Tree and Neighbor Lawyers

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What Can I Do if a Neighbor's Tree Hangs over My Yard?

If your neighbor's tree branches hang over your yard, you have the right to trim them up to the property line. However, you may not go onto your neighbor's property or destroy the tree.  If you deliberately harm your neighbor's tree, you may be liable to your neighbor for two to three times the value of the actual monetary loss.  

Who Owns the Tree?

The owner of the tree is the owner of the property where the tree's trunk is located.  However, if the tree's trunk stands partially on both properties, then it belongs to all the property owners.  In that case, all owners are responsible for the care of the tree and the tree cannot be removed without the other's permission.  Furthermore, if your neighbor kills a tree that is on your property, you are entitled to compensation.   

What about Dangerous Trees?

Again, you may cut back the branches to your property line.  However, that may not solve your problem if the whole tree is in danger of falling down onto your property.  The city may be able to step in to take care of, or make your neighbor take care of, dangerous trees.  

Some city ordinances prohibit maintaining dangerous conditions on private property; the city can demand the owner remove the tree or pay a fine.  Also, a utility company may trim a tree that threatens its equipment.  

Finally, if your neighbor refuses to do anything, you can sue him.  You can claim that the dangerous tree is a nuisance, that it is unreasonable for your neighbor to keep the tree and that it interferes with the use and enjoyment of your own property.

Do I Need a Lawyer to Help Me with My Tree Problem?

If your neighbor is unwilling to remove a dangerous tree you may have to go to court.  An experienced real property lawyer can help you take the proper steps to remove the dangerous tree.  If you chose to sue for damages, a real property attorney can file the necessary paperwork and represent you in court.

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Last Modified: 01-28-2014 12:25 PM PST

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