Neighbour's Tree Fell onto My Property - Who is Responsible?

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Mike Love

Well-Known Member
25 June 2014

It was actually a friend's property. But their back block is owned by Melbourne Water. A large tree fell from Melbourne Water's block into my friends backyard. Luckily it missed everything important, but it did crush their fence.
They were told by their insurance assessor that "it was an act of God" and that Melbourne Water are not liable for any damage that is past their fence line!!!

So my friend was told that he has to pay half their fence cost ($600).

I would have thought that since it was a neighbours tree, they would be entirely responsible for the damages that it causes under property law?

Can someone please shed some light on this?



LawConnect (LawTap) Verified
27 May 2014
I'm 100% sure of the law, however it sounds right based on what I saw in another identical instance I know about. I was surprised at the time. A tree hit a house and the home owner had their insurance pay, not the tree owner. The home owner's insurance company didn't complain about having to pay so this is the reason I think your friend will have to pay. Though he can check his insurance policy to see it covers fences.

Paul Cott

Well-Known Member
LawConnect (LawTap) Verified
26 May 2014
Ballarat, Victoria
Hi Mike,

Yes the insurance policy is relevant. Chevy what coverage it offers.

Also, part if the answer here may well depend on what caused the tree to fall. To be an act of God, it gas to be an 'act' where nobody was at fault. Perhaps the tree wasn't maintained. But it may cost a sum to prove this and in view of the relatively small amount of money involved, it may be best to follow up the avenue of insurance.

It is not necessarily true that if something occurs beyond a property line, where it is caused by what happens in a property, MW isn't liable.

Hope that assists.