Tree Partially Blown Over, Who Pays, Renter or Landlord?

Updated on December 16, 2010
M.L. asks from Spokane, WA
23 answers

A tree was partially blown over in 2 big storms and needs to come down before it falls on someone since it's next to a sidewalk.

Who pays for this, the renter or landlord? Landlord said we need to pay for the damage deductible, then she pays the rest, but isn't the damage deductible from something we cause?

I checked our rental agreement, and it does say the deductible is for destruction we cause, though she hasn't been very good at making that distinction in the past!

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So What Happened?

Same here Dawn, this is a 40 year old house and anytime something breaks that we had nothing to do with (even once when it was due to negligence of a repair man fixing a problem that happened before we ever even moved in) we still had to pay the deductible.

We even had to buy our own fire alarms b/c the one here didn't even work. This home needs lots of repairs that weren't addressed before we rented the home, and she's covering some of them slowly but surely from her own pocket, as she can afford it, which I do understand and don't have an issue with it. Obviously, we own up to repairs that need to be made due to our own faults according to the rental contract.

She basically said she couldn't afford the fix the tree right now, so it will have to wait.

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answers from Tulsa on

Landlord pays everything(and I am a landlord). Type in Texas Tenant Rights and the link to attorney general. I don't know where you are close to(Dallas, Houston?), but there are people to help you with this. Don't pay.



answers from Boston on


And my guess is that tree is a hazard that is violating some local law. Call the public works department and see what they think. The could get the police involved to get her to do it, or they could do it themselves.

But absolutely positively under no circumstances should you pay for it.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

She pays. If you feel it is absolutely unsafe, call your municipality, borough, township, etc. and report unsafe conditions. Then she'll have to address it.

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answers from Houston on

Normally landlord pays.

However I have friends with a crappy lease who have to pay $100 deductible every time something breaks, even if it isn't their fault. (like the a leak in the bathroom or the microwave going kaput).

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answers from Las Vegas on

you didn't do it, nature did and since it isn't your property, you don't pay.. if on the landlord's property, then it's their responsibility.. not too mention, they should have insurance for that.. so THEY pay the deductible..

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answers from St. Louis on

Is the tree by chance on the City's right of way and possibly their problem?


answers from Houston on

I am a landlord of a house that during hurricane ike some trees fell over. WE did not hesitate, we had them dug up asap. If nature causes the problem then it is the landlords responsibility, if it was somehow the renters mistake (not sure how that would happen) then it would be up to the renter to pay for it., but most renters have renters insurance.


answers from Los Angeles on

100 percent Landlord. She's trying to pull one over on you!



answers from Phoenix on

You need to check you rental aggreement. IMO (I am a landlord) it should be the landloard. The only time you pay is if it is something you did, they are responsible for insurance in house and land, you just have to have insurance on your belongings inside the property. Also check renters rights for your area, but your rental aggreement is going to be the most telling in this, if it does not state then you go by renters laws for your area.


answers from Modesto on

It should be the landlord. My dad rents a sweet little place in the country that probably wouldnt pass an inspection cuz the place is so old, he feels that if asks the landlord to fix anything that she will just sell the place or let it go so he would have no where to live.... so he fixes all stuff himself, even fallen trees.
But, it should be the landlord if you are ready for that battle.



answers from Las Vegas on

I don't know for sure but am guessing that the landlord would be responsible for the trees the reason being is that this is not a care and maintainance issue or a reasonable use issue. I guess I would argue that the tree is more like a permanent fixture on the property and that it blew over as a result of an act of God, not from your use of it or how you cared for it.

Contact your local county law library and see if they can give you a telephone number for somekind of legal hotline or maybe a sliding scale (depending on income) legal aid group that does landlord-tenant law. They maybe able to give you a more definitive answer.



answers from Chicago on

We are landlords for a property we own. The owner (landlord) has homeowner's insurance for everything inside the home. Ours is a townhouse, and the association is responsible for everything outside. If it's a single family home, the owner (landlord) would be responsible...unless it's town or county property (like the trees that line many neighborhood streets). Next to a this city owned? If not, I assume it's the landlord's responsibility. I don't see why the renter would have to pay for was due to natural causes & the landlord has the homeowner's insurance on the property. Talk to a lawyer if you need to.

I just read your update...if the tree is at risk of falling on an innocent bystander (or a car), the owner should fix it ASAP...else she can be sued by the person on whom it falls. Make sure you have written documentation of your correspondence w/ the landlord about this...God forbid something happens, you don't want her trying to place blame on you.



answers from Atlanta on

Yep -this is solely on the landlord. The land/home owner is responsible for destruction from acts of nature -like trees falling -not the renter. It sounds like she's just trying to get some money out of you. Your damage deductible IS for damage that YOU cause, so unless you partially sawed down the tree -this isn't your issue!



answers from Kansas City on


If the branch fell on your property, your insurance would cover the damage.

However in this cause, she is responsible for the cost to have the branch removed. It hasn't fallen and it's posing a possible risk.

You wouldn't be responsible for the cost of having the branch removed.



answers from Chicago on

Absolutely the landlord.



answers from Johnstown on

It is however your lease reads. Usually the landlord is responsible for all permanent fixtures, but you need to refer to the lease to be sure.



answers from Salt Lake City on

Your lease says clearly that deductible is for damage you cause, right? This wasn't caused by you. Landlord should pay for it - it's her responsibility to maintain the property (that's one of the benefits of renting over being a homeowner).

If she still refuses, contact housing authority.



answers from Cincinnati on

unless its says otherwise in your rental agreement (sometimes peopel take on responsiabilty that the landlord wold do for a decrese in rent) the landlord is required to maintain the property. this includes mowing the lawn and even raking leaves. now not doing these things will not really void the contract, but if the landlord knows about a problem that can pose a risk to anyone living there they have to (by law!) fix the problem



answers from Honolulu on


Also research Tenant laws: specifically, Google search "tenant rights" etc.



answers from Detroit on

Momma - I agree with the rest that the liability will be driven by your lease terms, but in general the landlord is responsible for the basic upkeep/maintenance of the property, including the land. One thing you may want to consider is that if you reasonably believe the tree poses a danger to you and/or your family in some way, you would probably be justified in taking your rent money and cutting the tree down with that and getting her a copy of the bill and any left over money, OR putting it in escrow for the purpose of the tree cutting until someone can determine if that is reasonable (perhaps a consult with a tree service to see how dangerous it is). This will get her attention - she will probably blow a gasket over this, but the safety of your family comes first. If you are good tenants, your landlord won't want to lose you, so she will probably work with you - assert your rights! Also, please get renters insurance if you haven't already (hopefully this doesn't sound "lecture-ey") just in case something else happens there - you will be so happy that you did!


answers from Seattle on

I am a landlord...the landlord should pay...but check your rental agreement, just in case.



answers from Houston on

I am a Code Enforcement Officer, and it is the property owner is responsible for the property. Storms are considered natural disasters, and are not included under the destruction of property clauses.

Our City has an inspector for these types of things... call your City Hall and ask if they have an Apartment Inspector, or a Rental Unit Inspector. If not, ask for Code Enforcement. Often, your City can require that the landlord take care of these problems, and if not, the City can take care of it, and place a lien on the property itself. It depends on if it is covered under their local Code of Ordinances...



answers from New York on

It's going to be the landlord. It's his property. Just notify him about it and ask that he take care of it. Good luck!

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