Neighbor’s Tree Damaging My Property: Who’s Responsible for Trimming?

There’s an expression that good fences make good neighbors, but what about trees? Neighbors might enjoy a beautiful tree near the boundary between their homes, but when the tree falls or causes damage with falling branches or other debris, even the friendliest relationship might become strained. 

As a leading provider of tree trimming services in Palm Bay, FL, we often see neighbors disputing responsibility for trees and receive calls from property owners saying, “My neighbor’s tree is damaging my property. What can I do?” The law is clear about who has responsibility for trees and their care, and here, we highlight the important points you need to know. 

Who Owns the Tree?

Legally, the owner of a tree is responsible for its care and maintenance. When a tree trunk is entirely in your yard, you own the tree. If the entire tree trunk is in your neighbor’s yard, they are the tree owner. If the tree trunk is on the property line, both neighbors share responsibility for tree care.

However, if your neighbor’s tree branches extend across your property line, you can trim them. You can only cut branches as far as your property line. It’s important that you not damage the tree — or kill it with improper pruning — as your neighbor could sue you for the damage.

Dealing with Tree-Related Damage

Understanding who owns a tree is important to determining responsibility for damage. A tree owner is responsible for maintaining a healthy tree and monitoring it for signs of disease or decay that could create a hazard. If the owner does not address concerns about the tree’s health, they could be responsible for damage to a neighbor’s property if it falls. 

If your neighbor’s tree falls on your home or otherwise damages your property, but they were unaware of any hazards, then your homeowner’s insurance will likely cover the cost. This is typically considered an “Act of God” and eligible for coverage. 

Tree Debris and Damage 

You might be thinking, “It didn’t fall, but the neighbor’s tree is damaging my property with debris.” Because debris like fallen tree branches, leaves, seeds, and acorns is natural, the owner of the tree does not bear any responsibility for the damage they cause. Even if debris clogs the gutters or tree branches fall on a fence, you’re responsible for repairs.

Manage Tree Care Without Disputes 

If you do not own the tree that’s damaging your property, again, you have the option of trimming tree branches that overhang your property to mitigate the damage. You can also speak to your neighbor about the issue and ask them to take care of the trimming. 

If your concerns go beyond overhanging tree branches and you’re worried that the tree could fall and cause more significant damage, address your concerns with the neighbor. Remember, the tree owner must maintain the tree to prevent hazards, including arranging for tree removal when needed. If you address a concern with your neighbor and they don’t act, you may have grounds for legal action if the tree falls and causes significant damage. 

Get Help Caring for Every Tree on Your Property 

When you need an answer to “What can I do if my neighbor’s tree is damaging my property?” or any other tree concern, the experienced crew from East Coast Arbor Pro can help. Don’t risk damaging your neighbor’s tree with DIY pruning. Let our expert arborists properly cut the tree branches to preserve the tree and the relationship with your neighbor. We can also handle tree removal, storm damage, stump grinding, and more. 

To speak with an arborist or schedule service, call us at (321) 917-9342

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