Living smart

What to do about that neighbor’s pesky tree

 

www.AngiesList.com

If roots or branches of a neighbor’s tree pose problems for you, it’s likely you have the right to take action, even if the neighbor won’t.

Tree laws vary widely, but most permit homeowners to trim overhanging branches or overreaching roots that cause damage, create danger or obstruct a view, according to tree service providers and an expert on tree and neighbor law.

The right carries some limitations. One of the main ones is that whatever action you take to remedy the problem can’t lead to permanent damage to the tree. Also, some communities have ordinances restricting which trees can be cut or removed, regardless of whose property they’re on.

Here’s advice our researcher compiled:

• Talk to your neighbors before hiring a tree company. Not only is it simple courtesy, it may make the job easier for your professional. One tree service provider told us that he’s surprised at how many homeowners hire him to trim a tree belonging to a neighbor they’ve never talked to about the situation. That can lead to workers getting yelled at and even having the police called.

• –Make sure you know for sure who owns the tree. If the full trunk is in your neighbor’s yard, the neighbor owns the tree, no matter how many branches or roots grow on your side of the property line. If the trunk rests on multiple properties, all owners must agree to trimming or removal.

• Be sure you know your local laws, ordinances and restrictions. The bottom line in nearly every area is that any trimming efforts must not cause the tree permanent damage. Be aware that in many places, you’re responsible for paying for damage caused if a neighbor’s tree falls on your property. The case may be different if the neighbor’s tree is dead. One expert suggests photographing a neighbor’s trees that seem to be dead and to make sure there’s a record of complaints made to the property owner and, if nothing was done, to local officials.

• Consult a certified arborist and, possibly, a real estate attorney. If you have any questions about tree ownership or the potential effects of trimming or cutting, it’s best to get expert advice from a qualified professional.

Read more Home & Garden stories from the Miami Herald

  •  
Dormify's Black Diamond and Stripe Bed Set is reversible with grey diamonds on one side and bold stripes on the other at $69. For a loft look, install temporary brick wallpaper ($98/roll) and hang graphic posters with washi or painter's tape.

    Home away from home

    How to furnish and decorate a dorm room

    Today, creating a dorm-away-from-home requires little more than a simple college try. Many university dormitories are often more akin to collegiate cells, with white walls and institutional furniture design that doesn’t always make the grade.

  • Ask Angie

    How to check a contractor’s references

    Q: When I contact contractor references, what should I ask?

  • Washington Report

    Stuck in the credit score logjam

    Homeownership is now at its lowest level since 1995, in part because so many buyers can’t get past lenders’ severe underwriting requirements.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category