What can by vrother do to get his landlord to help out?
August 6, 2011 1:08 PM   Subscribe

My brother rents a property in Virginia and after a storm four months ago, a massive tree was struck by lightning and fell and is now blocking their driveway. They are still able to drive through the yard to get to the house but the landlord has been dragging his feet to remedy this situation. What can he do?

Is the tree blocking the driveway some kind of a code violation? Also there is another huge tree still standing that is clearly dead and has already been struck by lightning and it's a miracle it's still standing. It is only a matter of time before that thing falls and it's right next to the house, is there any way to get the landlord to take care of that tree also? They have purchased renter's insurance in case the tree falls and damages their belongings.

Of course my brother needs to call the local tenant union, but I wanted to know if anyone has had any experience with this, thanks.
posted by MaryDellamorte to Grab Bag (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Is the landlord cheap or just lazy? You could try getting a quote from a tree removal place and calling the landlord offering to get it done and deduct the cost from the rent. If it costs the landlord the same amount of money, some will be happy just not to have to deal with it themselves.
posted by hattifattener at 1:18 PM on August 6, 2011 [2 favorites]

He seems like a combo of cheap and lazy.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 1:24 PM on August 6, 2011

Try the tree removal quote first, and if that doesn't work, drop a line to the code enforcement office. However, that last might be a nuclear option, as your brother's landlord will almost certainly not be pleased by the result.
posted by thomas j wise at 1:35 PM on August 6, 2011

I agree, if your brother does the research and saves the landlord that step.... some people are just busy/lazy and need someone to do their leg work.

Or, go rent a chain saw and get some serious fire-wood out of this situation!!!!
posted by Sabine3283 at 6:11 AM on August 7, 2011

Sabine, the tree is so massive that it would be impossible for one person (my brother) to do the job himself and then have a place to put all the firewood. It's going to require professionals.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 10:37 AM on August 7, 2011

The step you probably want to take is a polite certified letter stating that you hope it will be taken care of by such-and-such a date or you will need to take further action. Citing specific Virginia landlord-tenant law in this letter will likely wake up the landlord. If you need to invoke anything else regarding the difficulty and personal safety issues, do so: putting them in writing shows that you are serious.

Good for your brother for getting renter's insurance! Most people don't realize that the landlord generally does not carry insurance which covers tenant movables.
posted by dhartung at 1:59 PM on August 7, 2011

They sent a certified letter when the tree initially fell because it fell onto their pump house which controls their well water. They were without water for four days but the landlord only remedied the situation enough to fix the water issue. Is there a specific code they can site if they decide to send another certified letter? There is still the issue of the still standing, yet clearly dead tree that is going to fall sometime in the near future. Is that against a code of some kind?
posted by MaryDellamorte at 2:17 PM on August 7, 2011

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