Ask an Expert


A tree in a car park owned by a commercial landlord breaks in a weather event and damages a trailer parked in the car park and owned by the tenant to the building.

The landlord wishes to make a claim for the damaged trailer under their Public Liability policy that insures their liability as a 'property owner' at the insured location, as they feel morally obliged to fix the damage.

Is the landlord liable? Would it depend on whether the landlord had been 'negligent' by not keeping the tree regularly pruned? Can a tenant and/or their insurer recover off a landlord in this regard given the Property Law Act? Would the circumstances differ if the trailer was owned by another party i.e. not owned by the tenant?

Crossley Gates replies:

The landlord is probably not liable at law. If it was caused by bad weather the landlord has not been negligent. See Helson v Dear HC Wellington CP 536-86, 25 October 1988.

September 2021

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