Our neighbors (a nursing home) tree is going to fall on our house. Who is responsible?


Our neighbor was moved into a nursing home and her family is renting the house. They state that the nursing home has power of attorney. The tree in their backyard is cracking and going to fall on our home. Who is responsible to remove this tree before it damages our home?

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Call your local building inspector. Some municipalities remove hazardous trees for free.
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Whomever is the owner of the house is the responsible party.

By the way, I never heard where a nursing home has Power of Attorney for a patient.
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I think the neighbours are yanking your chain, if they have the authority to rent the house then they have the authority to look after the property. I doubt the nursing home is her POA, if there is no one else then there will be a court appointed guardian.
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The owner of the house would be legally responsible, to the best of my knowledge, assuming title is still vested in the name of the individual in the nursing home. However, she obviously isn't in a position to do anything about the tree.

I would contact the register of deeds and find out who still holds title to the house. Then contact that person(s).

The nursing home may have a power of attorney, but it's probably not for home maintenance; it would depend specifically on the terms of the POA.

If her family is living in the house, they apparently have taken the responsibility for leasing it, and I would think have some liability for the tree. Have you spoken with them?

In your area does the utility company address these kinds of hazards pre-emptively? In mine, it won't. I have a similar situation with the abandoned house next door. Eventually a branch will come down and knock out my power but neither the utility company, mortgagee or city will address the issue now; they'll wait'll the branch comes down and knocks out my power then worry about it.

I would talk to the owner's family and see what their response is. You might throw in a few terms like "liability" and see if you can't get them to take care of the issue. It'll be easier now than when the tree comes down and falls on your house.

Another thing you might do if they refuse is to send them a certified letter, putting them on notice of the hazard, confirming their refusal to act, and advise that you will also advise your insurance carrier when the tree comes down that they had "actual and constructive notice" (legal terms) that the tree was a hazard.

Your insurance company may subrogate against them (seek repayment from them for damages to your house) since they had knowledge of the hazard and declined to take action. Paying several thousand dollars to repair your house, or being sued for that amount, could set them back quite a bit financially.
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