Landlords Tree - Posted by Jim

Posted by Frank Chin on June 14, 2007 at 12:49:01:


You’re one lucky tenant, and one not so swift landlord, if this is so, with a lease probably not drawn by a commercial RE attorney. My dad is 85, owns commercial property, gets around on a walker, has short term memory problems, and I’m glad his tenants handle all the maintenance. I’ll be darned if I have to go around checking on his dead trees, and toilets.

The way you describe your lease, you can even call him up about the a not flushing, which makes it no different than a residential property.

I’m not sure about “act of God”, but if this is so, his “general liability” insurance would most likely not cover.

Frank Chin

Landlords Tree - Posted by Jim

Posted by Jim on June 13, 2007 at 09:21:44:

I rent a commercial building w/parking lot. During a wind storm a tree fell on my boat and his garage. I have no renters or boat insurance. I understand my landlord doesn’t have actual HO insurance but a “Business Policy”.

The insurance company is giving me the run around. They said the landlord (and them) does not have any liability since it was an Act of God. They (agent & adjuster) asked a couple of times if the tree had leaves, which it did, but the inside core was deteriorated from rot or bugs or something. The insurance said there was no negligence by the landlord. I requested their position in writing.

Do I have any recourse?

Re: Landlords Tree - Posted by Frank Chin

Posted by Frank Chin on June 14, 2007 at 10:02:07:


I have a commercial lease as lessee, and I’m supposed to do maintenance, insure it, and I’m responsible for my own contents, which I insure under my own policy. My dad rents out commercial property, and that’s SOP around here.

If the owner used a good RE attorney to draw up a halfway normal commercial lease, you would even have been required to show him that you carry the insurance, covering him as additional insured.

Even in residential situations, tenants are reponsible to insure their own contents, and if you don’t have renter’s insurance, you’re just out of luck.

One of the major advantages in commercial RE is the tenant usually handles the maintenance, so it’ll be a unusual, unless the owner is inexperienced, that the owner would even allow himself to be responsible for knowing about the condition of the tree on the property.

If the lease shows that you are responsible for maintainance, as it should, then if the tree is rotten and fell down, it’ll be your fault, not the landlords. The landlord can even come after you for negligience, rather than the other way around.

Frank Chin

Re: Landlords Tree - Posted by Rich-CA

Posted by Rich-CA on June 13, 2007 at 11:01:42:

I would read the lease. In mine it states that the tenant has sole responsibility for insuring their property. I only insure things I own. I understand this is the position of most insurers as well.

liability - Posted by Jim

Posted by Jim on June 14, 2007 at 12:35:20:

Thanks for the insight. I read the lease it states both parties are to carry proper insurance. The lease is about as basic as they get. It doesn’t address maintenance surprisingly, however he put on a new roof, HW tank & some electrical items in the 10 years I have been here.

A friend in the insurance biz said if landlord had knowledge (of the tree being deteriorated) and didn’t make an effort to correct it, he may have liability. Years ago I approached him and the neighbor to split removal 1/3 each. Neither of them wanted to do it due to the expense. I can’t find the email coorespondence. Both neighbor and landlord are about 80 yo, I don’t know if the landlord would acknowledge that discussion, and the neighbor moved out of town, but still ownes the property.

The other route I’ll try is there are three other standing dead trees within 20’. In ten years he hasn’t done any tree maintenance. My photos show the fallen tree core was comprimised plus it would have been visible when it stood.

I sending him and the insurance company a certified letter putting them on notice of the other dead standing trees. Then they’ll incur liability.

The only up side is my homeowners insurance has a $1,000 standard boat coverage, kind of like the cash, guns and jewelry riders on a policy.

Note to self, get renters insurance…

Re: Landlords Tree - Posted by Jimmy

Posted by Jimmy on June 14, 2007 at 07:25:30:

if the tree was sick or dying, and you can prove it, you may have a claim against the landlord. and then the landlord will try to make a claim on his insurance.

gather your evidence before they remove the tree.