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Who is responsible when a large branch falls?

When a large branch falls onto one person's property from a tree on another person's property, who is responsible for hauling it away? Is it the owner of the house where the tree is growing, or is it the owner of the property where it landed?

The answer is it depends on how the branch looks. If the branch appears as if it is in poor shape, then look up. If the three looks much the same way, then the owner where the rest of the tree is located should have realized that the tree posed a hazard and taken care of the problem before it became an issue.

However, if the tree branch appears healthy, as well as the tree, then it is the responsibility of the property owner where the tree branch landed to remove the branch.

It's best to contact the neighbor and ask to talk to the owner. Tell him or her about the branch and if it appears to be unhealthy, then ask him or her to have the branch removed from your property. This could make the owner realize that he or she is responsible for trees that present a safety risk.

You should also inform the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development and the Building Department about any dead or unhealthy trees.

Residential real estate disputes can encompass many different things and in some cases, the courts may end up settling these disputes. An attorney can help you determine your legal options and provide you with the advice and guidance you need to make informed decisions.

Source: The New York Times, "Trees and Neighbors," Ronda Kaysen, accessed Aug. 05, 2016

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