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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    17

    Default Neighbor's Leaning Tree May Be Hazardous to My Property

    My question involves real estate located in the State of: New Jersey

    A neighbors tree is leaning near a structure, vegetation and trees on my property that may become damaged if the tree should fall. It looks to me like this tree should be removed.

    If the tree should fall and damage my property or vegetation who is liable for the repair, replacement or clean up of my property? Do I create a liability if I do not notify him? And lastly, can the neighbor required by law or the township to remove the tree if it is hazardous?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,867

    Default Re: Neighbors Leaning Tree May Be Hazardous to My Property

    is the tree in good health or is it obviously diseased or dying?

    You may need an arborist to evaluate the tree to determine if it is healthy. If it is, there is little you can do. If it falls, it would be considered an act of God and the neighbor not liable for the damages. If the tree is diseased or dying and the neighbor has been made aware of the situation, they would then be liable if they did not remove the hazard.

    can you force the neighbor to remove the tree?

    maybe but you would have to sue and ask the court for an order requiring the neighbor to remove the tree. In a few areas I have seen, there have been laws that would allow the municipality to require the tree be removed if it is an obvious hazard but that is unusual in my experience.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    17

    Default Re: Neighbors Leaning Tree May Be Hazardous to My Property

    The tree leans more as time goes on and in windy and/or wet storms, so appears to me there is a problem with the health or structure of the tree. The angle of lean does not look normal.

    If he does have knowledge or is notified and then is liable, what does this mean from a legal standpoint? That neighbor's insurance will have to pay or the neighbor will have to pay out of pocket?

    Does the neighbor have any responsibility to maintain trees and remove trees that could be hazardous or must he be notified?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    19,901

    Default Re: Neighbors Leaning Tree May Be Hazardous to My Property

    Is it overhanging your property now or just heading that way?

    If a healthy tree is blown over by a storm, it's regarded as an act of god and he's not responsible.
    If a dead/seriously challenged tree blows over, then he is responsible.
    While you can impart on him the fact that he's risking liability, you don't get anything for what "might" happen.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    206

    Default Re: Neighbors Leaning Tree May Be Hazardous to My Property

    As JK stated, an arborist could be a great help here.

    If he/she diagnoses the tree as diseased, you can approach the neighbor with that information and proceed with possibly remedying the situation, maybe even with further advice from the arborist.

    If it is not diseased, but the arborist feels that the tree is leaning for a different reason, (such as unstable or shallow ground etc.), then the arborist still may be able to offer advice on how to reinforce and stabilize the tree.

    Consider the arborist an investment, or even a form of insurance. After all, if the tree does fall and damage your property, it may be too late at that point for an analysis one way or another. If it were me, I'd want to take whatever steps I could to prevent damage to my property without relying on the neighbor to do it for me.

    Hope this helps, and let us know how things turn out.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    17

    Default Re: Neighbors Leaning Tree May Be Hazardous to My Property

    Quote Quoting flyingron
    View Post
    Is it overhanging your property now or just heading that way?
    Branches from the tree are overhanging my property and some branches are also now contacting branches of a tree on my property. One of the branches of my tree look broken from this contact.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,867

    Default Re: Neighbors Leaning Tree May Be Hazardous to My Property

    you have the right to trim the branches on your side of the property line. Just be sure it isn't so extensive it injures the tree.

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