View Full Version : Property rights (legal question)

04-10-2007, 01:08 AM
The house (rental) next to ours (owner) has a nasty tree in between our drive way and his on his property. The tree is constantly dripping sap on our vehicles. We already had one paint job ruined on a previous vehicle and I don't want to have it happen again. Do I have any recourse if the owner of the property refuses to do anything about the tree causing the problem? Thanks for any of the worldly and legal knowledge you may share!

04-10-2007, 01:17 AM
It would seem to me that unless the tree is in danger of falling onto one of your vehicles, the owner is under no obligation to do anything. Here's an idea..................don't park under it. How is he supposed to get it to quit dropping sap??

04-10-2007, 01:26 AM
I think if the tree is damaging your property, the damages can be quanitified, and the cause of the damage can be easily stopped... you might be able to sue in the future.

I would encourage you to deal with your neighbor out of court first. Nothing worse than a pissed off neighbor. It's worth a shot, unless you are dealing with my idiot neighbor. He FINALLY just got done reclaiming his property... 2 months in the making to move a fence 6 feet!

04-10-2007, 01:28 AM
I would offer to pay to have the tree trimmed or cut down. If he says no, offer to plant a new tree somewhere on his property if he cuts this tree down.

If he still says no, time for some late night missions to kill off a tree :)

04-10-2007, 01:31 AM
if he left a garden hose on in his yard and flooded your basement it would be simmilar ... both cause property damage by his act/omission ... I'm a little vague on whether you could just go up and cut off the branches that overhang onto your property ... but consider if you were fencing and he had a bush that as overhanging into your yard, you would have to remove the branches to the property line in order to put up the fence ... how long has it been since your paint job got ruined, it may be within the statute of limitations.

04-10-2007, 01:51 AM

04-10-2007, 05:56 AM
In my area, you can cut anything that crosses the property line. Including the roots. Also, any damage done by his tree (falling branches, roots breaking up a driveway, sap falling from a tree) are all his problems. That's what the zoning board recently told me while I was in a dispute with my neighbor.

I'd talk to your neighbor first. If that doesn't do any good, go to your local permits & inspections office. They are the ones who deal with these things on a daily basis.

captain planet
04-10-2007, 09:04 AM
I asked my Dad about this same topic the other day because there is a neighbors tree that is close enough to my house, squirrels can get on my roof from a couple of branches. Now my Dad is no lawyer, but he said I can cut those branches off at the property line if they are hanging over. I'm going to ask/tell my neighbor about it first, then cut them.

04-10-2007, 09:46 AM
My Father-in-law. had a similar thing happening to him... except the cottonwood was filling up his pool with cotton and plugging his gutters.... Had a surveyor come out and survey the lot line... sure enough the lot line cut the tree in half. except it leaned towards my Father-in-laws property a little and about 7' off the ground it was completely on his side... so, talked to his neighbor he flipped out. I happen to work in the legal profession, I asked a bunch of legal minds at lunch one day... a few guys just got done taking a property law CLE (Continueing Legal Education) turns out that what ever is on your side of the imaginary property vertical line... is fair game for you! So down comes the tree. he gave himself a good 2' of le-way to where the property line was painted on the tree just in case.

Disclaimer: I am in no way shape or form giving you legal advice, this is simply a re-enactment of an incident I am recalling from memory. Plus I guess I'd have to be an attorney to give you legal advice anyway...(sounded official though didn't it!) :D

04-10-2007, 10:05 AM
Thus far, I believe everyone has given the correct response. Our neighbors had a HUGE pine tree that was very over grown and hung about 6" from our chimeny. The roots of this thing we also destroying our driveway and just as Xrider, the sap was KILLING the paint on our cars. The next door neighbor was an older couple and the wife would not trim it or cut it down, so we did exactly what the law states and ran an imaginary line up the tree and hacked it straight up!! We also tore up our driveway to repair the damage and while doing this, we ripped every root up that crossed the property line. About a month after finishing all of this, the next door neighbor had a sudden heart attack and shortly after her passing, the husband cut the tree down because "He never liked it"!!

04-10-2007, 10:06 AM
im in the tree business here in CT , anything on your side of the line is fair game,,, a nice chat 1ST ,,, then the tree co. shows up next,,, dont go over the legal line or even close to the line. good luck:twocents:

04-10-2007, 10:20 AM
Send him a certified/ receipted letter. Voice your concerns with his tree in a notorized letter and keep your own copy. Explain to him that the tree is damaging your vehicles. Once he has read the letter, and you will know he has, he is aware. When he knows a problem exists and does nothing to correct it he is negligent and can be held liable. If he has no knowledge of the particular problem he is not negligent. The only problem that could arise, Pendo, need some help on this one. The tree has ruined one car, and you park another car under the same tree that ruined that one...

Good luck with it!

04-10-2007, 10:56 AM
Thanks so much for all of the responses thus far. Just some clarification...some of the limbs of the tree do hang onto our property. The tree is also leaning toward our house. i have contacted the property management company in reference to the problem. The person renting the house has the same issue..his car is being ruined by it also. So, just waiting for a response from the management company. Next will be the property owner. We are not looking for any money, we just want the problem fixed! And MagRed..don't park in my own driveway????

04-10-2007, 10:04 PM
copper nails will kill it

04-10-2007, 10:35 PM
*snip* About a month after finishing all of this, the next door neighbor had a sudden heart attack and shortly after her passing, the husband cut the tree down because "He never liked it"!!


there's your answer.....
everyone dies, just gotta wait them out:D

04-10-2007, 10:38 PM

there's your answer.....
everyone dies, just gotta wait them out:D

It's just a matter of time....

04-11-2007, 10:49 AM
I have to say, the owner of the property is up there in years and a little grumpy. We had issue a couple years back with 3 of the trees in his backyar dying and leaning toward our house (my bedroom). Even after pointing out the liability he faced if they fell, he still would not cut them down! Trying to be the good neighbor, I offered to cut them down...he accepted and I had my work cut out for me. Iwill not do it again.

04-11-2007, 11:45 AM
I think the best thing to do is have a tree service take a look at it and get their opinion (since this problem has probably come up in their line of work before) and get the quote for them to do the work. If you do the work yourself, just keep all cuts on your side of the property line, and "harm" the tree as little as possible. The work needs to be aesthetically pleasing.