If a dead tree falls onto my property and damages it , what recourse do I have for damages?

My wife and I just moved into a home 4 months ago. A dead tree just fell onto our fence and our shed, rendering the shed useless. The tree, which has been dead and dying for nearly 30 years, originally stood 2/3rds on our neighbors property and 1/3 on our property (the line splits the tree in half). Since the tree is DEAD, who is responsible for the damages? I offered my neighbor a 2:1 split to cover the $1200 to both remove the tree and replace the shed and he refused. My deductible is $1000, so I am not filing a claim.

Asked on July 24, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Virginia

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Generally speaking, if a tree sits on a property line then it belongs to both you and your neighbor.  What puzzles me is that you seem to have been aware of the fact that the tree was in this state and took no precautionary matters like cutting it down before it fell and ruined your shed.  You can have it removed and fix the shed and sue him in small claims court for the money but I am not sure that you would be able to recover.  Good luck.


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