who is responsible?

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who is responsible?

My new neighbor wants to take down some trees on the property line. I think
they are on my property but am not opposed to taking them down. The problem
is that my house could potentially be damaged if something went wrong. If they
are on my property and I give him permission to take them down and my house
is damaged, who is responsible?

Asked on May 4, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Virginia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If he does it personally, he would be liable. If he hires an independent contractor (e.g. a tree service), the contractor would be liable. 
A person can, however agree to be liable even when they otherwise might not be, such as in consideration of being given permission to do something. Don't give your neighbor permission to do this unless he agrees in writing: 1) that he will only hire a professional with insurance to do this; 2) will provide proof of the tree service's insurance; 3) that he personally will pay for any damage or costs, including to your lawn or landscaping (e.g. if the lawn is torn up; if a walkway or bush is damaged; etc. ) that is not paid for by the contractor; and 4) that all debris, etc. will be removed and taken away. He can make himself responsible to make sure that you are not damaged or injured, including financially, in any way, and you should not give him permission to do this unless he will take responsibility and make sure this is done right.


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