My Neighbor’s Tree Has Grown into My Yard, What Are the Dos and Don’ts of a Property-Line Clearance?
You won't get tangled up in a mess with your neighbors if you know these dos and don't about trees and property lines.
Find Your Property Lines
If Branches Extend Past Property Line
By law, you have the right to trim branches and limbs that extend past the property line, according to FindLaw. Learn these tree pruning techniques so you don't create more problems for the tree.
Each municipality has its own set of rules for setback requirements, how far something can be away from a property line. So before doing anything, make sure you have a clear understanding of setbacks and setback requirements. You need to know these 10 ordinances if you have a nuisance neighbor.
HOAs often have their own set of rules that are more stringent than city code, so talk with representatives of your HOA before doing anything so you can avoid becoming one of these homeowner association horror stories.
Who Owns the Tree?
According to FindLaw, whichever side of the property line the tree’s trunk falls on is the owner of the tree. When the tree trunk is divided by the property line, then all property owners possess the tree. If the tree is to be removed, consent from each party must be granted. It's best to remain on friendly terms with your neighbor because there are some things they won't tell you.
Neighbors Tree Looks Like it Could Fall Into Your Yard
First, it's usually best to discuss the potential issue with your neighbor. Second, your neighbor could be held liable for damages, according to FindLaw. Third, if your neighbor doesn’t do anything about it, the tree could be considered a nuisance, and you could file a nuisance claim, FindLaw says.
The city could even come out to remove the tree, if there are ordinances that prohibit property owners from keeping dangerous conditions on their property, according to FindLaw. Don't do these things when cutting down a tree.
Tree Root Issues
If tree roots rupture something like a septic system in a neighbor’s yard, there could be claims made against the tree owner. Of course, it all depends on the laws in the city and state where the tree resides.
Make sure you know how to check if tree roots are gumming up your sewer line.
Don’t Cut Down the Tree
Depending on where you live, if you cut down your neighbor’s tree it could be considered trespassing. According to NOLO, some states have laws on the books that make intentional tree damage a crime that can result in a fine or jail time. If you need to cut a fallen tree in your yard, follow these chainsaw safety tips.
Beware of Fallen Trees
If a tree falls into your neighbor’s yard, typically your insurance company will get involved, if it fell over due to an act of nature. But there are a number of scenarios where you, the homeowner, could be held liable, like if they knew the tree was dying and didn’t do anything about it before it fell over. Here's how to deal with a tree stump painlessly.