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Old 07-17-2012, 12:42 PM
7 posts, read 393,243 times
Reputation: 44


When the former neighbor's planted about 6 trees fairly close to our property line, he added dirt and "raised" his backyard , so the trees would provide privacy. But he also planted them so that the trees would lean over to my side of the property line. He refused to stake the trees so that they would lean to his side. He was a bit of a bully, so I just let it go.

Now, he has moved (THANK GOD ! lol ) and the trees are VERY overgrown now.

A LOVELY new, somewhat older couple, (in their early 60s, very "young minded" and semi retired, I believe) moved in about a year ago. We've chatted on several occasions, but don't socialize, etc.

I spoke with the with the wife last Fall about the trees and we talked about having the trees staked so they would lean towards her property and she said she would give it some thought and deal with it.
At that time, she let my landscape guy cut some of the branches, but that seems to have made the matter worse ! lol
Now those trees have gotten MUCH bigger, taller and ALL of the trees hang over unto my property and some of those trees are hanging up to at LEAST 10-15 feet OVER the property line....and my neighbor has done nothing to deal with the situation.

Now, I want to plant a garden and put in new grass where those trees overhang, but I can't because it's too dark in that area. Very little is going to grow there now except moss ! lol
What am I to do ?
Some limbs are SO HIGH I would have to hire a professional to come deal with the trees and that's going to end up costing ME money.

I'm getting a little upset, because in addition to the lack of sun, in the Fall, those trees have LITERALLY, MILLIONS of tiny LEAVES that fall...that I have to clean up and deal with with at least 6-8 feet of leaves that cover MY side of the property and very little of theirs....I get 95% of the leaves on my side.

My neighbors have no incentive to deal with the trees, because they are on the far edge of thire property and cause them no problems. In fact, they love the trees because they said they provide privacy - which they DO- for a few months a years, BUT, to me.....the lost of sunlight and all those leaves just aren't worth the privacy that they provide.

But...this couple is nice and I don't want to create "issues", but then again, I want my property back.
HELP....WHAT are my RIGHTS and WHAT should I do to keep peace ?
Thanks all !

Last edited by Spokane26; 07-17-2012 at 12:45 PM.. Reason: typo
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Old 07-17-2012, 06:44 PM
Location: Spokane, WA
1,991 posts, read 1,995,120 times
Reputation: 2363
We had the same situation happen at our house. But, we went and talked to our neighbor and she was willing to let us trim the trees back over her property line. My wife was planting a garden and we needed the sun. I would go and knock on the door and say "I'm planting things at the back of my property and need to trim your trees back to your property line. Can you come back here and I will show where I plan to trim them to?"

Make sure you tell them that you ARE trimming the trees. Not getting their permision to trim over your property, but that you are in the process of doing it and would appreciate their valued feedback.

You need to tell them what is going to happen and that you want them to look from your perspective.

This really should work, especially with an older couple who would appreciate the honesty and inclusive nature of being asked.

Otherwise you may need to get the city/county involved and that would suck for everyone. Good luck.
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Old 07-17-2012, 07:23 PM
Location: Spokane, WA
231 posts, read 443,712 times
Reputation: 232
Thumbs up Neighbor issues

Speaking from past experience it does not matter how nice you are or how many conversations you have with your neighbor. They will be pissed off after you do anything to "their" property. I understand their property (trees) have crossed the property line, but common sense never rules the day. I had a similar problem with the neighbors vines coming over my fence when I lived in CA. I trimmed the vines often, but that pissed off the neighbor and he eventually called the police who came to my door to try to resolve the conflict. I told the police there was no conflict and that I was just keeping his invasive vines off my property. The cops didn't want to be there and basically were just looking for me to say I wouldn't do "it" again. Whatever "it" was the cops didn't know or care about. This was all followed by a certified letter threatening legal action for any future harm to their property. Prior to all of this the neighbor and I had several amicable conversations about the vines and keeping them off my property. He seemed very "cool" and I thought there would be no issues, but I was dead wrong. Part of the reason I moved to Spokane was to get away from bad neighbors and the associated problems. I now live on 10 acres and I can't see any neighbors from my house. It has been very peaceful so far... BTW I too am sick of everybody arguing about politics incessantly.
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Old 07-18-2012, 05:43 PM
Location: Pittsburgh area
9,918 posts, read 19,135,796 times
Reputation: 5059
You should always check for sure, but in most instances I've heard of it is permissible at least in the eyes of the law to prune anything that's on your side, regardless of where it is rooted.

In practice you should tread carefully, at least try to speak with the neighbors and make sure you are not going to hurt the tree, etc. If it is not affecting them much, don't expect them to pay for any pruning that you might have to pay someone to come in and do. But they should be amenable to you doing it, especially if you can point out you're hiring a professional, etc. The neighbors *should* be understanding of your plight but there is no guarantee of having them be reasonable, of course. If you do something that damages the tree somehow, subject to their interpretation of "damage", expect hell to pay.

Leaves, everyone gets screwed by that. A decent amount of mine blow in from other yards. There is one very large tree that does hang over from a neighbor's, but we enjoy having it there so I sure as hell wouldn't change it. Always afraid HE will decide to take it down because of too many leaves, LOL.
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Old 07-18-2012, 05:54 PM
Location: Out there somewhere...
37,950 posts, read 43,288,184 times
Reputation: 103670
The universal law in all 50 states is that whatever grows over the ppty line onto your property you have the right to trim back to the ppty line. You cannot cause the plants to die though. The neighbors are responbsible if the vegetation does any damage to your ppty side.
You have several choices, one is to see if you and the neighbor can resolve the problem amicably. Two you can sue them. Three you can contact your City/County or City Hall Community Services Dept about the situation and how the disruption of quality of life is effecting you and in many cases they will step in and help resolve the situation.
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Old 07-18-2012, 09:52 PM
7 posts, read 393,243 times
Reputation: 44
Hello all,

Mod Cut: Please see Term of Service

Actually, "Apclor...", I had spoken to the neighbor, last Fall, and she said she would "think about it " ...that was last Fall and now she had completely ignored the situation...and I've been feeling "uncomfortable" bringing it up again...I don't want to seem pushy.
Guess I have to discuss it again... *sigh* ...just wish people would be more considerate of how their landscape, noise, parties, etc., affect other people.
But, aside from that...they are very good neighbors.
As fr the laws, I spent a few more HOURS doing research and called the City ( they had NO idea what they were talking about and acted as if I was the first person in WA to ask about a neighbor property line question...that was a truely bizarre experience...very "Twilight Zone, lol )
But I believe, "nitram" is correct about the law.
And I feel you, "Ogtso" ...I'm coming from a townhouse in CA (with a $400 a MONTH association fee) and can't wait to move again and get further away from neighbors....10 acres is the DREAM !
And "Greg", "tread lightly" is good advice ! I'm trying my best.

Mod Cut: Please use Direct Message to contact Mods...

Thanks again all !

Last edited by Ultrarunner; 07-19-2012 at 11:13 AM.. Reason: Terms of Service
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Old 07-18-2012, 10:30 PM
Location: Phoenix
354 posts, read 1,013,598 times
Reputation: 426
Now that the trees are established and they predominately hang over your yard I wonder about and doubt staking is any longer an option to address the problem even partially. Trimming the trees back to what is not hanging over your yard leaves a stump with a couple of limbs?

It is a very unpleasant idea but some if not all of the trees may need to be removed. Isn't there a code of some sort for a set back from the property line for planting trees or placing garden sheds and such? Not that 4 or 6 feet matters much for a tree and one that is leaning over in the wrong direction.

You were bullied into tolerating the trees to be planted and improperly staked in the first place. Yes the older couple like the trees and they may even have been one of things that attracted them to the property in the first place. It is better they give them up instead of you enduring aggravation with the loss of your property for the purposes you choose such as to put in a garden. Trees are long term features but gardens may only exist for a season. Is about the garden, the leaves or the lingering irritation about having been taken advantage of?
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Old 07-19-2012, 12:06 AM
Location: Tucson for awhile longer
8,874 posts, read 12,506,855 times
Reputation: 28897
Is it possible that they are concerned that what you want them to do (fix their trees so they don't encroach) will cost them money they are reluctant to spend? It occurs to me that since you think they are new retirees, they might be adjusting to a reduced income and are embarrassed to admit they can't afford to do what needs to be done.

If you think this is the case, why don't you get some kind of statement written up about exactly what needs to be done, get a quotation so you have some idea of price, and discuss the matter again with your list in hand. I've had some landscaping jobs done that turned out to be cheaper than I had expected. If the repairs are not a financial problem to you, why don't you start by offering to split the cost, and then assume the entire cost if they disagree and it's worth it to you. I know that wouldn't be FAIR (I recently had to remove a tree from my property that I didn't plant, so I feel your pain), but it might be cheaper than the legal route. Which is where you are headed if they continue to be obstinate.
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Old 07-19-2012, 04:46 AM
4,159 posts, read 4,056,907 times
Reputation: 2191
Call a professional tree company and they will trim back the tress that hang over on your side. If it looks like the trees are going to fall you could call the city and they will send out one of their code people to have a look. I have always had good luck with the code enforcement people. They are fair and know the rules.
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Old 07-19-2012, 06:31 AM
Location: southwestern PA
20,428 posts, read 34,452,675 times
Reputation: 38735
You CAN trim the overhang onto your property - at YOUR expense.
If you kill their tree, you will have to reimburse them.
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