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Neighbors can sometimes dispute on the silliest of things: Wi-Fi, loud music, garbage can placements—the list is practically endless. However, one thing that’s definitely not silly to argue about is trees on a property. When a tree branch goes beyond your home’s boundary, or when a fallen tree causes extensive damage to property are really not something to be taken lightly. Determining the right to plant trees near property lines and who pays when trees cause damage are all important issues that could use some clarity.

Who to talk to about matters related to trees on a property?

A certified arborist in San Jose is a preeminent authority on any issues concerning trees on a property—especially fallen or diseased trees. This type of professional brings an extensive and independent viewpoint to the diagnosis, evaluation, and appraisal of arboricultural issues and may provide legal expertise and arborist reports as necessary. It is recommended that you hire a certified arborist to confirm that pruning or removal is indeed necessary. To that end, here are a few things to keep in mind regarding tree disputes between neighbors, according to FindLaw.

Sometimes disputes arise between neighbors when trees belonging to one property owner fall on and damage or destroy adjacent property. In such cases, the tree owner is only responsible for damage if some failure to maintain the tree contributed to the damage.

If the damage was solely the result of a thunderstorm or act of God, the tree owner will not be responsible, as the damage could not have been foreseen.

If a tree limb appeared precarious and the owner failed to maintain the tree after warnings, the owner may well be responsible for resulting damage when a storm causes the limb to fall.

If the tree was well maintained and a storm causes a tree limb to crash into a neighbor’s roof, the tree owner is not responsible.

A boundary tree is one planted on the boundary line itself and should not be removed without mutual agreement.

Who’s responsible for pruning a tree?

The one who pays to have the trees pruned is not as clear-cut as you may think, and actually depends on certain conditions. For instance, if your neighbor’s trees were already there before you bought your home, you’re the one who has to pay to have them pruned. On the contrary, if your neighbor planted his trees after you purchased your home, he/she will be the one to foot the bill for pruning once its branches encroaches on your property.


If you want to learn more, get in touch with a certified arborist from a trusted Palo Alto tree service provider like Bay Area Tree Specialists today.

(Source: Neighbor Disputes: Trees, FindLaw)