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  1. #1
    demosthenes Guest

    Tree branches hanging over a fence

    What is the name of your state?What is the name of your state? New York


    Hi, My neighbor has a tree whose branches hang over the fence onto the property where I live, and they grow right into my clothesline. When I hang my clothes up to dry, the leaves push into them. So I broke off the branches that push into my clothes, to give my clothesline space. One of the tenants that lives on the property with the tree had her 10 year old daughter climb over the fence onto the private property where I live, she took the branches which I had piled up in a corner and she threw them all over the backyard to make a mess, then she got a rake and raked this little plot of dirt that has weeds growing out of it (they must have thought those were flowers they were destroying).

    I know that what they did was illegal; breaking onto private property and vandalising it. My question is, did I break any law? Can I just cut the part of the tree that is hanging over my property? Do I have to ask their permission first? Also, if I start bending a branch that is on my side of the property, and it breaks off on the part of the tree that is on their side of their property, is that illegal? Does the cut have to exactly line up with the boundary between the two properties?

    Thanks for your help
  2. #2
    BelizeBreeze is offline Senior Member
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    Cut the branches from the fence vertically to MARS. Any part of the tree that intrudes upon another's property can be trimmed back to the property line.

    And the next time you catch the little rug rat on your property, call the police.
  3. #3
    demosthenes Guest
    Thank you; that's what I thought.

    But does that mean that the part of the branch that broke off on their side should not have been broken off, and that I am liable for the few branches I broke off? How much can I be sued for 5 branches that are 1/2 inch in diameter? Can I be sued for trespass because I broke off 5 branches?
  4. #4
    BelizeBreeze is offline Senior Member
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    Who cares about their damn branches. As long as you keep your hands on your side of the fence from this point on. That's a HINT! Then you can cut to your heart's desire.
  5. #5
    HomeGuru is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by demosthenes
    Thank you; that's what I thought.

    But does that mean that the part of the branch that broke off on their side should not have been broken off, and that I am liable for the few branches I broke off? How much can I be sued for 5 branches that are 1/2 inch in diameter?

    **A: lets, see, at $100 per branch times the square root of the 1/2 inch diameter times 3.5.
    **********

    Can I be sued for trespass because I broke off 5 branches?

    **A: yes and I quote JETX, " anybody can sue anybody for anything"
  6. #6
    demosthenes Guest
    That's $1237.44.
    That's a lotta moola.

    On the other hand, noone actually saw me cut the branches; all they saw was the pile of branches on the property where I live. Some vandal could have climbed into my backyard and broke off those branches, and left them on my property. What's my best course of action? Deny having cut the branches?
  7. #7
    HomeGuru is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by demosthenes
    That's $1237.44.
    That's a lotta moola.

    On the other hand, noone actually saw me cut the branches; all they saw was the pile of branches on the property where I live. Some vandal could have climbed into my backyard and broke off those branches, and left them on my property.

    **A: yeah right. Circumstantial evidence. And the words are no one, not noone unless you cut the branches at noone.
    ********



    What's my best course of action? Deny having cut the branches?
    **A: no admit it and say you did it to mitigate problems.
  8. #8
    demosthenes Guest
    "And the words are no one, not noone unless you cut the branches at noone."

    You mean unless a male/female/neuter/hermaphrodite named Noone saw me cut the branches.
  9. #9
    JETX is offline Senior Member
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    Okay, lets try this again......

    "My question is, did I break any law?"
    *** Based on the information in your post, no.

    "Can I just cut the part of the tree that is hanging over my property?"
    *** Yes. Any part of the tree that hangs OVER your property line is yours. You can trim and cut to your hearts content.... AS LONG AS you do not damage or cause harm to the tree. If the tree dies or is damaged by your 'trimming', then you could be liable.

    "Do I have to ask their permission first?"
    *** No.

    "Also, if I start bending a branch that is on my side of the property, and it breaks off on the part of the tree that is on their side of their property, is that illegal?"
    *** Yes. Trim the tree properly. Do NOT just break limbs or branches off as that could damage the tree.... and also extends the 'trimming' beyond your property limit.

    "Does the cut have to exactly line up with the boundary between the two properties?"
    *** No. You can trim it as close or as far as you want..... as long as the cut is on YOUR property side. Do NOT cut anything on their side of the property line. The minute you reach across that 'imaginary' property line, you are trespassing...... just like them entering your property without your permission.
  10. #10
    BelizeBreeze is offline Senior Member
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    Who frikkin cares who sees you cut the damn branches? Hell, next time they are out in the yard sunning go to the fence and, without reaching over the damn fence, trim the branches to your little pea-pickin' heart's content.
  11. #11
    demosthenes Guest
    Thanks JETX. They probably objected to my snapping the branches off at the root rather than trimming them properly, as you say. But then again, this is a backyard they use to store junk: car batteries, tires, old air conditioners. It looks like a junkyard with a small tree growing at its edge, which is why I assumed no one would really care if I broke off a few branches.

    They even have barbed wire on the top of the fence that separates the two properties, because there used to be a lot of cats jumping over the backyard fences, and I guess they wanted to dissuade them from doing that. Not sure of the legality of that, since it's shared property.
  12. #12
    JETX is offline Senior Member
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    All of your opinions as to the property, use and condition are all fine... but have no real relevance. The ONLY consideration is that it IS their property. And you have no more right to trespass than they do on yours.

    Since you can pretty much already assume that this may escalate, I would suggest you take a video or pictures of the trees before the trimming and then after. Shoot both close ups of the tree(s), plus sight down the property line. Then, put your 'evidence' away for a while.... just in case.
  13. #13
    rutica is offline Member
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    Did you actually see the 10 year old do the damage to your yard?

    You are assuming that the neighbor told their kid to come to your yard. But, maybe the kid was just bored and felt like playing in a yard without junk so she left her yard and came to your place. You call it vandalism, she calls it playing.
  14. #14
    HomeGuru is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by rutica
    Did you actually see the 10 year old do the damage to your yard?

    You are assuming that the neighbor told their kid to come to your yard. But, maybe the kid was just bored and felt like playing in a yard without junk so she left her yard and came to your place. You call it vandalism, she calls it playing.
    **A: your post is not relevant to the tree branches issue.
  15. #15
    rutica is offline Member
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    HomeGuru: not all your posts are relevant to the topic at hand either.

    My point is, the poster is worried that the neighbors think she did something illegal with the branches. but maybe the neighbors will say 'what branches?' if she brings it up to them.

    Their backyard sounds like such a mess that they don't seem like the type of people to care or notice if a branch is missing. This situation could all be the result of a misunderstanding caused by a bored 10 year old girl who hopped the fence while chasing a squirrel or something.

    but, of course, the legal issue regarding branches over property lines was answered.

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