My neighbour’s tree fell on my house

Unfortunately, this is a pretty grey legal area

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From the February/March 2014 issue of the magazine.

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Q: During a recent ice storm, part of my neighbour’s tree fell on my house and caused some damage. I don’t want to claim the costs on my insurance and would rather my neighbour took responsibility for it. But is he even liable for the damage?Legally, can I have him pay the repair costs?— Treed Off, TORONTO

A: Unfortunately, this is a pretty grey legal area. “Unless you could prove your neighbour should have known the tree was dangerous, you will have difficulty suing for anything,” says Toronto real estate lawyer Mark Weisleder. But ask yourself if it’s even worth doing that, because clearly it will sour your relationship. With regard to your home insurance policy, you could tryreporting the claim, and your insurer may try and get the neighbour’s insurance to pay for it. But again, says Weisleder, “it’s not clear whether you would be successful.” Even if your neighbour won’t voluntarily pay for the damages, at the very least you can remove any overhangingbranchesfrom his tree.

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