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Homeowners challenge city claims process after fallen tree damages property

Posted at 6:45 PM, Feb 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-28 18:45:04-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- A tiny tree now stands in the footsteps of a once massive maple tree that used to hover Near John Anderson's Stuart Avenue home.

He tells the CBS 6 Problem Solvers that the tree crashed onto his property in July 2017.

“It was large enough...came all the way to our front porch...destroyed the railing here,” Anderson said.

He says before it came down, other neighbors alerted the city about it.

“They had notice about this tree being a hazard, parts of it had fallen on our neighbor's cars and it was a constant issue,” he said.

The homeowners can't believe their claim has been denied.

That issue became the Anderson’s headache too; when the tree fell, it  took out their front gutters and railings and caused more than $2100 in damage.

The family filed a claim with the city and was surprised to receive a denial letter that references a June 2016 service request the city got from a neighbor -- about a vertical split in the tree.

It also said the city arborist inspected it, found it to be visually healthy and determined no work was needed; a finding also made in another 2016 inspection.

The denial letter stated there were no other hazard reports or service requests prior to the July 2017 incident, and determined a storm on July 5th brought the tree down.

But the family says it's impossible because the tree fell on July 1.

“It's more the principle of it...the way in which the coverage was denied with completely inaccurate information as to a storm four days after the tree fell,” Anderson.

They want the city to reconsider their case...and want the Problem Solvers to share with others what the claims process entails.

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