Today I would like to continue discussing the fallout from the recent storms. Many calls to my office involved trees. Trees that had been knocked down, or branches that had fallen. Many trees were damaged and probably need to come down.
What does a resident do? If the tree is on Baltimore County property, it will be handled by them. Residents can call 410-887-3560 to report damaged or felled trees.
As for private property, the law states that if a tree or parts of a tree fall on your property and appear to be what is considered an “Act of God” (storm, lightning, etc.) the property owner is responsible for the damages to their own property, including clean up, removal and other expenses. These incidents are usually covered by the homeowner's insurance.
Now, there is a second important part to this. If you have a tree on your property that is diseased or damaged in some way and probably should have been taken down and the tree falls and damages your neighbor’s property, then you will be responsible. Suppose there are tree branches hanging over your property from next door. The rule is that you are within your right to cut and/or trim the branches as long as you don’t do fatal damage to the tree (use good judgment).
Trees are beautiful and a necessary part of our environment. They add so much to our quality of life and beautification of our communities. However, they can represent a real problem and a danger during times of severe storms, such as what we have recently experienced. You would do well to check all trees on your property and the ones along the county right of way near your property.
If you have a tree that needs attention, take care of it. If you see a county tree that should be checked, call the number listed above. We can’t protect ourselves from every danger, some things are unavoidable.
Taking precaution ahead of time goes a long way in making a difference when major storms come blowing our way. If you need further information or assistance, please feel free to call my district office at 410-887-7174.