What are my rights if my neighbor’s tree fell on my property and destroyed my trees?

About a year ago, I informed my neighbor that a very large tree on his property

was dead and threatening to fall on the trees on my property. He ignored my

offer to pay half the cost of cutting down his tree. He said,

Asked on November 23, 2018 under Real Estate Law, North Carolina

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

As a general rule, a property owner bears no liability if a tree on their property falls onto neighboring property due to an "act of God", such as a storm. However, if they are put on notice that their tree is dead or dying and in danger of falling and it in fact falls due to this, then they are liable for all damages incurred on the neighbor's property. Failing to act and cut the tree down constitutes negligence. Accordingly, your neighbor is legally liable for any costs that you incur regarding your damages, as well as the clean-up of all debris. 

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you do have recourse to sue, because you put him on notice or warning that he was tree was dead and threatening to fall. He was therefore aware of a specific risk or theat. If someone does not take reasonable steps to ameliorate or mitigate a known threat, he becomes liable for the damage done or costs incurred. Depending on the amount, suing in small claims court as your own attorney or pro se may be a cost-effective option.


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