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Can you force your neighbor to trim that overgrown tree?

| Jun 22, 2021 | Firm News |

Even though you love your house all year long, it is at its most beautiful during the summer. When leaves grow on bushes and trees, your manicured property is one of the best in town. Regrettably, you cannot say the same thing about your neighbor’s yard. 

An overgrown tree may not only be an eyesore, but it may also put your fence, pool and house at risk of damage. If a friendly conversation does not do the trick, you may wonder if you can legally force your neighbor to trim an overgrown tree. 

The location of the tree

Typically, the location of the tree dictates its owner. If the tree’s trunk is entirely on your neighbor’s property, he or she likely has exclusive ownership of it. This is probably true even if some or most of the tree’s branches hang over your yard. If the tree’s trunk straddles the property line, though, you and your neighbor probably jointly own it.  

Damage to your property

To prevent damage to your property or even to improve the appearance of your yard, you can usually trim branches that hang over your property. If a branch from your neighbor’s tree falls onto your house, vehicle or anything else, your homeowner’s insurance policy is likely to cover the damage. Tree roots work a bit differently, however. If your neighbor’s tree’s roots damage your property, you can probably take legal action to recover financial compensation and perhaps a court order to remove the tree.  

Even though you may have to put up with an overgrown tree on the opposite side of your fence, you do not have to stand idly by while your neighbor’s trees damage your property. Ultimately, though, you may need to determine which part of the tree caused the damage to better understand your options.