Better Call Behnken: Bradenton woman left with damage to home after living with tree on roof after Hurricane Irma

BRADENTON, Fla. (WFLA) – Corinne Ferrara lived with a palm tree on her mobile home for five and half weeks.

Hurricane Irma sent the tree crashing onto her roof, and the weight of the tree pushed in on the roof, causing it to leak inside her home.

Ferrara was in a tough situation, because she owns her home in the Pescara Lake neighborhood, but she rents the land. She says the park manager told her she wasn’t allowed to remove the tree, because the root system was on the park’s property.

But, the manager made no effort to remove the tree, Ferrara said.

And so it sat, damaging the home even more.

“It’s an injustice,” Ferrara said. “It really is.”

Finally, she called a tree company. The company, she said, wanted to get permission from the park to remove the tree, but calls weren’t returned.

The company eventually removed the tree for her for free because it was a dangerous situation, she said. Now, she’s left with damage to her home, and the manager won’t talk about that either.

Ferrara called Better Call Behnken and we paid the manager, Mike Albaugh, a visit. His receptionist said he was “unavailable,” even though he was visible in his office, typing on his computer. He refused to come out and answer questions.

So, we called the group in Illinois that owns the park.

Mike Fiala called back, saying he represents the management. He apologized for his site manager’s behavior, but said he believes trees are the homeowner’s responsibility.

Typically in Florida, the land owner is responsible for trees that fall on someone else’s property.

Fiala insists residents sign paperwork taking that responsibility. He said he will talk to Ferrara himself and try to help her navigate this process.

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