Property Line Tree Removal & Trimming: What you need to know.

Trees that are planted on or near property lines could cause ongoing disputes between neighbors and, in some cases, even lead to lawsuits. It can be difficult to determine who is responsible for trees that are located on property lines.

A tree that is located on a property line. The tree has shared ownership and responsibility with both neighbors, depending on what is done to it.

It’s your job to trim your own side. Your neighbor should do the same.

If the tree is located on the property line, both parties will be responsible for the removal.

Who is the owner of the tree?

Most areas have laws that state that landowners own everything and anything that is located on their property. This includes the property above his property (to a reasonable elevation) and below his land (to a reasonable depth).

 

Trimming any vegetation on your side is legal. However, consent from the owner of the tree if it is to be removed is required.

 

You cannot do anything to damage or kill the tree if you don’t own it. Any part of the tree that is hanging above your line can be trimmed or pruned.

Quinlan Tree Service Service Area Map
We have dealt with many trees on property lines.

Discussing Your Concerns with a Neighbor about Tree Removal

A tree removal agreement between neighbors can be a good place to start if a property line is becoming an eyesore, or worse.

Trees are a source of fresh air and shade, provide shade in hot or sunny weather, and are beautiful. However, they can also be an eyesore. They are not only ugly but can also cause damage to properties and the surrounding areas.

Why a Neighbor Should Remove a Tree

If their tree poses a danger to your property, you should notify your neighbor. If the tree:

 

  • Has dead or broken branches
  • Looks at risk of falling
  • Strong roots cause damage to your driveway
  • Clutters your yard
  • Looks sick or dead

 

Property owners have a legal obligation to inspect their land for defects that could pose a risk or endanger other property.

 

Dealing with the Neighbor’s Dangerous Tree

There are many options if you’re worried about your neighbor’s tree damaging your home, driveway, cars or your fence.

 

  1. Talk to your neighbor about it. Conversation is the best way to resolve neighbor disputes. Talk to your neighbor about your concerns with the tree and work together to find solutions. You can share your fears about the tree falling onto your roof, shed or fence. You can inform them that you will split the cost of removal, even if you don’t have to.
  2. Write a letter to your neighbor if you are unable to address your concerns in a conversation with your neighbor. Include reasons for tree removal and your concerns regarding the tree. Also, include possible resolutions. 
  3. You should document the damage that the tree caused. Most states do hold property owners responsible if a tree falls on another property. You should record all interactions with neighbors asking them to remove the tree. You should also document any damages that the tree has caused, including root damage and clutter.
  4. Report to your local government. If negotiations with the neighbor failed, notify your local building or planning board.
  5. Local homeowners’ associations may be able to help. Check out the rules regarding trees and property maintenance, and ask the board of the homeowners’ association for assistance.
  6. You can file a demand letter if negotiations with your neighbor are unsuccessful. Send a letter to your neighbor advising them of the legal steps you are taking if they do not meet your demands.
Tree Service for Insurance Claims in Commerce Township Michigan
Tree on a house in Commerce, Michigan

Common Questions about Property Line Tree Removal and Trimming

How close can I cut trees to the property line?

You can take down any branches that are hanging from a neighboring tree, regardless of whether they cause damage. You can generally cut roots back to the boundary, but some courts have ruled that it is only allowed where they have caused damage.

Can my neighbor trim my tree.

If the trunk of a tree is found entirely on your property, it is yours. If the trunk of a tree is on your neighbor’s land, it will be theirs. Michigan’s code prohibits you from cutting down trees that are not yours. However, you can cut any limbs or roots that are encroaching on your property.

Who is responsible if a tree branch falls onto a neighbor’s land?

Before you can determine who is responsible for damages caused by falling branches or trees, you must first determine who owns them. If the trunk is on your property, you are the owner. If the trunk is located on the property of a neighbor, it is theirs.

Can homeowners insurance cover a tree that falls on a neighbor’s car?

Your neighbor’s auto policy will cover the cost of repairs if your tree falls on their car.  Your neighbor will be responsible for his deductible. However the insurance company will most likely contact the neighbor or their insurance company.

Who’s liable for a fallen tree?

Simply put, if the owner knew or ought to have known that a tree was dangerous and failed to act, he/she is legally responsible for any financial or other damages caused by a fallen tree or branch.

Who’s responsible for the tree that fell on the neighbor’s house?

If a tree falls onto the property of a neighbor, the neighbor should immediately file a claim with his or her insurance company. The insurance company usually covers the costs of any damages. 

Who is responsible if a tree is blown over by a storm?

You are responsible for any damage to your property caused by a tree limb, neighboring properties, or a yard two miles away. Windstorms are not the fault of any individual. It is simply a natural phenomenon.

How can you stop your neighbors from cutting down trees in your neighborhood?

You have the legal right to trim branches or limbs that extend beyond the property line. The law allows tree trimming, pruning and cutting only up to the property line. You are not allowed to go on the neighbor’s property and/or destroy the tree.

Conclusion

Talk to your neighbor about any property line trees that need care. Then, follow the laws and support any claims with evidence. Do you need help trimming the property line tree? Do you need to have a tree removed from your property? Contact us for your FREE tree service quote.

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