It’s the morning after a storm. A long branch from your neighbor’s majestic oak tree is now sitting in your backyard; chunks of your roof and gutter are resting next to it along with a crushed fence. Who pays for fallen tree damage? Your neighbor is on the hook for the damages, right?
In most cases, once any tree or portion of tree crosses property lines after a natural event like a storm, it becomes that property owner’s responsibility.
It’s the same story with any resulting clean-up duties. Your neighbor bears no legal responsibility to pick up any branches and debris that come to a final resting place on your property as a result of Mother Nature.
While it obviously would be a kind gesture for neighbors to assist with such clean-up and damage reimbursement, they are not legally required to do so. If we’re talking about a few sticks and leaves, no big deal. But what if remnants of that majestic oak require the hiring of professional tree removal service, a roofer, and fence company? Not as painless.
Are there exceptions? Always. Insurance companies will examine each case individually.
For example, if that majestic oak was more of an unwieldy dead and dying oak, your neighbor may be found guilty of negligence and in turn bear the responsibility.
With hurricane season upon us, familiarize yourself with your homeowner’s policy. Take the necessary steps to assure you won’t be repairing your wallet along with your roof after the wind settles.