By Ken May
The basic rule when this happens is that the insurance policy of the property that was damaged pays for the loss. For example, your neighbor’s tree falls over and damages your house. In this case, your homeowners insurance would pay for the loss. Conversely, if your tree falls onto your neighbor’s house, his homeowners insurance would pay for the loss. These policies would usually have a deductible of $1000 or more so the neighborly thing to do if your tree damaged your neighbor’s house is to offer to pay his deductible but this is not a requirement, just a way to stay on speaking terms.
The neighbor’s tree is hanging over the fence into my yard. Am I allowed to trim his tree?
It seems only right that if his tree falls onto your property and damages anything and your insurance would have to pay for the loss, you should be able to trim a neighbor’s tree which is hanging over your yard. By law, you are allowed to trim branches and limbs which are hanging over the property line into your yard but only up to the property line. You cannot trim the tree further than the property line or destroy your neighbor’s dirty tree. Common decency dictates that you inform your neighbor of your intention to trim his tree.
It is always a good idea to inform your neighbor of anything you might do that affects him, especially if he lives next door to you. Bad blood can lead to bad behavior. For example, I know a guy who didn’t get along with his next door neighbor so he shot rabbits in his back yard and would fling the carcasses into his neighbor’s swimming pool. He would never get caught in the act of doing this but I’m sure the neighbor had an idea where the dead rabbits were coming from.
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