If a tree in the yard falls over during a storm, does the renter or the landlord have to pay to have theit removed?

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If a tree in the yard falls over during a storm, does the renter or the landlord have to pay to have theit removed?

Our lease agreement makes no mention of a tree falling over. Also, the fields on the lease agreement that mention yard maintenance were left totally blank. The landlord is telling me that he’s unsure if the tree is part of the yard (lawn maintenance) or part of the house. Regardless, doesn’t he own both, as we are just renting? Thank you.

Asked on August 24, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Arizona

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

As a general matter, in leases, all maintenance and repairs are the responsibility of the landlord, wiith the following exceptions:

1) The lease specifically makes it the tenant's responsibility (the tenant is deemed to have accepted it by signing the lease); or

2) The damage is something the tenant (or his/her guests, family, visitors, etc.) did, for which they can be held liable.

Unless you accepted lawn/tree maintenance, which it seems you did not, then a tree falling over would be the landlord's responsbility, unless, arguably, you somehow caused or contributed to it.

That said, while the landlord would not seem to have grounds to make you pay for it, it's not clear the landlord has to take care of it either--though if he doesn't and someone is injured as a result, the landlord could face liability. However, if the landlord wants to live with an eyesore and potential liability, he may be able to.


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