I have three trees that are on my property and the branches overlap my neighbors property. They just informed me they are putting new gutters up on there commercial warehouse and asked me to cut the tree branches down. They needed to be cut/trimmed before they can get the gutters installed because they are touching there building. They are very lush green and lively branches. I let them know at this point they can have them trimmed themselves and I give them full permission too. Upon getting some quotes they asked me again to pay for it.
My question is this my responsibility or theirs?
Anything overlapping there property they can trim at any time legally. With it now being untrimmed for years and up against there property is it now my responsibility to pay for the live trees trees to be trimmed off of there property line?
What’s the worst case scenario if you do nothing? Legally speaking, I think you’re in the clear doing nothing.
Cut And pasted from “California Real Estate Law”
An encroachment is an object or structure that extends over a property boundary onto neighboring land or into neighboring airspace, without the neighbor’s permission. The most common examples of encroachments are fences, buildings, and tree branches. In many cases, an encroachment is unintentional and simply results from a mistake as to the exact location of the boundary between the neighboring properties.
Example: Alexi and Amanda are neighbors. When Alexi builds an addition to his garage, he inadvertently extends the structure over the boundary line and onto Amanda’s property. That portion of the garage is an encroachment.
A court may classify an encroachment as either a trespass or a nuisance, or both, and the reasoning behind the classification isn’t always clear. An encroachment that physically rests on the land (such as the garage in the example) is generally treated as a violation of the landowner’s right of exclusive possession, and therefore a trespass. On the other hand, an encroachment that intrudes into the airspace (such as an overhanging tree branch) is more likely to be regarded as a substantial interference with use and enjoyment, and therefore a nuisance. Although this distinction can affect the parties’ rights in some cases[…]”
Excerpt From: Henry, Dawn. “California Real Estate Law.” Rockwell Publishing, 2016-08-16. iBooks.
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Maintain your position and do nothing. If they want them removed they will have to pay.
In a narrow legal sense you are likely in the wrong, but your neighbor’s only recourse is probably to sue you, which means in a practical sense you’ll face no consequences unless he’s actually willing to go that far (probably unlikely).
I had a similar situation with roles reversed where a tree was overhanging into my park with nuisance branches. I asked my neighbor to take care of it and never heard back. I discussed the situation with my attorney (who said I was in the right - his trees can’t willy nilly grow over and into my property) and he sent the neighbor a scary looking letter as a bluff (we wouldn’t actually take legal action). The bluff worked, and the tree got trimmed.
In SC you are not responsible for your tree limbs growing across the line. Therefore, your neighbor can cut the limbs up to the line.
I went on and decided to have all three trees along the property line completely cut out. It seemed like a fine line I would be tip toeing so I went ahead and did it.
Some back story with the neighboring business, they previously owned the park and sold it to the people I bought it from. When I came in and bought it I had two loans the sellers note and the take over note from the neighboring business. I just paid off that note in march and for the last few years we’ve never had any bad blood between us. Figured it wasn’t worth it to start now.
Thank you all for the information, will defiantly retain it for future endeavors.
Seems like this is now a done deal, but in Virginia and I know many other states, you have no obligation to take care of trees that cross from your property to your neighbors. They have a right to cut it off to the property line however. I would definitely have proposed to split the cost, or done nothing. No way would I have come 100% out of pocket for their problem.