Living on the sunny Gold Coast has many advantages, including being surrounded by the stunning, lush landscape of magnificent trees in both public and private spaces. Along with the beauty trees bring comes the responsibility of managing any potential issues that may arise, such as falling trees. When this occurs, a common question among property owners is, who’s responsible for tree removal for a fallen tree on the Gold Coast? Let’s explore various scenarios to understand who is liable.
What Can Happen if a Tree Falls?
The consequences of a tree falling can be substantial. It poses safety risks to individuals, their property, and nearby structures, leading to financial losses and disruptions in daily routines. Fallen trees can interfere with power lines and obstruct roads. They can even affect ecosystems and disturb natural habitats. Preventative steps are essential in reducing these potential repercussions. However, prompt action, such as engaging the tree removal services, is necessary if a tree falls.
Tree Removal For A Fallen Tree On The Gold Coast: Who Is Responsible?
According to the Neighbourhood Disputes (Dividing Fences and Trees) Act 2011 of Queensland, responsibility depends on the tree’s ownership. In most cases, the tree keeper (or owner) is accountable for care, maintenance, and any damage resulting from a fallen tree.
What Does “Tree Keeper” Mean?
A tree keeper refers to the registered landowner where the tree grows, which could be an individual, an organisation, a body corporate or the council (for trees located on public lands). However, the state isn’t considered a tree-keeper for specific land types like national parks. Instead, those holding occupation permits or stock grazing permits have this responsibility.
Now that we understand who a ‘tree keeper’ is, let’s discuss how homeowners insurance plays into various situations:
Scenario: A Tree From a Private Property Falls
Tree keepers must handle tree removal for a fallen tree on the Gold Coast premises. Homeowners insurance generally covers cleanup costs and damages to property and structures such as sheds or fences. However, this coverage doesn’t always extend to fallen trees stemming from negligence or improper removal attempts by untrained individuals. Depending on your policy, you might still be held responsible for some expenses.
Scenario: A Tree From Public Land Falls onto Private Property
In this case, the council would manage the cleanup and tree removal costs, while homeowners insurance would cover expenses related to the damaged property, fences, sheds, or other structures.
Scenario: Act of God
An “act of God” refers to an unforeseeable natural event for which no human is responsible. Examples are a storm, earthquake, or flood that causes damage or disruption beyond human control. It’s often used as a legal term to exempt liability for such events in insurance contracts.
If an act of God causes a healthy tree to fall, this may absolve the tree keeper from liability. For instance, if your neighbour’s tree falls onto your property because of an ‘Act of God’, your homeowners’ insurance might cover it. Examining the language within your policy will clarify responsibility. In general, homeowners insurance often covers such incidents.
An Arborist Can Help Determine Liability For Tree Removal For A Fallen Tree On The Gold Coast
When determining who’s responsible for tree removal for a fallen tree on the Gold Coast, seek the advice of a professional Arborist. With their expertise, they can assess the tree’s condition, previous maintenance, and potential risks for a more accurate determination of liability. By consulting a professional Arborist, property owners can ensure a fair and well-informed resolution to fallen tree cases, reducing the likelihood of disputes.
Clean Cut Tree has a team of Arborists trained in handling such situations. If you need their assistance, please feel free to contact us. We’re happy to help.