looking at a park with hundreds of trees and big need for trimming and pruning. I know that any dead trees need to be cut immediately upon closing, but what about the live trees. is the rule of thumb all is ok as long as they do not touch the mobile homes? after trimming, if no trees touch the mobile is all ok?
Dead trees are a big liability. If they fall, you are liable. Live trees are completely different. If they fall, it is an ‘act of God’ and you are not liable. So definitely remove the dead trees ASAP. Live trees should be pruned up to the level that the branches no longer bang on the mobile homes when the wind blows. We do not shape the trees above that, we just trim them up so they are off the houses.
Additionally make sure you inform all residents, in writing, that any damage to their homes from healthy trees needs to be claimed through their own home insurance policies.
In my community any home owner that wants a healthy tree removed is required to pay for the removal.
Tree removal is costly and can drown you if you are not careful. Always have a good plan and have multiple bids on the trees by taking referrals of nearby MHPs. Our bids ranged from $250K to $100K to remove dead trees and trees that needed a good trim. The bids were way too much then what we had anticipated. This was like asking a barber if you needed a haircut
I had to go to the park and meet one of tree guys who was the lowest in the bids and wanted the business badly. Spent few hours to do the following:
- Identify all the dead trees
- Trees that were hanging precariously on top of the mobile homes but not dead
- Trees at the front of the property that needed a good trim as this will appeal to prospective tenants
- We didn’t consider any trees that were outside perimeter and several feet away as they were not close to the mobile homes.
But taking this approach, we were able to bring the bid down to $28K!
On an on going basis, our capital expenditure will be around $5K for tree removal and trimming in our 28 acre park.
Does anyone know where to find the actual law that the parks responsible for tree cutting? In Florida
POH- it’s mine. TOH, if overhanging the home, I don’t want the liability.
In Florida, I think technically it is the tenants responsibility to maintain their lot. Practically, my tenants don’t have the money and I don’t want the grief so I take care of any tree issues.
On one park, during DD we found that tree removal/trimming was the second largest expense to get the park cleaned up. We had an arborist come in and do an evaluation and then went with a cheaper solution on the actual cutting.
And remember, that “tree trimming” is dangerous. Think ladders, ropes, heights and chainsaws. It’s one of the most expensive Workers Compensation insurance class codes at about 20% of payroll (vs 4% for typical park maintenance work). My advice is to never trim trees yourself nor have your employees do it. Hire an insured contractor (workers comp and general liability) to do it. And whether they are insured or not, use a contract that clearly states they are liable for all damages and must defend and indeminfy you if any of their employees are hurt on the premises and sue you… and they will.
@KurtKelley Do you have a recommended clause or height threshold for when tenants are responsible for maintain and trimming trees/bushes in their yard? We’d like to require they hire a licensed contractor for “tall” trees for safety reasons, but are not sure how to word this effectively.
Sorry for the slow reply. I don’t have that. I would say it’s an excellent idea to have in your lease that tenants are responsible for the maintenance of their yard and trees. Then when they have a limb smash their new pickup, you can tell them they should have trimmed it better.
I don’t know if it’s a good idea when to dictate they hire a contractor to trim trees. If you do, and someone is hurt trimming a tree that is implicitly approved for tenant trimming, you could have liability where you wouldn’t have otherwise.