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Question DetailsAsked on 4/27/2015

Can I cut a neighbors tree limbs that hang over my house and on my side of the fence?

I live in a town-home, but lately during the past couple of seasons, the neighboring units have trees in their back yards that never get cut, and the leaves have been never ending in their cluttering up my residence. I am actually pretty sure the residents wouldn't care either if some branches started to disappear... The inhabitants look to be younger, probably renters... not sure. My HOA has failed to get a resolution as usual, so I have to take matters into my own hands.

Anyway, the problem is the limbs of the trees dangle over my roof, the leaves get in my attic, patio, and gutters. I'd like to hire someone to cut these limbs. Would a tree cutting service provider balk at this request? I can't personally reach the limbs and I definitely would need a chain saw and a ladder or lifting equipment.

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1 Answer


If the yards are community property under a homeowners or condo association, then their rules apply. Otherwise, check on property laws in your state regarding vegetation hanging over property lines. Generally, while in some states you have to first give a legally specified form of notice and a certain amount of time so they can do it themselves their way, you do have the right to remove trespassing growth crossing the property line - above or below ground.

Where you can especially get into trouble is if the cutting work goes over the line, it weakens the tree so it falls into their yard (like removing the counterbalancing weight on your side or cutting all the roots on one side), or so much growth is removed that it kills it.

Some tree services are (rightly) real leery of property line cutting and require a signed approval from the neightbor before they will do it. Others will require you to sign a form that you are accepting all responsibility for any damage to the neighboring trees and that you have specified the line on which the tree is to be cut.

Best bet - write up a simple agreement staing what is going to be done and that they (the neighbors) have no problem with the tree being trimmed at the property or fence line (as applies), get them to sign and date it (making sure the "they" is the actual owner, not just renters), then make sure the trimming does not cross the line - safer to cut a foot or two on your side and of course, if cutting is done without a signed agreement from other party, make sure where the actual property line is first - commonly fences are not on the line becausetehy were built by one party or the other so they were held back from the line a bit (orpossibly a lot if they were unsure where the line is or there is a utility easement there, not jointly as a property line fence.

BTW-leavesgetin attic ? Where are your insect/vermin screens ? Invitation to bird, rodent or insect (including flying drywood termites) invasion.

Answered 5 years ago by LCD

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