If my tenant’s brother has an unregistered vehicle on my rental property and a tree from my property fell on top of it, who is liable for the damages?

UPDATED: Mar 6, 2012

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If my tenant’s brother has an unregistered vehicle on my rental property and a tree from my property fell on top of it, who is liable for the damages?

There were high winds. My tenant called me to tell me that the tree fell on top of her brother’s unregistered car. I think she is telling me to involve my home insurance. Under the lease agreement it specifies that vehicles must be registered and she has the option of rentals insurance.

Asked on March 6, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Nevada


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

For an analysis of your potential liabilty under the lease, you would need to bring the lease to an attorney to review with you--the precise language of a lease, like the precise language of any other contract (since that's what a lease is--a contract) determines the parties' rights and obligations.

However, that said:

1) If you were not generally responsible for landscaping, tree "maintenance," etc. (i.e. if this was done by the landlord), you should not be responsible.

2) Even if you were responsible for the landscaping, etc., unless there was some reason to know the tree posed an unreasonable hazard--it was sick or dying or dead; it was visibily leaning, as if its roots were not holding it well; etc.--you would not be liable. A property owner or renter is not generally liable when high winds (or snow or lightning) fells a tree, unless he or she had notice or should have known that the tree was a risk or in bad shape, and therefore that he or she had to do something about it.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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