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THE HEALTH OF A TREE WHEN IT FALLS DETERMINES LIABILITY UNDER FLORIDA LAW

“Get your tree off my property!” screamed one clearly stressed out neighbor to another. “Really?” Replied the other neighbor. “It fell on YOUR property, so it’s YOUR problem!”

While it’s fantastic to see neighbors helping neighbors with cleanup and repair after Irma, such civility is not always the case. And sometimes, even when neighbors are being civil to one another, the costs of handling the removal of a large tree and responsibility therefor need to be addressed.

You might find it interesting to know that the health of a tree determines which landowner is responsible for damages to property caused when the tree falls.

Under Florida law, when a dead tree falls from where it was rooted on to an adjoining property and damages that adjoining property, the landowner who owns the property where the tree was rooted is responsible for damages. However, in the situation where a live tree falls on an adjoining property and damages that property, the adjoining property landowner is responsible for the damages and not the owner of the property where the tree was rooted. See 1 Fla. Jr 2d Adjoining Landowners section 8 [2014].

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