With no provisions in the lease regarding fallen trees, is the landlord is responsible for the tree removal at his cost?

UPDATED: Aug 30, 2011

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With no provisions in the lease regarding fallen trees, is the landlord is responsible for the tree removal at his cost?

There are no provisions in my lease stating anything about fallen trees/tree debris being my responsibility but my landlord refuses to remove the tree and has not fixed the damaged house after 6 weeks of my requests verbally and in writing. He states the tree falling was “an act of God” and that my lease says I am responsible for yard work. This is clearly not yard work. What can I do to get him to remove it and fix the damage?

Asked on August 30, 2011 Georgia


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You are wise to have read the written lease that you have for the unit you are renting in that its terms control the obligations that you owe the landlord and vice versa in the absent of conflicting state law. Under the laws of each state in this country, a landlord is obligated to provide safe and habitable living conditions for his or her tenant.

The debris that you have described in your question's facts does not fall under the normally accepted definition of "yard work" in this country. "Yard work" is essentially the maintenance of exisiting outside vegetation. What you have described is significant clean up and remedying of storm damage where fallen trees and limbs need to be removed at significant expense of time and costs.

From what you have described, it is the landlord's obligation to clean up the mess on his rental property at his cost. You should write the landord a letter advisng him that he or she needs to clean up the mess by a certain date. If not, you will do so and deduct the costs from the next rent check in that its presence is a health and safety hazard.

Good luck.

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