Dear Consumer Ed:
There’s a tree between my neighbor’s and my property that fell and landed in my yard. I asked my neighbor to split the costs with me for removing the tree, but he says the tree is in my yard now, so I should pay. Who is right?
Consumer Ed says:
Under Georgia’s Fallen Tree Responsibility laws, if a tree falls on someone’s property, it is generally that property owner, and not the owner of the tree, who is responsible for any property damage, as well as the costs of hauling away the tree.
There is an exception, however. When a tree from your neighbor’s property falls and injures someone or causes damage to your property, if the neighbor should have reasonably known that the tree was dead or diseased either because a) the fallen tree showed visible signs that the tree was dead or had a disease, for example, if the tree had no bark or no leaves in the summertime; or b) if the owner of the tree received written notice from an arborist, building tenant, or another third party that there was a problem with the tree before it fell, then he or she would likely be responsible for paying damages.
As a general rule, if your neighbor should not have reasonably known there was a problem with the tree before it fell, you are responsible for removing the fallen tree from your property. You do not, however, have to clean up any tree debris located on your neighbor’s property.
You may also want to consult with an attorney to confirm your legal rights and responsibilities in this situation.
Submit your own question to Consumer Ed. Remember…we do not give legal advice. Always consult a lawyer about legal issues.