Who Is Responsible for Damage Caused by a Neighbor’s Tree?

By: McCullough Tree Service| On: October 16, 2018

What to Do When a Neighbor’s Tree Causes Damage

What happens when your neighbor’s tree falls on your property and causes damage? Who is responsible under Florida law to pay for it? Review the following information to further your understanding of the ins and outs of tree damage liability in Florida.

Under Florida legislation, the health of a tree is the deciding factor regarding who is liable for damages done to a nearby property. For example, if a dead tree falls on a nearby property and causes damage, the owner of the property with the tree is held accountable for the damage if the tree’s condition was apparent. On the other hand, if a live tree falls on a nearby property and causes damage, the other property owner is accountable for the damage. The same liability applies to tree removal, as well.

To illustrate, if your healthy tree falls on a neighbor’s property due to a storm with severe winds, you won’t be held accountable for the damage. However, if the tree was obviously dying or diseased weeks before it fell due to the weather, you are likely going to be held responsible for any damage.

If there is a root or branch from your tree that is infringing on a neighbor’s property, you are responsible for keeping it trimmed and for any damage resulting from failing to do so. You are also responsible for any damage to nearby properties that is inflicted by the roots or branches of a dead tree. If the tree’s roots and branches are healthy, you aren’t obliged to prune or trim them, and will not be held accountable for damages they inflict in the event of a storm. At the same time, the nearby property owner can take it upon themselves to trim back the branches or roots, so they no longer infringe on their property line.

In addition, removing a healthy tree that’s located on the bordering property line between you and your neighbor without his or her consent to do so is not permitted by Florida law. Removing a bordering tree without your neighbor’s approval may entitle him or her to receive compensation on your behalf.

Sources:

https://ablawfl.com/who-is-responsible-for-damage-and-removal-of-downed-trees/

http://www.theledger.com/news/20171006/law-post-hurricane-advice-on-tree-liability-in-florida

https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fe962

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/real-estate/fl-bz-gary-singer-column-trees-20180419-story.html