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Discussion Starter #1
Our neighbor behind us has a very large tree at the back of their property. It appears to be dying. 80% of the tree hangs over OUR yard and the back of our home. The tree is still alive but brances are dying and each year it gets worse. The tree is HUGE and the biggest most laden branch hangs over our home.

I was told that I need to write them a letter telling them that their tree is endangering our property or something like that, so that if we have a storm and it blows down I can sue them instead of my insurance paying? My dad said to write them a letter and keep a copy of it myself and to send the letter certified mail so that I have a receipt that they got it.

Does that make sense? If so, any help on how to word the letter? I just want to make them aware of the tree and the situation to protect myself.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I've never met them. We had to replace our back fence which obviously put us near their property recently and I saw a woman watching us through a window but she never came out.


We live in " small city" neighborhood which has its own little stupid mayor and council people. I think they call them 2nd class cities? Anyway, I spoke to one of the councilmen about the tree and he said that the city was concerned with their property because it was getting a little "run down". I dont know what that means, Ive never seen the front of their house to even know. I guess I'm just a wimp and would prefer to send a letter rather than get into a possible scuffle.

It looks like its going to be a pretty pricey tree removal and the tree isnt even an issue for them as it leans entirely AWAY from their property. I think Im going to have to give them incentive to want to remove it, ie, let them know that if it falls on my house Im coming to get them.
 

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Try talking to them first. While there's a good chance it could be a dead end, it IS the 'neighborly' thing to do. Even though it's not your responsibility, you might want to offer a little money to help with the tree removal (could save you legal or insurance hassles later if the tree DOES cause damage).

Before you talk to your neightbor, you might want to have a tree pruning company come out to give you a free estimate. From the sound of it, they could see enough of the tree from your backyard to inform you of the condition of the tree, whether you should be concerned or not, and the cost of the options to deal with it.
 

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No easy legal solution here ... I would first speak with them and try to work out a removal of the tree, perhaps with some cost-sharing.

I'm not sure about your state, and the law could very well be different than here, but generally you own everything in the air space above your property line. So the tree could be trimmed to the property line.

What happens if trimming above your property kills the tree, because so much of it overhangs? Entirely unclear, but if it then fell because it was left for dead, I would not want to have to defend you. I think you would be responsible for any forseeable harm if you knew or should have known that the trimming caused a dangerous situation.

So the best answer is to talk to them and try to work it out amongst yourselves.

Steve
 

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Walker vs. Tyson (1994) states that it is OK for you to get out a flamethrower and burn down the parts of the tree that overhang your property, or use a tree pruner, whichever you prefer. The flamethrower is more exciting.


Seriously, talk to them first, if they won't do anything you can cut down the parts that overhang your property.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
The tree is already, for the most part, dead. The tree is situated in such a way that it would cost me probably $1000-1500 or more just to remove this one branch. Actually now that I think about it, there is no physical way for a bucket truck large enough to cut this branch down to get into my backyard. There is nothing I can do from my end to fix this.

I know its nice to say I'll pay part of the bill to remove the tree but I dont think I wish to pay for their tree. I'll tell you why....

This neighbor also put up a large 6 foot tall chainlink fence butting up almost back to back with our 5 foot wooden stained fence privacy fence. Our fence has been there 30 years. They just put their fence in about 2 years ago.

When they installed their fence they only left a foot and a half space between our fence and their fence. In this foot and a half space there were small tree's growing and even a larger tree or two. I dont know where the property line is back there but since our fence has been there 30 years you'd think that the line was in their yard. They didnt ask us, or say a word to us, they just put up the fence. And the way they put up the fence they effectively screwed us. They didnt cut down the shrubs and trees in their yard near the fence first....they just left it all there and put a giant 6 foot tall fence up just in front of all the mess. They clearly cannot prune or cut tree's through their 6 foot chainlink fence, leaving us to have to deal with the trees and bushes growing through our wooden fence.

One of the small trees died and I had to pay $400 to have someone come in and remove it but they could only remove parts of it because there is now NO room to work between the fences. I purchased a $200 chainsaw and my husband had to give me a boost over the fence where I squeezed myself and the chainsaw in and tried to trim some of the bushes. Its a mess.

These people arent morons, they knew that by putting up the fence the way they did they also effectively created a BIG problem and they didnt care. Nor did they even try to cut down the trees and bushes before they installed their fence.
 

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spezielle Soßekopfsalat mit zwei legt aller Rindfleischpastetchen Zwiebeln auf einem Sesamsamenbrötchen in Essig ein
OFM, you're not surreptitiously promoting a German porn film, are you? :D
 

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Later Apex said:
Walker vs. Tyson (1994) states that it is OK for you to get out a flamethrower and burn down the parts of the tree that overhang your property.
Ahh - but that decision was overturned in Holyfield vs. Tyson (1997) where it was ruled that trimming off overhanging parts with your teeth was not acceptable.
:D
 

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HoopyFrood said:
Ahh - but that decision was overturned in Holyfield vs. Tyson (1997) where it was ruled that trimming off overhanging parts with your teeth was not acceptable.
:D
:bow: :bow: :bow: :bow: :bow:
 

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zOOmz said:
Also, you might need a property appraisal to decide where the property line REALLY is. Sometimes it ends up that they have their fence on your property and you can force them to remove the fence, even if it is an inch. Of course it could go the other way.. :eek:

zOOmz [/B]
zOOmz makes a good point. A survey may be in order. For a couple of reasons. First, you might find out that the property line is not where you think it is, and you may end up owning that nice chain link fence :D

Second, you may end up owning that ugly tree

Either way, you're in the driver's seat

Assuming neither is the case, get an expert to examine the tree. If its dead, and endangering your property, send them a letter asking them to remove it. If no response, have it removed yourself and send them the bill. Chances are that they will continue to ignore you, at which point you can hire a lawyer at a cost likely in excess of the bill you want paid, or forget about the whole thing. Hopefully they will not have sued you in the meantime for taking down their lovely tree (I'm not kidding)

Like I said no easy solution. Bad neighbors can make you miserable ...

Steve
 

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Steve said:
Like I said no easy solution. Bad neighbors can make you miserable ...
Which is why you need to take the simple approach first and try talking to them.

I had a similar situation (not as bad though) with my neighbors. Turns out they are real nice people. We worked together and trimmed the tree back ourselves.

Sometimes you can be surprised by how friendly neighbors can be...

Tim Mullen
 

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look at the bright side, part of the solution is you'll both get a lot of free fire wood!!!

and if that doesn't work, say you need the space for a garage for the elise. and after you take them for a spin, they'll like you a lot.

now if they become hard nosed, take them for that test drive, but one that will give them "racing stripes" and scare them silly and then they'll let you take down the tree!!
 

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OFM- Talk to them FIRST. If that doesn't work then go the letter route. Your insurance would cover your loss and then go after your neighbor. If you don't go with the letter your policy would still cover you. Of course getting rid of the tree is the best solution.

If your fence has been 1.5 feet into your property you have effectively given them the property provided they have maintained it. Lots of issues here to deal with. If you feel the tree is a hazard, talk to them quickly. Good luck to you.
 

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If the tree is encroaching into your yard, you should be able to remove anything that is over your property line.

Does your town have a building or code enforcement department, or does your county have an argicultual department? If they saw that it was a hazard maybe they could make the person take it down

Where I used to live, the town planted trees in front of the houses when they were built, as the trees grew, they got in the way of power lines, and encroached into the street so that UPS and other trucks would hit the branches. It was up to the town to prune them. My brother has a 50 ft oak tree in front of his house and it is lifting up the sidewalk and hitting power lines, it has been there for about 60 years. When then town replaces the sidewalk in a few years, tey said they will take out the tree.


Ps If you get a JLG lift with a boom you can reach anything. I had have no way to easily access the back part of my house to paint it, since it has a triangle shaped screen enclosed room that would cave in if I walked on it to paint the second story. I got a lift with a 50 foot boom, went over the fence in my back yard and was able to reach it. I think they make some that go as far as 100 feet.

If you are not afraid of heights then might be easier to climb the tree, start at the top and cut away about 1 foot from where the branches leave the trunk, leaving stubs that you can climb on like a ladder, and working your way down. Then climb up and cut off 4 or five foot sections starting from the top working your way down, but this may not be a good idea if the tree is dead, since the stubs might break off.
 

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Well, without opening myself in harms way of liability in this matter, let me say this. Like others have said, talk to your neighbor first and see if you can come to a resolution. Also, without knowing your state's laws, I can't make a genuine analysis of your situation. Also, your county ordinances may have specific language that applies to your situation. However, the tree may fall under a trespass to land action or a possible nuisance action. In that case, you may be able to file a suit and have a judge order them to remove the tree, trim the limbs, etc. However, this would have to be pursued through an attorney. Well, the more I think about it...it doesn't HAVE to be pursued through an attorney, but it would be easier and more effective, but more costly.

Also, your insurance company will cover the costs of any damage and their legal department would most likely go after your neighbor for the costs of repair if they feel your neighbors are at fault. However, waiting until the limb crushes your house and personal belongings may be a much more burdensome experience than you would want to deal with; in that case, I would recommend speaking with an attorney about filing a civil action that would order the neighbors to pay for the removal.

Side note: Let me state that this is just general legal information and in no way does this information create an attorney/client relationship.
 
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