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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2009

    Neighbor's DIY tree removal - tree overhangs my house!

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? New York

    My neighbor is trying to remove a 60+ tree in his yard on his side of the fence, on the edge of my property line. The tree is within power lines on his side and unfortunately, my house is underneath on my side.

    He is the boyfriend of my neighbor, and he's lived there since last fall. Since he's moved in he's removed almost every single tree in the yard and stacked the pieces as firewood. At one point he had removed a tree that also had branches over my fence and I saw him drive his truck onto my lawn, remove the tree and drive away before I could say anything. He has since cut trees in my neighbor's lawn, going as far as to use an actual chainsaw in their yard.

    He wants to remove the tree in question, and as I had said cordially in the past - I have no problem with giving a professional (insured!) service permission to enter my yard to take care of the tree. But because of financial purposes, they refuse to use a service and him and his buddies are going to do it themselves. They also refused to give me a date or time of then this will take place - meaning he's probably going to sneak attack the foliage while I'm at work just as he did with the neighbors!

    I've known his girlfriend, the owner of the house, for about 10 years. We've always had a great neighborly relationship. But now her stories are changing (he said, she said) from one conversation to another and it's getting messy.

    I've called my insurance company and they confirmed that I will be liable for any injuries on my property, though the neighbor will be liable for damages to my house or property caused by the tree. However, they are not married - would he be covered under her insurance? He also doesn't seem to have a job, so his possible lask health insurance status concerns me as well.

    I'm contacting our power company (National Grid) in the morning to inform them of the issue, since it is within 10 feet of their lines. The neighbors have said today the past that they've had them out six times to remove questionable branches around the lines, but it has taken months with little results - and they are sick of it and taking action into their own hands.

    I'm looking into the costs of a security camera, but I'm not sure what else I can do. I've called the town and they said that he can remove the tree and to "take pictures just in case." Not so reassuring.

    I plan to press charges if him or his buddies start messing around on my lawn. But what legal rights do I have besides taking these preemptive measures - would filing a restraining order be wise?

    I do worry, because having a beer bellied, 50 year old man hanging around in the airspace above my roof with a chainsaw makes me nervous. And when the branches fall onto my house, its going to be a mess finding somewhere to stay while this all works out.

    Any advice as to what I should do (how to document what's going on, who to complain to, etc. ) to ensure that I'll have the edge if it comes to a legal battle would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    in the ether
    your insurance company is wrong and if he damages your house, you send him a bill for the damages, including a hotel if that is necessary.

    there is no preemptive here. Until he does something, there is nothing to stop.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    New Hampshire
    Any advice as to what I should do (how to document what's going on, who to complain to, etc. ) to ensure that I'll have the edge if it comes to a legal battle would be appreciated.
    This is not legal advice, as I am unfamiliar with the laws in your state. I'm sure others with more knowledge will advise you, but from my experience I would recommend that you put the owner of the neighboring property on notice that they may not trespass on your property. The method of doing so may require a specific process for your State. That notice should include a warning that you will hold them liable for any damage to your property caused by their attempt at tree removal.

    I would recommend you consult a lawyer to advise on how to present the no-trespass notice legally, but if you don't want to use a lawyer you might put the notice in a certified, return receipt letter to the homeowner.

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