Overhanging Tree Branches: Who is Responsible?
Overhanging tree branches from a neighbor’s property that fall onto your property can be a problem. Is the owner of the tree legally responsible for damages to the homeowner’s property? Or, is the homeowner who did not maintain or prune their own tree held liable? Improper maintenance of the trees surrounding your home or business can cause severe damage if left untreated. Read on to learn more to keep you from questioning whether or not you would be responsible for the damages.
Discussing property lines can be a very touchy subject for many landowners. You see this situation play out time and time again. Two neighbors go back and forth between where their yard ends, and their neighbors begin. Although city officials can help in these situations, it’s essential to know the state laws to make informed decisions regarding your land.
Who is Responsible for Overhanging Branches?
Picture this, you are preparing for hurricane season, and you notice that the limbs on your neighbor’s maple tree look like they might become an issue once the first storm of the season rolls in. These heavy limbs are big enough to damage your new shed costing you a fortune in repairs.
Luckily in the state of Florida, a landowner has the legal right to trim branches from another property that extend over to their property line. However, if access needs to be gained to the other property owners’ land, that is not prohibited unless permission is granted. In the end, you are responsible for maintaining any overgrowth that goes past your property line. However, there is a certain circumstance where reasonability might not be yours.
There is a difference between overhanging branches and a fallen tree. In some cases, you may or may not be held accountable for the damages. For example, suppose a tree falls onto your neighbor’s property that was rooted on your property and ended up damaging their roof. In that case, there are a few things that will be taken into account to determine responsibility. The first is if the tree has visible signs of decay, disease, or was a previous hazard. This could show negligence on your part, making you responsible for the damages.
However, if the same situation occurs and the tree was not a hazard or perfectly healthy, the insurance company will most likely determine the claim to be an “Act of God,” meaning neither party was at fault.
Dangers of Improper Tree Maintenance
Tree maintenance is critical, especially in Florida, where hurricane season brings strong winds and heavy rains. Mother nature can be very unforgiving and does not care about your new shed or the new roof you just replaced on your home. You will prevent damages from strong storms by properly maintaining your trees and any overgrowth on your property line.
Our professional tree services at SB Tree Service will help you protect your family and home from unexpected damages caused by overhanging tree branches. Check us out online to view the many services we offer to our customers in the Volusia and Brevard County areas including, tree trimming, tree removal, stump grinding, mulching, and much more.