Date of publication: 2017-08-16 19:44
Q: Is it possible to make my neighbor trim his trees if they are hanging over my property? We do not communicate because he refuses to discuss the problem. We belong to a property management association in our subdivision, but they don't seem to care and they won't do anything to help me get this problem resolved.
If the city determines that one of your neighbors' trees is dangerous, they will issue a notice to have it removed within 65 days. If your neighbors don't remove the tree, they can be fined up to $555, and the city can enter their property and remove the tree at their expense.
If you want, you can go one step further. Your neighbor has a duty to prevent his tree from harming your property. It seems reasonable, then, that your neighbor should be required to pay to have the tree removed or trimmed so that it stops damaging your house. Also, your neighbor may be liable to you for the damages already caused by the tree's roots.
“Trees are the best monuments that a man can erect to his own memory. They speak his praises without flattery, and they are blessings to children yet unborn.”
“I frequently tramped eight or ten miles through the deepest snow to keep an appointment with a beech-tree, or a yellow birch, or an old acquaintance among the pines.”
An upper-class widow falls in love with a much down-to-earth nurseryman, much to the disapproval of her children and criticism of her country club peers.
You should be aware of several other facts. Since tree roots usually take years to cause damage, a judge or jury, or even your insurance company, may find you were partially or even completely at fault for not taking steps years ago to prevent the damage.
Another court might be more reluctant to find a neighbor liable for killing a tree if the neighbor acted in a prudent fashion when cutting down the limbs that extended over the property line.
“To be able to walk under the branches of a tree that you have planted is really to feel you have arrived with your garden. So far we are on the way: we can now stand beside ours.”
“The forest is a peculiar organism of unlimited kindness and benevolence that makes no demands for its sustenance and extends generously the products of its life and activity it affords protection to all beings.”
Q: Hurricane Rita caused my neighbor's giant oak tree to fall into my backyard. It knocked down a large section of my fence and smashed our swing set. Can I make my neighbor pay for the repairs to the fence and the replacement cost of the swing set?
Q: Hurricane Rita blew down my backyard fence. My neighbor has informed me he's going to hire a company to fix the fence and then send me a bill for half the cost. I don't care if there's a fence between the properties, and I don't want to pay for any portion of it. Am I obligated to pay?
A. Unfortunately not. Because your trees lie within a utility easement, public utilities and other governmental entities are permitted to do their work, even if that means damaging or removing your trees. They can take those actions without providing you with notice as long as doing so is reasonably required for the maintenance or installation of public facilities or utilities.