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Aster's avatar

It appears I am expected to pay half of having a large tree cut down but it's not on my property. What should I do?

Asked by Aster (20007points) September 15th, 2020
24 responses
“Great Question” (2points)

Between my house and the neighbor’s house is a large tree that is slightly on her side of the yard. The branches hang over my house; not hers. Then the leaves collect in my gutters. She hinted that I would pay half of having that tree cut down which would cost me about $450 ! She just moved in and is very nice . I dont want to be rude to her but it is not on my property and does not even touch her house ! If I call in the POA to decide she’ll probably dislike me forever. Homeownership is not easy.

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janbb's avatar

Can you ask her politely why she is cutting it down and why she thinks you should pay half? That would seem to be the starting point for a discussion.

Aster's avatar

You know, after she left after bringing me a muffin I began wondering why the heck would she want to cut down a big tree that is not bothering her? Thanks; I will ask her when I see her again. No telling how long that’ll be from today. Maybe she’ll say , “oh, I just don t like the looks of it.” For $450 ? They must be loaded.

SergeantQueen's avatar

She obviously thinks you should pay half because some of the branches are in your yard. I would do what @janbb said then escalate to POA if needed. I really wouldn’t pay when the stump isn’t in your yard nor is it your idea to cut the tree down.

She may dislike you but she may also just decide not to cut it down. Who knows.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Not your tree and not your problem.

Her idea her checkbook.

Did she mention the leaves in your gutters?

hmmmmmm's avatar

Check with your town. It sounds as though the actual tree is rooted in on her property. My understanding is that (for many towns) this tree is her’s. So, if her tree were to suddenly drop a large branch onto your house or hurt someone on your property, she could be liable.

In other words, she might be attempting to reduce her own risk by removing the tree. But I wouldn’t contribute a dime, personally.

Tree disputes can be a nightmare. Good luck!

kritiper's avatar

It doesn’t matter who the branches hang over or who gets the shade. It’s whose property it’s on that matters. It would be nice to have you pay half, but you don’t have to since the tree is all hers. (She should have thought about that when she bought the house.)
Also, why she may cut the tree down is none of your business… (so don’t appear as a smart aleck by asking!)

tinyfaery's avatar

Check your state/county/city laws about tree cutting. My law firm has had so many cases about tree cutting and who has to pay and why? You might think it’s not on your property, but it could be. If it’s right on the boundary line you also have to help pay (in CA).

Zaku's avatar

Why does she want the tree cut down?

Also: $900 to cut down a tree?

hmmmmmm's avatar

@Zaku: ”$900 to cut down a tree?”

That would be a bargain around here.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@Zaku I had a 85 foot Long-leaf Pine cut down and stump ground out 5 years ago it cost $1100; right on my property line and white vinyl fence, it was less than 45 feet from my backdoor.

janbb's avatar

@Zaku Yeah. About $800 – $1,000 around here.

@Aster You said she brought you a muffin and mention that you might talk to her about it next time you see but don’t know when that will be. Why not be neighborly and bring her some baked goods to welcome her to the neighborhood and discuss the issue a bit? You also say the tree is a pain to you and it is “slightly on her side of the yard’ – implying that the yard is shared?

Anyway, I think bringing it up sooner rather than later and having a nice friendly unjudgmental (no “they must be loaded” attitude) would lessen your anxiety around it and maybe make you a new friend.

gorillapaws's avatar

@hmmmmmm ”...if her tree were to suddenly drop a large branch onto your house or hurt someone on your property, she could be liable.”

In my neighborhood this isn’t the case. When a tree fell on my house from a neighbor’s property, it was on my homeowner’s policy to cover the damages. I’m not sure if it varies by state, city or what. It is my understanding that if the tree is on her property there is no legal obligation to pay, but that could vary based on your local laws. IANAL.

flo's avatar

”...but it is not on my property and does not even touch her house !” If the tree stump is neither on your property or hers, then it’s the city’s?

flo (13313points)“Great Answer” (0points)
flo's avatar

…And doesn’t the city require a very good reason for them to approve it?

flo (13313points)“Great Answer” (0points)
Zaku's avatar

I’m really glad I found the nice affordable arborist I did, even more than I already was glad, then!

kritiper's avatar

Tell her you can’t afford to help.

snowberry's avatar

If a neighbor’s tree is hanging over my property, I am responsible for trimming that portion of the tree. That’s why if a branch fell and damaged my roof, my insurance would need to cover the damage.

jca2's avatar

@hmmmmmm: Here, too. I just paid 2k last summer to cut down a really tall tree. That’s about the going rate in my area.

@gorillapaws: In my area, also, just like yours, if my tree fell on my neighbor’s house, it’s considered “An Act of God” and therefore, I’m not liable for fixing the neighbor’s house.

Different areas have different laws. @Aster maybe if you like the tree, tell the neighbor you like it.

raum's avatar

I assumed the law was similar to what snowberry mentioned. You’re responsible for whatever is over your property line. She’s responsible for the trunk. You are responsible for the overhanging branches.

Though I imagine this would vary by state.

hmmmmmm's avatar

* I could be wrong about here and liability. At my last house, a neighbor cut down a rotting tree that had much of its branches over in my yard, and stated that he “would be legally responsible if a branch fell on my house” or hurt anyone. He could have been wrong too. But, yes – I’m sure it depends on town/state laws.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I’m going with @kritiper, simple.

gondwanalon's avatar

$450 is a good deal to rid a hazard to your house.
By the way you have the right to cut any portion of that tree that hangs over into your yard. And you do not need permission from your neighbor to do it.

I have a problem tree growing in our yard that is huge with much of it hanging over onto my neighbor’s house. In the last 5 years I’ve paid $2000 on professional tree trimmers to keep the tree off my neighbor’s house. I would like to remove the tree but my neighbors love the tree. They want it trimmed as little as possible. Next time the tree needs trimming they can pay for it.

jca2's avatar

A friend lives down the hill (on the banks of the Hudson) from a famous local wedding and catering venue, which is the former home of a long deceased famous American author. He said the catering venue pays every year for his trees to be trimmed so that the outdoor wedding photos showcase the beautiful views of the mighty Hudson. I guess that deal suits both of them – him as a home owner and the wedding venue as a business that can advertise beautiful river views.

kritiper's avatar

@Zaku It’s not just about cutting down the tree, it’s cutting it up, grinding it up, grinding out the stump, and hauling it away. And a tree near houses must be taken down bit by bit so the nearby house(s) won’t get damaged.

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