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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
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Experience:  JA Mentor
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Two years ago a contiguous neighbor's three large trees were

Customer Question

Two years ago a contiguous neighbor's three large trees were struck by lightning. Two fell on my driveway and one, severely damaged remained standing. It is my understanding that the fallen trees were my property and it was my responsibility to have them professionally removed. The neighbor was in no way responsible. Is this correct? The neighbor did little to clean up the mess on his property. Yesterday another severe electrical storm felled another live tree on the neighbor's property, it fell on my property and I expect to pay for the clean up. The still standing, very big, damaged tree is dead and sooner or later will fall on my property. Is there any way I can protect myself and shift the responsibility for the pending clean up to the neighbor. Our properties are on Paddock Lane, Chadds Ford PA 19317
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Hi,

My name is ***** ***** I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear about your situation.
You're right that your neighbor was not responsible for the FIRST trees falling, because a storm is an act of God, and they could no more have prepared for and avoided the trees falling than stopped the storm entirely.
However, the neighbor DOES have an obligation to remove damaged or dead trees that provide a known danger to the neighbor's property. He couldn't have prevented the tree from getting hit, but he absolutely has an obligation to stop it from falling on your property now. If it falls, your neighbor will be responsible.
One option is to send a demand letter, via certified mail, giving formal notice that the tree is damaged and going to fall and letting the neighbor know that they must remove it or they will be negligent and held liable when the tree eventually falls. If you do that, it may help to include pictures of the tree if it's obvious that it's dead.
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