to the owners informing them that every tree on their property is deemed dangerous to your property due to the lack of care and proximity to your home and send it every year, simple cost of a stamp. That should serve as adequate notice if anything else falls.
 
softdown

softdown

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Falling trees can be weird. By law I believe property owners are liable for what their trees do. But in the real world things are much different.

Had this happen following Hurricane Irma in Ft Myers, FL. Massive trees in the adjoining lot fell across the county drainage canal and into my property. The county sent me a certified letter demanding that I remove the fallen trees. I knew this was legally incorrect but Ft Myers is 2000 miles away.

Unable to find any information on the legal owner of the offending lot I called the code officer. He said "You have income" and that I must clean up the trees. The lowest estimate for removal was $5200. Not including replacing the crushed fence on two sides on my property.

I suspect the county owned the property - otherwise a legal owner should be recorded, But this is Florida - a state that is notoriously sunny with shady people. I cleaned it up, absorbed the losses and am still getting the fk out of Florida.

That lot is now owned and maintained by a home owner 50 yards away. I suspect the county gave it to him so he would maintain it. The county just wanted someone else to clear the massive debris from their drainage canal. Ft Myers has drainage canals literally everywhere.

To be fair, I find rampant corruption and idiocy - Everywhere. All of the time. Just a little more rampant in Florida.
 
CacaoBoy

CacaoBoy

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I see four options:
  1. You can personally work on collecting for the damage, but unless the neighboring owner's insurance promptly agrees to pay you will be spending a lot of your time and learning a lot about the law to compel payment.
  2. You can hire an attorney who deals with real property litigation, but you would need to expect that you would be paying for the attorney's time which might cost more than the cost of repairs.
  3. You can make the claim with your insurance company and they can decide whether to seek subrogation from the owner's insurance company or to sue the owner directly.
  4. You can just do the repairs yourself and not bother filing a claim with your insurance or pursuing the neighbor. This can make sense when damage is minor, the responsible party balks at paying, and you want to avoid filing a claim on your own insurance to prevent your insurance rate to increase.
The law regarding responsibility for damage from falling trees varies from state to state. You could do the research or consult an attorney.

I cannot help but note that you said
tree has been dead since I bought my house which was the spring of 2016. And at that time it was obvious the tree had been dead for years. I wasn't overly concerned with it
So for more than 4 years you felt no need to do anything about the tree. If you were to sue the neighbor it may be difficult to convince a court that the neighbor, either the owner or tenant, should have taken any action when you were aware and unconcerned.
 
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