Who is responsible for trees that fall and cause damage to property?

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Who is responsible for trees that fall and cause damage to property?

I live in a trailer park. There are 150 families that live here. I am buying my trailer on land contract. We had a bad storm last week that made a lot of trees fall. Some damaged a few trailers in the park. The owner of the trailer park has never trimmed any of the trees even after we asked him to. Now he says he is not responsible for removing the trees that fell. My mother’s trailer has a tree that fell and hit her trailer and has damaged her home. He won’t remove it. He says that his lawyer said it was an act of God. We pay a lot rent here. Who is responsible for the trees on the property?

Asked on August 14, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Ohio

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Generally, the owner of the property is responsible for the trees on their property.  Different responsibilities, however, occur in different situations.  If the owner knew that the trees were diseased or damaged or unsafe in another way then they can become liable for damage attributable to the tree's falling and damaging the property of another.  "Act of God" is a term generally used by attorneys or insurance companies to deny responsibility but he could make a claim on his insurance and see what happens.  And if he will not I would consider suing him to do so and for the damages incurred. If you Mother is insured consider making a claim under her policy and see if they will "subrogate" or sue the owner on your behalf.  Good luck.


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