Trees and property lines.

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Carroll, Aug 14, 2004.

  1. Carroll

    Carroll Guest

    We have a mature ash tree that is within a foot or so of our property line. It has been there for at least 50 years. It is healthy and provides excellent shade. Neighbors moved into the house next door about ten years ago. They demand that we dispose of limbs that are blown down in wind storms. This year they decided to build a gazebo under the tree within a few feet of the property line. They feel we should take care of all the expense of tree trimming and branch disposal while they sit in their gazebo and enjoy the shade.
    Question: Do they have the right to demand that we remove branches that fall from the tree and to pay for all trimming? It is not as if the tree is endangering anything other than the gazebo which they built under the tree that was already there. I cannot believe their demands are legal or moral.
    Our city code only says that tree limbs are litter and that all litter should be disposed of by the owner of the property where the litter is found, it says nothing about tree owners being responsible for removing same from another's property.
     
  2. bethlaf

    bethlaf Homegrown Family

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    the answer is a qualified , "depends"
    in my experience trees cause more proerty line disputes ...
    by rights whatever part of the tree , in most states, whatever part hangs over their property, is "thier" tree, and yess , they could shear straight up the side of the tree if they wanted to , and in some areas , they would be in thier rights to just that ,
    in other states and municipalities, its your tree, and you cant go pick up branches on thier lawn , because its trespassing, if they request it then you can , but they CANNOT in any case MAKE you pay trimming costs, unless its being done on your side of the tree....

    talk to your city department, and ask a realestate agent in your area what they suggest, they deal with the laws and issues like this in your area ..
    or you could just send a letter to the neighbor stating , this portion of the tree that hangs over the property line is yous, to tend and clean up and trim , and you will not be responsible for it , but , if you do that, they could come and cut half the tree off, effectively killing it ...
    try to work it out politely , its obvious youre miffed about the whole thing ....
    Good luck !!!
    Beth
     

  3. bethlaf

    bethlaf Homegrown Family

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    oooppps, another thought , is thier new construction within the proper set backs required by city/county/municipality?
    if not, well then you might have some bargaining power on your side .
    Beth
     
  4. Mudwoman

    Mudwoman Well-Known Member

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    Many years and several houses ago, we had a beautiful wooded lot in a subdivision in town. Along came a young couple that bought the house next door. For some unknown reason, this young man decided that any tree that had wood ants needed to be cut down and destroyed. Wouldn't you know that one of our trees was right next to the property line and most of the limbs were above his yard and this tree had wood ants. So, one day he cut that tree straight up from the property line. Just ruined it and we took him to court. He won. Seems that he owned the limbs hanging over his yard and if he wanted to cut them he could. The fact that it ruined the tree in our yard by doing so was just unfortunate. :waa:

    After that we put our house on the market and sold it. Was just not worth living next door to neighbors like that for us.
     
  5. BCR

    BCR Well-Known Member

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    Why not just be good neighbors and clean up the larger tree trash? Is it that often that large enough limbs blow down? Have a talk with them and say that you are a bit frustrated with demands but you are willing to work with them. They can feel free to clean/clip over the line to protect their gazebo and you will do your best to pick up the big stuff in general.

    Ask them to consider that the part over the line is theirs to maintain, regardless of local laws, say you are just being neighborly and certainly would agree to help trim it back with them as long as they gave a little on the treee trash issue. Or whatever deal will work for you. Keep the anger out of your voice and discuss it over cookies/coffee or something else non-threatening. Say, let's just have a chat to be certain we can continue being good neighbors.

    I have found that approaching an issue with neighbors while you/they are still flexible about the solutions. Otherwise anger often closes the door on possible solutions.
     
  6. mikell

    mikell Well-Known Member

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    Went through this last year in Michigan. All I can say is you better check but probably the bramches on his side are his problem.

    mikell
     
  7. mysticokra

    mysticokra Well-Known Member

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    When my neighbors oak tree blew down in my drive way he called the insurance company. Their position, based on the state code, was that we both bore the burden of the clean up. Had God knocked it over with lightning, then the insurance company would have paid.

    Suggest to him that he derives benefit from the shade and should be willing to share the clean-up. If he refuses, cut it down and watch his electric bill soar.
     
  8. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Cheer up. The ash borers could kill the tree in a year or two, and you can let the dead limbs fall on their gazebo.
     
  9. Don't know if you are responsible or not. However your neighbor has the right to cut all of the tree that extends across the property line. Property lines extend from the ground up to infinity. If he has put you on notice that you are responsible, you may very well be. Better ask an attorney to be safe. Put your neighbor on notice and tell him to cut all the tree that is over his property.
    Mike
     
  10. nostalgia

    nostalgia Well-Known Member

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    For the past 9 yrs. that we have lived here there was a tree that sits right on our property line. We believed the tree was actually ours even though the neighbors cattle fence was attached to the tree when we moved in. We wanted the tree cut because it was constantly getting into the power lines going into our home and also it was diseased and we were afraid it may have termites that could get into our home from the branches lying on our home. They would not cut the tree or allow us to cut it either claiming it was their tree. We believed if it was their tree then it should be their responsiblity to cut it. Anyhow nothing got done untill last winter when the tree limbs finally knocked the power out. The power company said they would cut the tree and restore the power since they have the right of way but they would be sending a bill to the owner of the tree. Guess what? The neighbors showed up within an hour to cut the tree themselves. :D

    We were willing to cut the tree ourselves since we believed it actually was our tree because it sit on our property line but, he has his fence attached to all the trees on our property line. When I say property line I mean the stakes that the surveyor used to mark our property line. His stake is about 3 ft. on the other side of ours. We do not have a problem with his fence being attached to any of the trees but when he is using them and one of the trees becomes a problem to us, we feel it should be his responsibility to fix it or move his fence. We have never complained about the fence (although we probely have ever right to) because it doesn't hinder us in any way but if we were neighborly enough to allow them use of the trees, surely they could be considerate enough to care for the trees. Some of the trees have become damaged and diseased because of the injuries caused by the barbed wire fence being nailed into them. He was willing to damage our trees but expects us to pay for them when they became a problem. I don't think so. :no:

    It can be a tricky situation sometimes when it comes to trees and ownership. If I were you though I would try to work out something to please both parties. But I would also consider cutting the tree if it is yours because if it falls on their home or injures someone, you could end up paying the damages. Is the shade and beauty of a tree worth that? Not to mention all the constant bickering. I think I would cut it and be done with it. But that's just me. :)
     
  11. Shygal

    Shygal Unreality star Supporter

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    Well, Id probably say since I dont want to be responsible for limbs that fall on his side, Id cut all the limbs off that side and let his gazebo sit in the sun.

    But thats just me.
     
  12. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

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    I would definitely cut the limbs into his yard.I myself would cut it to a stump and make it a birdbath,then plant a new tree that would give them no shade at all.
    BooBoo
     
  13. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I'd take a few good photos of their gazebo, showing that they intentionally built it right under the tree's limbs. I just have a nasty feeling that they think they are in a position to sue you should a tree limb cause damage to their gazebo.

    Tuck the photos away. Look up the letter of the law in your municipality so that you are coming from a place of being correct. Let them know that if they want to trim the branches off on their side, that you won't mind, as you understand how annoying the litter is. Make it clear, in a friendly manner, that apparently the law allows them to do this, that they technicly own the branches that grow over their property.

    Do they push you around in other matters?
     
  14. Carroll

    Carroll Guest

    Thank you, everyone for your thoughtful and helpful input on this matter. My husband and I are retired and find it difficult to deal with heavy lifting -- taking care of our own yard is just about our limit, both physically and financially. You are right: we must have a friendly chat with them and hope for the best. Thanks again. -- Carroll
     
  15. Stand_Watie

    Stand_Watie Well-Known Member

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    I wish I had a mature ash in my yard. I have some beautiful little ash's, several of which I transplanted myself, the largest of which may be 8 or 10 inches across at the base and 20 feet tall. I don't expect them to get very large at all for another 20 years or so.

    By all means, do whatever you need to to resolve your dispute, but don't cut off your nose to spite your face, or should I say 'cut down your ash to spite your neighbor'? ;)