legal responsibility for fallen tree damage michigan

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Another issue becomes access. The top of the trunk of the tree is growing over the fence and literally into the top corner of my garage pushing the wall of my garage out. I bought my home and had a new driveway poured way before the tree was even planted there. Thanks for reading Michigan Gardener. -Jonathon. Steve Turner is a Certified Arborist from Arboricultural Services in Oakland County, Michigan. They often can answer questions about tree health. 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. -Jonathon. Unfortunately, some of those fallen trees damage homes and other property. In planned communities, the question of responsibility for damage caused by fallen trees is often posed to the owners association. A tree can only be judged a hazard if it has a target under it, such as a structure or object, or is in an area that a person could be present such as a sidewalk, road or playground. Barbara- To make matters worse, many … Most trees have a replacement value of between $500 and $2500. Financially, I am unable. I can use the firewood, and if she gives me permission, I plan to clean up the limb. I would consult with an attorney that specializes in property/real estate law. In this case the tree becomes joint property and both parties must agree to remove or prune the tree before any work is performed. Now there is MORE damage to my garage and we are arguing about whose responsibility it is to remove the tree. We live in Michigan next to large area of “wet lands”. This type of Michigan home insurance coverage is designed to address damage to other people’s property for which you are responsible. ), For an exact answer you’ll need to consult with an attorney specializing in property/real estate matters. -Jonathon. My name is Debbie. 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. You might check with your municipality to see if they are any codes in your area to address this (unlikely). They may be able to give you an initial consultation at no cost. If you see any mushrooms or conks on any part of a tree, it would be wise to have the tree checked out by an arborist. WHAT???!!! If the tree is on your property, you are likely responsible for the damage it caused to your neighbor's property. For a tree to be considered a known hazard it must evaluated by a qualified individual or be obvious to a reasonable person that the tree has a high chance of failure before it fails. When I spoke with him he said he might check around to see if any friends need firewood but have not heard any other response. Often I am asked about legal issues and trees, such as “I want to remove several branches off my neighbor’s tree that are encroaching my property.” Many people are under the impression that it is all right to remove anything that is growing over their property. As is the law, it depends. In 2009 I purchased a hud house in Garden City, MI. Would you happen to know if I can have the portion of the branch that overhangs my roof trimmed backed? 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? I would suggest you check with an attorney with experience in property rights. You might consider contacting a real estate attorney who can advise you on your options. 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. Where do i find a statute or precident for liability for tree damage do to property owners neglect to take care of his damaged tree? Copyright © 1996-2020 Michigan Gardener. A buyer has... More Real Estate and Real Property questions and answers in Michigan. Gregory- We’re not qualfied to give legal advice. If leaves, acorns, twigs or other debris from a neighbor’s tree falls onto your property, you are responsible for cleaning this debris up. In that case, the owner of the … I have a tree limb that fell on my house during a storm. I recently purchased the home and have only owned it for about 3 months. You cannot force them to remove it unless your city has some type of ordinance that would allow the city to order its removal. (To learn what you must prove in order to get actual damages, see Nolo’s article When a Neighbor Damages or Destroys Your Tree.) Thanks for reading! Beyond that, the person planting the tree has to understand that any neighboring properties might take issue with branches growing onto their property. Tall grass is mainly just an eye sore, not really causing damage to anyone elses property, yet they refuse to enforce her to maintain her tree roots that ARE actually causing damage to MY PROPERTY?!? The house next door is a rental with the same tenants since I bought the house. Best of luck. We do not have zoning laws in our township, and the county seems to have no knowledge of any laws either. I have mentioned multiple times to the managers about the potential threat these trees are. Hi Jenay. He says we do. Most landscape or arborists carry liability insurance for just such circumstances, plus they’re usually well-versed in proper tree management, care and removal. Fortunately, in Florida, the law regarding fallen trees and the resulting damage is fairly clear. Coverage E has predetermined dollar limit stated within … Best of luck. I paid it twice in the past but I am JUST LIVID that it has happened again. Traditionally, property owners were not responsible for damage caused by falling tree limbs, toppled trees, and other natural occurrences on … 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? Thanks for reading! Another 10″ dia, give or take, I felt it hit the ground. This is a question best posed to an attorney specializing in real estate and property rights. 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. If the trunk sits primarily on your property, then you are the owner. The same portion of the land I’m not allowed to put a fences. I cannot believe if you have gone to GC Hall that they wouldn’t make the owner fix this!!! I have a $500.00 deductible. Thanks for reading! You might consider contacting an attorney that specializes in real estate and/or property rights. What is a ‘tree’? The tree was on curb side of Dearborn residential street. Neighboring landowners have legal rights regarding adjacent trees and tree … Am I responsible for a very tall dead tree that fell causing damage to the neighbors roof? 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. 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. The legal line of property and anything vertically above that determines who is responsible for the tree. He collects the rent money every month but doesn’t want to maintain his property. It was my tree, but is it now her limb once it became separated from the tree? Every year, storms are responsible for felling countless trees and limbs. Another situation I run into often is when a neighbor has a hazardous tree that is threatening someone else’s property. Required fields are marked *. Put the issue back in their hands and see how it plays out. I have found Garden City to be NO HELP AT ALL!!!! 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. Also, the size of the limb is very important. 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. What are the rules for this? Frequently Asked Questions - legal principles. If you do harm the tree, you could be found liable for up to three times the value of the tree. Possibly but the only way to know for sure is for you to contact an attorney that specializes in property rights/real estate matters. Property rights vary, state to state, so we suggest you contact an attorney that specializes in property rights if you cannot obtain permission from your neighbor. I have also read that this is accepted as law. It grew really fast! I can’t tell, based on the lot markers whether the sections are entirely on his property (because it is difficult to extend the line from the markers around the tree and several others that are between them) I am concerned that this will damage the health of the rest of the tree and end up costing us thousands of dollars for removal, to say nothing of the loss of the tree itself! I live in Michigan. 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. 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. My question is: is there a Michigan statue or law that specifically states this to be indeed the law? 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 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. Do you need to enter the tree from the neighbor’s property or can you do the work from your side? It’s one of those maple trees from whirlybirds. It just happened again for the THIRD time. For more detailed information about these or other questions, check with your insurance agent and/or an attorney about the specifics of your situation. One of the most common questions we get is – if a tree falls and damage occurs, who is responsible? I did cut some of the large branches off - none from the part that fell. IS THIS MY RESPONSIBILITY?? Our driveways are actually next to each other and when the tenant moved out years ago the landlords had to bring the house up to code before renting again. This only applies if the tree is a known hazard – it will not apply to a healthy tree that fails in a storm. When a tree on your property falls over during a storm, you are generally responsible for the damage. These are signs that decay is present and the arborist needs to determine the extent of the decay to see if the tree is safe or needs to be removed. State law provides that the owner of a tree whose branches overhang an adjoining landowner’s property is liable for damages caused by the overhanging branches. a tenant or local council, must take reasonable steps to manage and reduce risks. Your email address will not be published. It’s a husband and wife. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Am I responsible for a very tall dead tree that fell causing damage to the neighbors roof? What can I do? That would be considered an act of nature. I called her a few weeks ago and informed her again that now its doing damage not only to my driveway but hers as well. Learn how your comment data is processed. The roots adjacent to side walk had been cut last year when side walk section was replaced due to buckling. You are therefore, technically exercising the self-help remedy of ‘abating a nuisance’ by cutting the offending branches off. These are 60 year+ maples that were never properly maintained, and brittle. Good luck. In Georgia, different laws apply when a tree is located in a rural versus an urban area. In this case the tree becomes joint property and both parties must agree to remove or prune the tree before any work is performed. Many tree care companies will not work on neighbor’s trees without written permission from the owner. I have pictures of the tree and my garage on my cell phone. Before you can determine who is liable for damage caused by a falling tree or branch, you need to know who owns 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. Deed Restrictions hello i own a building and lease it out to a business. Unfortunately, some of those fallen trees damage homes and other property. Generally, property owners are only responsible for damage caused by dead trees located on their property. Thanks. They have a big tree in their backyard. How close to the property line can a tree be planted? Could i hold the city responsible because the tree was rotten at the bottom? They should be able to help you. Well, I hope to hear back from you and hope you were able to fix your garage at HIS cost. Of all of the trees that he could have chosen to dislike – and we have a great many that will drop leaves and cast shade on his lot, most of them are inconsequential to me, but this one is a very wonderful old tree. She claimed she would come out to inspect and call me back. In this case the tree becomes joint property and both parties must agree to remove or prune the tree before any work is performed. In general, a person cannot be liable unless they could be charged with the responsibility to prevent the occurrence. After the tree fell there were no roots attached to base at all and termite damage and fungus in hollow trunk was obvious. The answer to this question lies in who owns the tree, and whose land it has fallen onto. Rural Tree Liability. You may come home to find that your expectations have not been met. If you cut lower limbs back to the property line and the canopy above shades them, they will most likely die due to lack of sunlight. I thought perfect opportunity to ask her if she was willing to remove it. I have spoke to management, they will do nothing. The Duty of Care Owed by Tree Owners Both occupiers and anyone with responsibility for trees e.g. My neighbor has a very large “dirty” black walnut tree that’s growing very near our lot line. But, we hope that is not need and your conversation goes smoothly. Tree-Gate boils down to a legal duty of care. The second tree could fall on opposite corner or on our gazebo. I live in a mobile home community, and have 2 huge maple tree’s on both sides of my home. In the case of Shoemaker v. Harris, a tree located on Mr. Harris’ property fell ultimately landing on Mr. Shoemaker’s van. Mr. Shoemaker sued Mr. Harris claiming he was ultimately responsible for the damage caused by the falling tree. I’m sorry to hear about your situation. Last year he promised to remove the tree and still hasn’t. Although it is not the association's job to play arbiter if a dispute arises between lot owners, owners association board members should understand the general law regarding fallen trees. I just came across this website. I enjoy turning deadfall into firewood and keeping my woods “clean”. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. A common situation is a tree or any portion of its base that is growing directly on a property line. Dale- There is likely not a black and white answer to your question. The problem is that in the autumn when the walnuts fall to the ground, the ones that fall from the massive branch overhanging my house are constantly hitting my roof. You would have to contact an attorney versed in real estate and property disputes for a proper answer. Many tree care companies will not work on neighbor’s trees without written permission from the owner. Therefore, if your neighbor’s tree drops a branch and causes injury to a vehicle, person, or structure, they are liable to you for the damages caused. Click cover to read now! A tree on my property lost some large limbs that landed on my neighbors property in a very wooded area of the property line. Suggest that the neighbor present the claim to their insurance company and go from there. If these trees fall on our property are we liable for removal? The general rule is that unless the neighbor knew - or should have known - that his tree was unsafe - even if it caused damage to person or your property, he is not responsible. You may not go onto the neighbor's property or destroy the tree. You cannot force them to remove it unless your city has some type of ordinance that would allow the city to order its removal. An example would be a dead or leaning tree with a large cavity and decay. From there, Steve illustrates the issues involved with pruning and trimming in those situations. We would recommend contacting an attorney that specializes in real estate or propery rights matters. I live in no. In the early morning of 18 December 2009, a passing train collided with the stem of an ash tree that had fallen onto the railway line from the garden of an adjacent property. ... To determine who’s legally responsible for personal injuries and property damage caused by a fallen tree, we must first determine where the tree is located. They can answer with far more certainty that we can. Responsibility for rectifying the situation and for any damages claim will more often than not lie with the owner of the tree, although it will need to be proved that the damage was ‘reasonably foreseeable’. 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? 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. Such is the case with many diseased elms and Dutch elm disease. 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. Some species are much more tolerant than others to pruning, and the size and amount that can be safely removed will vary greatly between them. Sorry we couldn’t be of more assistance. 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. which hang directly over my roof on both sides. Several years later, the a large branch comes off the tree and goes into the neighbors … -Jonathon. 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. I have a tree that that fall on my car and the person who owns the property will not pay for it and what’s to say its my job to show negligence I thought your tree your property your to take care if it I my be wrong in thinking that it property damage not ordinary negligence. If so, what is it? But she just said “oh, I really hate to lose a tree” and she refused. is the city generally liable for the damage in such a case? Now he has purchased the lot and he wants to site his garage directly under the tree and is concerned that it will drop leaves and debris on the roof. These are just a few common examples and brief summaries of how the law applies to trees. If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me via my website at www.lawrefs.com or directly via email. On second thought maybe I can…after all they’ve just scrugged off my situation as well. Fallen tree dispute. Preston-We would recommend starting a dialog with the deaprtment of public services in for your municipality and more specifically the forestry department. 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. 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. I would consult with an attorney for an accurate answer. 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. My neighbor has one very close, but the trunk is on his side. I live in a rural area. The insurance company is usually responsible for taking care of the damages. Best of luck. So now years later as predicted its tearing up my driveway. Thanks for reading Michigan Gardener! Imagine the scenario where you own land and have a tree near the property line. The legal reasoning behind this is that the overhanging branches are a ‘nuisance’ and a nuisance is an ‘unlawful interference with the use or enjoyment of your 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. Before it fell the neighbor would pick up the small branches and pile them next to 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. At that size I even offered that I would cut down and remove. AT large oak tree fell on my car and a coworkers car which totaled both. My concern is that one of these trees will fall in our driveway and corner of garage. Such is the case with many diseased elms and Dutch elm disease. 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. Obviously she has not. (Your neighbor isn’t legally responsible for reimbursing your deductible; you could sue to recover that amount, but it’s not a sure bet.) or are they more likely to state that they’re not obligated to trim, cut, and remove anything? 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! Or am I still responsible for getting it out of there? 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. It was getting big but not out of control. Heath – I would strongly recommend you consult with a real estate attorney if you are interested in determining your rights. Personal Liability coverage comes to the rescue offering to potentially help you handle legal costs and liability judgments resulting from a lawsuit. (repairable) but someday it may be my home. I know the one next to me has several houses in Garden City. My suggestion would be to contact a tree expert in your area and or a real estate attorney. 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. -Jonathon, Your email address will not be published. Fallen Tree Damage—Who Pays? Good luck and thanks for reading! 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’m not sure where you are located but property law varies from state to state. 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. An exception to this, attorney Steve Goldman with The Goldman Firm said, is if the tree is visibly diseased or damaged. 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. This tree is not near my neighbor’s house so is of no consequence to his roof. Fallen Tree Damage—Who Pays? During storms over the last three years in Michigan my neighbors crappy trees have fallen over on my property and have caused damage. Nevertheless, you do have the right to remove any deadwood or hazardous limbs, regardless of size or effect on the tree. Ornamental or landmark trees can have a value of between $20,000 and $60,000. Thanks for reading and best of luck. Btw… I do cut and maintain my lawn ☺ I have spoken with the owner of the tree several times and he continues to say that I am responsible for the tree’s damages. Best of luck. Shared treesA common situation is a tree or any portion of its base that is growing directly on a property line. I always fear for the safety of my family with these trees hanging over my head., If I could move I would. It was one of their tenants that planted it there and I requested that they didn’t knowing this would eventually be a problem. This is true if the tree fell over due to an act of nature. I planted trees 3′ off property line neighbor hit and killed 16 of them. He also expects me to pay for half the tree removal. I don’t think it’s fair that I pay for any of this since it is not my tree. Adding a name on title/deed If I put my boyfriends name on my title/deed can he take... Mortgage fees michigan is a 'loan roigination fee' of 1.5% a customary fee charged... Refund of deposit ? Tree owners should be prepared to manage trees properly to reduce the risk of damage or harm, and any possibility of liability. But STILL, NO responsibility to any damage that she’s causing to my property. 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. Getting access to the treeAnother issue becomes access. Falling branches is a fairly common occurrence that is usually hard if not impossible to predict. 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. Resulting damage is fairly clear fortunately, in Florida, the law regarding fallen trees on the homeowner but am... The law regarding fallen trees on the internet that state where a tree expert in area... 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