Can you trim neighbor's tree leaning into your fence?


You can trip any part of your neighbor's tree or roots coming on to your property as long as you are "reasonable". Watch as Attorney Tom Olsen explains! 


Dan: Yes. Thank you for taking that call. I got a potential problem. I just bought a new property and along the fence line near the well, there's a tree on my neighbor's property that's leaning over into the fence and it's already bending the fence and I'm just afraid the next hurricane, strong wind, whatever, that tree is going to flow over, knock the fence down and destroy my well equipment. I think from an insurance perspective, if I didn't give him any notice or anything, it's considered an act of God in my insurance and I have to pay for it. If I let the person know, what is the legal, I don't know what other terms to say, ramifications if I let him know, and how should I let him know and if that still makes it obligated that he pays to take the tree away?

Attorney Tom Olsen: Dan, the only way that he would be obligated to trim that tree or remove that tree would be if it's diseased, or unhealthy, or it's dead. The very fact that it's leaning in and of itself does not make it a diseased, or unhealthy, or a potentially dangerous tree. Dan, I think you're still on the right track by telling him that this is a problem because the very fact that it's leaning has got you scared and let him know that if it does come down, you would look to him for relief and monetary damages. I think you should go forward with that. I'm just not so sure you would be successful based on this limited issue over this tree happening to be leaning.

Dan: Yes. It's already embedded into the fence's top rail. That's the only thing. I don't mind helping him with the cost of removing the tree. I didn't know if you have to let him know by email or text.

Attorney Tom Olsen: Well, if you want to give him notice of this defective tree, Dan, you have to do that by certified mail. You have to have evidence that he got this notice. Now, Dan, your thought about helping him to pay to remove that tree is a great idea and I suggest that you pursue it.