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  1. #1

    Default Can a Neighbor Force Me to Pay to Have a Tree on My Property Removed

    My question involves real estate located in the State of: NY

    Can my neighbor force me to spend $3000 to remove a very large, very old tree that hangs over both of our properties?

    The tree had a portion of it fall years ago (long before I owned the property) and there is a portion of the tree, at the base, that has dead bark on it. Otherwise, the tree is very, very green and healthy and has only small branches that fall on the lawn after a storm (just like most other trees).

    The other day, I said hello to my neighbor and this person yelled back at me that I "need to start looking into getting that tree cut down, because it's dropping bark and it's diseased and had black crap on the leaves."

    Now, I understand this neighbor hates the tree because they have to clean up leaves in the fall, where they have zero trees on their property, but she was lying about the leaves. If this tree was diseased and was dropping branches with diseased leaves and bark everywhere, it would be on my property as well as their property. There are no diseased leaves that have fallen on my property ever or branches or bark that have fallen recently on my property. Only after a storm, there are a couple small branches (as big as a dime or nickel) that have fallen.

    I do not have the money to pay for this tree to be removed as it would require a crane due to its size.

    Can my neighbor force me to pay to have the tree removed or would it be their responsibility to pay to have it removed if they want it out and I approve its removal?

    Thanks,

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    201

    Default Re: Can a Neighbor Force Me to Pay to Have a Tree on My Property Removed

    You may want to consider hiring an arborist.

    He or she can examine the tree and issue a report concerning it's health. If the tree checks out, you have documented proof of which you can furnish a copy to the neighbor. If the tree is not healthy, the arborist may be able to suggest ways to reinforce the branch structure or otherwise prolong it's life.

    Unless you or your neighbor are an arborist, neither of you have the knowledge and expertise to speak to the health of the tree. An independent, expert opinion can be a good way to relieve the neighbor's fears.

    Lastly, if the arborist recommends steps for preventative maintenance for the tree, it would be wise to take those steps. In the event of a catastrophe, such as the tree falling on your neighbors house, etc., your due diligence toward the tree would go a long way in your favor during the inevitable litigation following that catastrophe.

    No one can force you to pay for anything. But if you do nothing, the tree will someday fall. They all do, given enough time. If it damages your neighbor's property, the court costs can easily be 10 times the price for removing the tree.

    Perhaps talk to the neighbor and see if he would be willing to split the cost for removal. He wants it gone, and you don't want to go to court.

    Hope this helps.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    25,693

    Default Re: Can a Neighbor Force Me to Pay to Have a Tree on My Property Removed

    basically;

    if the tree is deemed healthy, the neighbor cannot demand you remove the tree.

    If the tree is deemed unhealthy, he can go to court to attempt to demand you remove the tree. If the tree is unhealthy, you would be liable for damages caused by the tree if it, or branches, fell and cause damage.
    I am not an attorney and any advice is not to be construed as legal advice. You might even want to ignore my advice. Actually, there are plenty of real attorneys that you might want to ignore as well.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Can a Neighbor Force Me to Pay to Have a Tree on My Property Removed

    Couldn't I go to the neighbor and ask them if they want the tree gone that they are welcome to hire someone to come and do it at their expense?

    A few years back, my other neighbor had a black walnut tree that leaned almost entirely over my property. It dropped the green fuzzy walnuts on my lawn that were a pain in the neck to have to pick up or rake, got thrown around when I mowed the lawn and dropped small branches in the fall that had about a dozen leaves on each. It was a nightmare to clean up. I wanted the tree gone (today, I would have kept it because I know the benefit of black walnut now) so I asked my neighbor if I could cut the tree down and asked him to split the cost. He was ok with that and we cut the tree down.

    The people who cut the tree down referred to tree that my question is about. He said oh yeah, that tree is dead and said he could do it for $2000 because he would need a crane. I told him that the tree looked awful alive to me as it was extremly full of green leaves. It does not have sections of the tree that don't have any leaves at all.

    It sounds like he was saying the tree is dead because he wanted to put some more money in his pocket. How could a dead tree be full of nice looking green leaves and be dead? I've seen dead trees, there are no leaves.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    25,693

    Default Re: Can a Neighbor Force Me to Pay to Have a Tree on My Property Removed

    LoveMyLiberty;544686]Couldn't I go to the neighbor and ask them if they want the tree gone that they are welcome to hire someone to come and do it at their expense?
    sure but if they refuse and the tree is not healthy, that in no way minimizes your liability should some part of the tree fall and damage their property.

    How could a dead tree be full of nice looking green leaves and be dead? I've seen dead trees, there are no leaves
    .just because a tree is "alive" does not mean it is not diseased or dying and structurally unsound.
    I am not an attorney and any advice is not to be construed as legal advice. You might even want to ignore my advice. Actually, there are plenty of real attorneys that you might want to ignore as well.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Can a Neighbor Force Me to Pay to Have a Tree on My Property Removed

    I went out and specifically looked at the leaves on the trees in my backyard. The really big tree (the one the neighbor wants gone) looks like the leaves are fine, but the other maple at the end of the yard is the one with black spots on the leaves. Looks like it's a fungus anthracnose. This is the first year we've seen it. Probably because all of the rain we have been getting.

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