Is a landlord responsible if a tree falls on your car while in their parking lot?

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Is a landlord responsible if a tree falls on your car while in their parking lot?

Just the other night there was a storm and at about 3 am a tree fell on to my car. It completely covered my car and I was unable to move it, so I called the emergency line for my rental company and they sent someone over. When the man arrived he took pictures of my car, but he couldn’t remove the tree at that point either. He also said they were supposed to have the tree taken care of the day before, but the apt was cancelled. When my car was uncovered it broke my windshield and back rear window. They said they are not responsible becauseit is an act of God.

Asked on June 29, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Missouri

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

This question raises a number of other questions.  And really in the end here you may not need to care.  Did you have comprehensive coverage on your car?  If you did then make a claim on your own coverage and let your insurance company "subrogate" your claim as against your landlord. Comprehensive Coverage applies when a car's been damaged by either a natural or civil disturbance (such as a hail storm, a falling tree, or an act of vandalism). Comprehensive Coverage also covers damage such as a broken window or windshield, as well as any damage sustained if you accidentally hit an animal while driving. Now, what about the tree was being "taken care of?"  Was it diseased?  Did the landlord know that? If the answers are yes and the landlord did not take care of it before the storm, their "Act of God" defense may not hold up.  But really, you may not even need to worry about it.  Good luck. 


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