• FreeAdvice has a new Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, effective May 25, 2018.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our Terms of Service and use of cookies.

Branch is broken on neighbor's side of fence. They demand we remove it.

Accident - Bankruptcy - Criminal Law / DUI - Business - Consumer - Employment - Family - Immigration - Real Estate - Tax - Traffic - Wills   Please click a topic or scroll down for more.

Michaels Mom

Junior Member
Hello. This is for the state of Ohio.

We live next door to a small apartment complex and have several trees along the property line. The two biggest trees are over 1/2-2/3 on my neighbor's side. This past summer they came over and were complaining about the trees in the back of the house along the property line (3 medium trees) and that they were concerned the trees would damage their garage. I thought the trees were completely on my side so I hired someone and had them cut down the trees (not cheap).

Later in the fall, the neighbors said they had a problem with the large trees in the front and even did a property survey spray painting the lines on the trees to show the property lines. Well, both large trees are over 1/2 or 2/3 on their side of the property. Even the trees in the back that I already had cut down were 2/3 on their property.

Now, there is a break in one of the branches (that is coming out of their side of the tree) and they are demanding that we pay to have the branch removed. I have explained to them and even showed them the property lines that THEY drew that the branch is on their side. It has gotten to the point that every time we are coming or going, they stop us to complain that I need to get this taken care of. They knock on the door to complain when I or my husband are getting ready for work and they just recently mailed me a letter (Dated in 01/2019 but mailed/received 03/2019).

The letter stated that they informed me that the branch was going to break so they would not be held liable when it does because I did not get it removed and demanded that I have it removed immediately.

The problem is, they have not offered to pay for the trees we had removed from the back that they were complaining about. They stated that it is not their responsibility to get a quote for tree removal. They are harassing us about a branch that is clearly on their side.

Any suggestions?
 


xylene

Senior Member
If the branch of your tree causes damage you will be liable.

The trees you previously cut down have ZERO bearing on this issue.

Hire an arborist / tree guy to have the branch removed or the tree cut down.
 

not2cleverRed

Obvious Observer
If the branch of your tree causes damage you will be liable.

The trees you previously cut down have ZERO bearing on this issue.

Hire an arborist / tree guy to have the branch removed or the tree cut down.
If the branch is on a tree whose trunk is 2/3 on the neighbor's side, then it is hard to say it's OP's tree.

The neighbor can cut prune branches that are on their side of the property line and chooses not to do so.
 

xylene

Senior Member
If the branch is on a tree whose trunk is 2/3 on the neighbor's side, then it is hard to say it's OP's tree.
The op never used the word trunk.

Trees are often not symmetrical for a lot of reasons; solar orientation, buildings blocking light, how they have been pruned, prevailing winds, etc.

The OP is on notice of a hazard. He can act to mitigate, or he can raise the ownership of the trees as a defense if sued.

One of those options is much cheaper than the other.

The OP's obligations for this tree are not changed by trees he voluntarily cut down in the past.
 
Last edited:

LdiJ

Senior Member
The op never used the word trunk.

Trees are often not symmetrical for a lot of reasons; solar orientation, buildings blocking light, how they have been pruned, prevailing winds, etc.

The OP is on notice of a hazard. He can act to mitigate, or he can raise the ownership of the trees as a defense if sued.

One of those options is much cheaper than the other.

The OP's obligations for this tree are not changed by trees he voluntarily cut down in the past.
I agree with the bolded. I disagree with the rest. This subject has come up before on these forums and other posters have managed to convince me that in a scenario like this one the OP is not responsible.
 

not2cleverRed

Obvious Observer
The op never used the word trunk.

Trees are often not symmetrical for a lot of reasons; solar orientation, buildings blocking light, how they have been pruned, prevailing winds, etc.

The OP is on notice of a hazard. He can act to mitigate, or he can raise the ownership of the trees as a defense if sued.

One of those options is much cheaper than the other.

The OP's obligations for this tree are not changed by trees he voluntarily cut down in the past.
No. You are incorrect. Legally incorrect. The portion of the trees overhanging the neighbor's lot is the neighbor's problem. Legally the neighbor can prune any portion of the tree that is above his property (without killing the tree), and therefore is responsible for mitigating any potential damages.

In this case, both the limb and the portion of the trunk that the limb is attached to are on the neighbor's property, as proven by the neighbor's survey and spray paint on the tree trunks.

Reread in initial post: Later in the fall, the neighbors said they had a problem with the large trees in the front and even did a property survey spray painting the lines on the trees to show the property lines. Well, both large trees are over 1/2 or 2/3 on their side of the property. Even the trees in the back that I already had cut down were 2/3 on their property.

The 2/3 of trees no longer standing would refer to their stumps. If the center rings of those stumps are on the neighbor's side of the property line, then in fact they were initially the property of the owners of that lot, and the neighbors have already conned OP into paying for the removal of trees that never belonged to them!

Why in the world should OP continue to pay for the neighboring apartment complex's landscaping?!
 

Michaels Mom

Junior Member
I do apologize for any confusion. Yes, the trunks of all of the trees are over 1/2 way or 2/3 on the neighbor's property. When they spray painted the trees, it began with the bottom of the tree and painted a line about 2 feet tall just to show the property line. The trees in the back that I cut down were more than 2/3 on their side. I did not know that until after they did the survey. The neighbor began complaining about them first.
 

not2cleverRed

Obvious Observer
Tell them to pound sand.

Dig up your invoices for the removal of their trees that you paid to remove at their request.

Write up a demand letter observing that 1) they requested that you take responsibility for removing the trees, 2) you removed the trees, and 3) Per their survey, those trees were their property, and you would like to be reimbursed. Furthermore, as you are not in their employ as a landscaper, you will not be conducting any landscaping duties on their property. Attach a copy of the invoice. Send it to them certified.
 

Michaels Mom

Junior Member
The op never used the word trunk.

The OP is on notice of a hazard. He can act to mitigate, or he can raise the ownership of the trees as a defense if sued.

One of those options is much cheaper than the other.

The OP's obligations for this tree are not changed by trees he voluntarily cut down in the past.
Yes, it is the trunks of the trees.

Yes, I have been notified of the hazard however, the branch in question is sticking out of there side of the tree completely. It is not on my side at all. I told them they could get someone to cut it down but they said it is my responsibility.

The only reason I cut down the back trees is because the manager of the place nagged about the trees constantly and I did not know anything about this. I did not do this voluntarily, I sure did not have a few thousand to drop on this, I did it because they kept on about it possibly harming their garage.
 

FarmerJ

Senior Member
Keep all communications from you to them written on real paper , keeping a copy for your records stapled to your certified receipt and you might want to hire a certified arborist FIRST to write a report for you as to the trees health and if the tree is still healthy with the exception of that one branch then to include a copy of the report and maybe start out with the survey they had that shows the trees to be on the lot line and that the limb that needs to be removed is on their side of the lot line and since the tree is healthy you have no obligation to pay for its removal.
 

justalayman

Senior Member
The trees are co owned as were the trees that have already been cut. I don’t find anything being so specific to portion ownership based on how much is on either side of the property line. A tree straddling the property line is simply co owned.

The overhang is under the control of whomevers property it overhangs.

So, if they want the branch removed, it’s their responsibility. If the entire tree was to be removed, it would require the permission of each land owner and the cost would be shared unless either party is willing to pay for the entire cost themselves.

You aren’t owed anything for the trees already cut. It was presumed they were your trees but you did nothing to verify that.
 

quincy

Senior Member
Following is a link to a 2013 Ohio Court of Appeals case* over trees that straddled a property line.

A row of spruce trees was trimmed of all their lower branches by landscapers hired by one neighbor (Pasley) and the other neighbor (Telle) sued for restoration/replacement costs.

Telle v. Pasley: https://www.courtlistener.com/opinion/2698812/telle-v-pasley/

The original jury award of $30,000 in damages was appealed because the jury figured damage for the trees as a whole when only half of each tree belonged to Telle.

The case touches on trespass and conversion.

*The format on Court Listener is not the easiest reading.
 
Last edited:
Sponsored Ad

Top