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Old 03-07-2016, 10:54 AM
 
367 posts, read 556,371 times
Reputation: 309

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The neighboring house (which is pretty close to mine- 20ft) is pretty run down. The owner doesn't live there and has had issues keeping it maintained.

Since we've lived here in late 2013 I've seen the owner 3-4 times when she's come by to check on the house and get mail. One time the house was broken into and it took her months to replace the window.

One thing is being an eyesore, but what worries me now (especially after the high winds last week) is tree(s) that are growing into the house.

You can hear a constant squeaking (sounds like an old door) where the tree is against the roof. I'm starting to worry that the next strong storm will bring that tree down and our house is close enough to get hit.

The owner has causally (oddly too) mentioned that she has some financial hardships and wants to fix up the house and sell/rent it. She even thinks she can get more than tax value for it... but that's another story.

I'm curious to hear what others would do about this... should I reach out to the owner about this? I know she can't afford to have the tree removed. But I need to CYA and if something happens, I want to make sure she's legally responsible for any damage that happens to my property.

Tree in front yard:




Tree in backyard (away from my house):

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Old 03-07-2016, 11:13 AM
 
1,985 posts, read 1,378,473 times
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Ideally, you could come up with a solution and present it from a perspective of helping vs. controlling or accusing and work together to have the tree taken down.

Is the tree healthy? If the tree comes down onto your house and is just an act of God, it will not be their fault and you will have to pay for repairs. If the tree is dying and you can prove it is a hazard and warn the neighbor ahead of time, you may win a case. But it sounds like an awful lot of effort and time can be saved by coming up with a way to bring the tree down without going through a lawsuit. The first step is convincing your neighbor the tree should come down. The agreeing on a plan to do so cheaply. In the event of a lawsuit if the tree fell on your home, if your neighbor is poor you may not get any money. And it's awful to have a bad relationship with a neighbor that could do harm/retaliate in any way and make your living situation a pain.

Do you have any friends or connections that are familiar with cutting down trees? I would try to come up with a solution where you split the costs and help a neighbor out. Maybe even offer free wood for whoever can cut it down safely. The tree is leaning over the home, so I'm not sure you would an amateur to do it though. Maybe learn if another neighbor is experienced?

Good luck!
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Old 03-07-2016, 11:38 AM
 
3,774 posts, read 6,979,746 times
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If the tree is dead, diseased, or dying, you can send a letter via certified mail notifying the property owner of an imminent hazard. Then, if they don't address it you have some legal ground to fall back on.

It looks healthy to me, and just because it rubs the house doesn't mean it is likely to fall on yours.

I wouldn't worry about it. Maintain your homeowners insurance, if an act of God pushes that tree on your house your insurance will pay... as they should.

The short answer is: you CAN'T make someone else legally responsible for an act of God.
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Old 03-08-2016, 05:38 PM
 
979 posts, read 732,813 times
Reputation: 1898
That's a healthy poplar. If I was a betting man, I put my money on the tree being around longer than the shack.

Considering the owner can't afford minor maintenance expenses, she shouldn't own it. Why isn't she either selling it or sending the keys back to the bank (assuming she owes more than its worth)?
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Old 03-08-2016, 09:01 PM
 
367 posts, read 556,371 times
Reputation: 309
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pfalz View Post
That's a healthy poplar. If I was a betting man, I put my money on the tree being around longer than the shack.

Considering the owner can't afford minor maintenance expenses, she shouldn't own it. Why isn't she either selling it or sending the keys back to the bank (assuming she owes more than its worth)?
Agreed.
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