Four Things You Should Know About Encroaching Trees

There are few things as frustrating as a tree that encroaches upon your property line. Trees can be relentless; a tree that is even a dozen feet away from your property line can still drop leaves, hang branches, and spread roots well into your land. But what can you do about it if your neighbor is resistant? 

1. You May Have "Shared Ownership" of a Tree

If a tree is on your property line -- the trunk is both on your property and your neighbor's -- then you and your neighbor both have ownership of the tree. But don't call in the tree removal services just yet. Having shared ownership still means that both you and your neighbor need to agree to remove the tree. Otherwise you might have to see them in court. 

2. Leaves Are Fine, Branches Are Not, And Don't Touch the Fruit!

The "product" of the tree can be a bit complicated legally. If branches extend past your property line, you can cut those branches down. However, your neighbor is not responsible for any leaves that blow into your yard, even if they make quite a mess; leaves are considered to be a natural nuisance and something that, unfortunately, you just need to deal with. And even though you can cut branches down, you're not entitled to take the fruit from a tree, even if it's over your property line! 

3. Your Neighbor's Insurance May Cover Tree Damage

If your neighbor has an unsafe tree and it happens to damage your property, it will usually be covered by your neighbor's insurance rather than your own. In this situation though, you might need to prove that the neighbor was negligent in some way. For that reason, you should report to your neighbor any unsafe trees and then document this -- that will show that the neighbor was aware that their tree was a risk. At this point your neighbor should act to remove the tree, but if they don't, you can always file an insurance claim. 

4. You May Be Compensated for Root Damage

Roots can easily grow into your home's plumbing system. If this does happen, you can request that your neighbor offer compensation. This also applies if the encroaching tree damaged your home's foundation. 

In general, you usually can't do anything about an encroaching tree itself unless its trunk falls over your property line. You can, however, react to the branches and roots that go over that property line and into your home. Documenting the interactions that you've had with your neighbor regarding the tree will help you if the tree does cause damage in the future. To find out more, speak with a business like Coryell Tree Service.