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Who is responsible for fallen tree removal?

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Arborist removing a tree stump
Tree removal
By
Trav's Tree Services
Trav's Tree Services
December 5, 2023
5
minute read

The sight of a fallen tree can be a cause for concern, prompting questions about responsibility for its removal. In practical terms, understanding who is accountable for fallen tree removal is crucial for homeowners and property occupants alike. 

In this discussion, we will address the straightforward aspects that determine responsibility, exploring factors such as property ownership, natural causes, and local regulations. By unravelling these fundamental elements, we aim to provide a clear understanding of the responsibilities associated with fallen tree removal - ensuring you know what to do when fallen trees pose a risk to your property. 

Taking root of responsibility - who is responsible for removing fallen trees?

There are many different scenarios that cause tree falling - and it’s important to understand who is responsible and when. We’ll uncover some common situations to help you better understand fallen tree removal responsibility. 

Property ownership 

One of the primary factors in determining responsibility for fallen tree removal is property ownership. 

Generally, if a tree falls on your property, it is your responsibility to address the removal process, as this tree belongs to you. This principle holds true for both residential and commercial properties. 

Property owners are expected to maintain the safety of their premises, which includes addressing fallen trees promptly.  

Natural causes 

When a tree falls due to natural causes such as storms, high winds, or other acts of nature, the responsibility for removal typically falls on the property owner. 

Homeowners' insurance may cover the costs of removal if the tree damages a structure, but routine maintenance and removal of fallen trees are generally the responsibility of the property owner. 

Neighbourly responsibilities 

In cases where a tree falls from one property onto another or crosses a boundary fence, determining responsibility can become a bit more complex. 

Generally, the owner of the property where the tree originally stood is responsible for removal. However, if the tree was visibly diseased or in poor health and the tree owner neglected to address the issue, legal considerations may come into play. 

Insurance coverage 

Homeowners' insurance policies often cover the cost of tree removal if the tree damages a covered structure, such as a house or a garage. 

However, coverage may vary, so it's essential to review your policy and understand its terms. Insurance may not cover removal if the tree falls without causing any damage or if it falls from a neighbour's property. 

Alternatively, a tree falling across two properties will most likely mean the insurance company for each property will cover their share of the cost, rather than just the tree owner’s insurance company taking on the load. 

Hence, it’s best to double-check with your insurance company. 

Local regulations 

Local councils often have regulations regarding fallen tree removal. Some cities may take on the responsibility for removing trees in public spaces, while others may require property owners to handle the removal themselves. 

It's crucial to be aware of local ordinances and regulations to avoid legal complications. 

Professional assistance

Regardless of responsibility, the removal of fallen trees can be a dangerous and challenging task. Seeking professional arborists or tree removal services is often the safest and most efficient way to handle the situation. These professionals have the expertise, equipment, and insurance to manage fallen tree removal safely. 

Private properties vs rental properties 

For private properties, the responsibility for tree removal typically rests squarely on the property owner. Private property owners are expected to maintain the safety and well-being of their premises, which includes regular inspections of trees on the property. 

If a tree poses a hazard due to disease, damage, or other factors, it becomes the owner’s responsibility to address the situation promptly. This responsibility extends to the removal of fallen trees, especially if they cause damage to structures, vehicles, or neighbouring properties.

Conversely, the responsibility for tree removal on rental properties is often shared between landlords and tenants, with distinctions based on specific circumstances and lease agreements. Landlords typically hold responsibility for maintaining the overall safety and habitability of the property, including addressing potential hazards like diseased or damaged trees. However, tenants are usually responsible for reporting such issues promptly. 

Lease agreements may outline specific responsibilities regarding landscaping and tree maintenance, clarifying whether tenants or landlords bear the cost and responsibility for tree removal. In cases where a tree poses an imminent danger, landlords may be required to take swift action to ensure the safety of the tenants and the property.  

Who is responsible if a tree on public land falls on my property?

If a tree located on public land falls onto your property, the responsibility for its removal and any resulting damage typically lies with the local council that owns and manages the land. Public entities, such as local authorities, are generally accountable for maintaining the safety and condition of trees on public property. In the event of a fallen tree, it's advisable to promptly contact the relevant public department responsible for managing public spaces and inform them of the incident. 

They should then take the necessary steps to assess the situation, remove the fallen tree, and address any damages it may have caused. It's essential to document the incident, take photographs if possible, and maintain open communication with the local council to ensure a timely and effective resolution.

Seek assistance from the tree removal specialists at Trav’s Trees 

When confronted with the daunting task of tree removal, seek assistance from the seasoned professionals at Trav's Trees. With a reputation for excellence in the arboriculture industry, Trav's Trees brings expertise, reliability, and a commitment to safety to every tree removal project. 

Whether you're dealing with a hazardous tree, require an assessment of your tree’s health, or need assistance with fallen trees, the skilled team at Trav's Trees is equipped with the knowledge and state-of-the-art equipment to handle the job efficiently. 

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