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Thursday, September 24, 2020











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Subject: Home Owners Insurance.
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Author Messages
RobertW31
(New York)

Posts:34


09/09/2020 10:22 AM  
This should be an easy one but I really don’t know. A tree from a private property owners property fell through one of our community members fence. Our property management company says just pay to have the tree removed and pay for the fence repair and later have our lawyer go to the tree owner to try to get our money back. This seems odd to me but I am not an insurance expert.

Couldn’t our homeowner put in a claim to get the damage repaired and then her insurance company could sort it out with the tree owners insurance company? Would our homeowner have to pay the deductible?

Hope someone knows the ins and outs of this kind of problem. Thanks.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:16953


09/09/2020 11:15 AM  
Typically, when a tree falls it's considered an act of God and not something that could be prevented.
When this happens, each insurance takes care of their own property damage and removal of the tree.

Example: Common area tree falls in storm, which damages private property.
Association/Association Insurance pays for removal of the tree on the common are to the private property line.
Private property owner/homeowners insurance pays for removal of tree from property line inward and repair of any property.


IF one can prove that the other party was aware, or should have been aware, that the tree was a hazard to others (i.e. not healthy), one could sue for negligence. Good luck with that.
DouglasK1
(Florida)

Posts:1529


09/09/2020 11:21 AM  
I don't see where the association has any role to play in this. One property owner's tree damaged another owner's property. They should contact their own insurance companies or just work it out between themselves.

Escaped former treasurer and director of a self managed association.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:16953


09/09/2020 11:39 AM  


I'm envisioning this as town home units, tree falling across common area onto another private property.

If this is the case, the Association would be responsible for removing the tree section that is on the common area.

However, if the tree isn't touching common area, then it would be a neighbor v neighbor issue and not an Association issue.

JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:9870


09/09/2020 12:09 PM  
As Tim asked:

Did the tree fall on association common property? If so the association can file an insurance claim or just pay the damages itself ala tree removal and fence repair.

If the tree fell on the member's private property then it is not an association issue. The owner can do as above.
ND
(PA)

Posts:491


09/09/2020 12:14 PM  
Posted By DouglasK1 on 09/09/2020 11:21 AM
I don't see where the association has any role to play in this. One property owner's tree damaged another owner's property. They should contact their own insurance companies or just work it out between themselves.



Based on info provided by OP, I agree with this advice.

Why would HOA get involved at all, shell out HOA money (all homeowners' money) to remove a tree that fell from one person's property and damaged a fence owned by another person (unclear if both of these people are HOA members or not, but I don't think it matters), then shell out even more HOA money on the lawyer to fight (legal fees, court costs, more legal fees) for only a chance of getting reimbursed for some of that money later on? Curious if the MC has simultaneously already recommended tree-removal and fence-repair companies.

Also, I think stepping into the middle of this could be perceived as a sign of acceptance of responsibility and/or obligation to do something which may result in losing the future legal battle to recover the money spent.

Nothing (to me at least) is screaming for the HOA to step in because of actual responsibility/obligation or because the safety, health, and/or welfare of anyone or anything is at stake. The two parties involved need to work this one out themselves.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:9530


09/09/2020 2:01 PM  
Had similar issue happen. Our HOA was responsible for the cleanup of the debris of the fallen tree as it had fallen on common property. However, the damage to the fences and houses were the owner's insurance. We just grant permissions to put up a fence. We in no way take care or own them. Same for the houses. We own the property around the homes but not the house/lot.

Having my tree fall on my neighbors house due to it being rotten, I was responsible for his new roof. If it had fallen over in a storm and been healthy, then his insurance would have had to pay.

Former HOA President
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