acts of god

Phil Querin Q&A - When is a Hazard Tree Not a Hazard Tree?

Question. A couple of posts ago, I addressed a questions regarding the roots of a non-hazard tree located on the resident’s space interfering with their sewer line. 


There were some follow-up questions I will address below. However, here’s the caveat: This is not legal advice, and community owners and managers should confer with their own legal counsel. Also, my answers are merely my opinions, and others have every right to disagree. Who is ultimately right is up to the judge before whom the matter is submitted.


Here are the follow-up questions:


A tree that was never known by anyone including the tenant, or the landlord, to be considered a “hazard tree” prior to a windstorm, later falls and does no damage.  This tree was neither planted by the current tenant, nor the community.[1]  


Question No. 1. Given that there was no negligence by anyone, is the damage done by the windstorm considered an Act of God?


Question No. 2. With the tree now uprooted and lying on the ground, does it now present a hazard or meet the definition of a “hazard tree” thereby shifting the obligation to “maintain” a hazard tree to the Landlord?


Question No. 3. Does maintaining a tree include tree removal?


Question No. 4. Who is legally responsible to pay the expenses associated with the disposal of the tree?

Answer.  Wow! Asking me if God caused a windstorm could get me in trouble. What if I’m wrong?