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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2008

    Default Neighbor's Tree Branches Extend Over My Fence

    My question involves personal property located in the State of: WA
    I have a mature filbert tree in my backyard. My neighbor next door also has a mature filbert tree in her yard and both trees are separated by a common fence but 3/4 of her tree branches hang into our yard. I have been concerned with the past year's violent wind storms. I told her that I would be looking into having our trees trimmed and mentioned that I would also like her to trim her tree as some of the tree's branches from her yard are hanging over our roof.

    she then got extremely defensive and told me to look into the laws before I had a tree trimming service give me a quote to trim my trees and her tree. She would also be looking into getting a lawyer over this.

    I feel that if 3/4 of her tree is in my yard and hanging over my roof and don't feel safe during wind storms then I have a right to do what I need to do to keep my family safe.

    Please help. Thank you.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2006

    Default Re: Neighbor's Tree Branches Over Fence

    You are not going to find specific statutes that spell it out, you would need to look at case law for your answer.

    This site appears to have information that is up to date although the article is from April 2002.

    There are a couple of other tree law issues worth a glance:

    Limbs or roots overhanging property line. A landowner has a remedy in his own hands as respects alleged nuisance from overhanging branches or cross-line roots from a tree on adjoining landowner's lot: without notice, if he has not encouraged the maintenance of such conditions; and after notice, if he has, he may clip the branches or roots overhanging his premises at the line. 14

    Tree or limb falling on neighbor's property. A rural landowner may be liable if he has actual or constructive notice that an alteration to a natural condition creates a hazard to persons on adjacent property. It would seem that a landowner who cuts trees on his own property, thus exposing a neighbor's trees to wind, might be liable if the wind blows down the neighbor's trees. 15 And, in general, a possessor or owner of urban or residential land who has actual or constructive knowledge of defective trees is under a duty to take corrective action for the protection of the plaintiff on adjacent land. 16

    Rather unexcitingly, the modern trend is to abolish any distinction between urban and rural, and simply say that landowners have a general duty of care in all situations. 17
    14. Gostina v Ryland, 199 P. 298 (Wash. 1921): "One adjoining owner cannot maintain an action against another for the intrusion of roots or branches of a tree which is not poisonous or noxious in its nature. His remedy in such cases is to clip or lop off the branches or cut the roots at the line."

    15. Albin v. National Bank, 375 P.2d 487 at 490 (Wash. 1962): "It was the basic theory of the plaintiffs, as stated by counsel, that when the loggers cut down the protective timber around from this snag and the other snags ... they increased the hazard. The trial court properly concluded that there was no duty to inspect and no liability so far as the owner was concerned (absent knowledge of a hazardous condition), so long as the forest remained in its natural condition; that the liability of the owner, if any, must be predicated on a dangerous condition created on its land, as a result of the logging operation, of which the owner knew or should have known; and presented the case to the jury on that theory."

    16. Id., and Lewis v. Krussel, 2 P.3d 486 (Wash. Ct. App., 2000).

    17. Lewis, note 16, supra.


    I also need to include this from that site:

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