If atree onthe property that we rent fell on my car. ismy landlord responsible for the damages?

During a recent storm, a tree fell over and landed on my car.

Asked on October 26, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Colorado


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The issue is whether the landlord was at fault in some way. The fact that damage occurs on someone's property does not, without more, make that person liable (or financially responsible) for the damage. Instead, there must either have been an intentional bad act (e.g. assault, vandalism) or at least some negligent (careless) failure to take  care to prevent injury.

In a case like this, if there was some reason to know or believe the tree was sick or otherwise likely to fall over, and the landlord did not take action to prevent that, he may well be liable. So if the tree was visibly leaning, obviously dead or sick, had been damaged by lightning or a windstorm in some visible way, etc., then the landlord would be expected to cut it down or take other reasonable preventive action; and a failure to do so could make him/her liable for the damage.

But if it looked like an ordinary healthy tree, it is unlikely the landlord would be liable for it falling; he or she did nothing wrong.

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