My rental's trees are hitting the neighbor's house.

19 Replies

The neighbor to one of my rentals wrote me a letter claiming that my rental's trees were hitting her roof.  She wants me to trim them up but that could get expensive. I'm pretty sure that the law states that even if a tree is on my side, their insurance would still cover damage if it's on their side. What should I do?

Trim up the tree or cut it down.  I rather be friendly with neighbors than adversarial so if something serious ever does happen you have an allie not an enemy.  Also you might want to check with your insurance agent but I believe your tree becomes your problem but have had no experience in this matter before.  Sure someone Will correct me if wrong on this.

Trim the tree.....

Insurance and the law only comes into play if there is some significant damage....like a big branch damaged her roof or the tree fell and crushed her car etc....

Trim the tree....... that's normal yard upkeep..... its a pretty basic cost of doing business as a landlord.....

So unless there is a ton of damages and you need to start talking insurance claims, be a good neighbor and landlord and trim the tree and move on....

If an “act of god” drops your tree/limbs on their property, it’s their insurance problem. This isn’t that.....this is Your lack of upkeep.

@Aaron

@Account Closed I believe that since she has put you on notice it will be your problem if the tree damages her property.  Take care of it and build goodwill with the neighbor.  She will be more willing to keep you posted about the property and tenants and you never know she might know of other homeowners wanting to sell there homes. 

Your neighbor is entitled to cut the limbs that reach over the property line.  Is that really what you want?  She's offering you a chance to fix the situation before she takes more drastic action.

"What if I try to be good and take care of the tree and then actually cause damage in the process of being good? Am I still liable?"

Yup. Or you could hire a bonded and insured tree service to handle it. 

If you can't get a tree trimmed and the branches hauled away safely for a couple hundred bucks, it has gotten way out of hand. 

Your neighbor is free to cut any parts of the tree that extend over the property line.

Definitely trim the tree. If you're concerned, get a tree service to do it for you. Your neighbor is your eyes and ears when you're not there, be neighborly!

@Account Closed double check your local laws, but in most locations the part of the tree on their side of the property line belongs to them. In most locations if a tree falls from your property on to a neighbors house, the neighbor is responsible for the cost to repair the house and remove any part of the tree on their property. My parents had a tree fall from their yard on the neighbors garage. The tree service cut the tree right at the property line and left the rest. The neighbors insurance covered it.

Most likely you are not legally responsible to fix this issue. Just keep in mind that having neighbors as your friend is better than enemies. They can make life hell on a landlord. I would hire a licensed/insured tree service to remove the branches and cut as far away from the house as you can. I would pay the expense and let the neighbor know that by law, trees over the property line and any tree damage is their responsibility. Say it nice, but make it clear that you are doing something above and beyond because you are a good neighbor. 

Not particularly sure how things work in your town. Here in New Jersey if the tree is I front of the house the town will cut them. This is only if the tree is front of the house. If your town doesn’t cut them. Just pay to get it done. I would also look up the information on who is responsible to cut it. Your can always it offer to go half on it. Also better to be friendly. I hope that you set money aside for your monthly rents. In case something like this comes. You don’t need to come out of pocket.

Good luck with everything,
Julio

Even if legally it wasn't my responsibility I'd have that tree trimmed since it is basic property maintenance as well as to avoid any future calls when it smashes the neighbors house/car/ kid. Good luck. 

@Account Closed ,

Just trim the tree, it will be significantly easier than dealing with insurance companies.      Your tree, your problem.    As others have said, it's nice that your neighbor is telling you about it before their is an issue.. MUCH easier and better for everyone!

I'd suggest  taking a few pictures of the needed work done, and post it on CL and get some quotes.   I did this with a very large tree that was needing to be removed, and the quotes came in $500-$3,000-- so you might be surprised!   It's worth the effort!

Just get someone to trim the tree and move on with your life.......

Originally posted by @Julio Anselmini :

Not particularly sure how things work in your town. Here in New Jersey if the tree is I front of the house the town will cut them. This is only if the tree is front of the house. If your town doesn’t cut them. Just pay to get it done. I would also look up the information on who is responsible to cut it. Your can always it offer to go half on it. Also better to be friendly. I hope that you set money aside for your monthly rents. In case something like this comes. You don’t need to come out of pocket.

Good luck with everything,
Julio

I have a rental in Long Island where I rented a SFR to three young ladies, college graduates. Without my knowledge they did some research and found the town is responsible to cut trees in front, and told them to cut it down because the tree looks dead. The town came and did it.

Some time later, the town did an inspection of my sidewalk and demanded several slabs be replaced. I went over to look and didn't find anything wrong with the slabs. They weren't cracked or out of kilter so I called to see what the problems is. Maybe they made a mistake.

After checking their records, they asked if I called about a tree and requested it be removed. I since heard about if from my tenants and I said the tenants called without my knowledge. So they told me that since the town had to spend money on my trees, they can demand I spend the same amount of money on maintenance.  He said the way they figure it, the three slabs they ask me to replace is the same value as cutting down the tree.

But I insisted, there's nothing wrong with the slabs. So they said, in that case, would you want an in depth inspection of your house instead to find other violations? So it finally dawned on me, "you can't fight city hall". When I realized it, I said, "sorry I bothered you".

Now I still have the property and it's a corner lot with lots of sidewalk. Every time I look, with the three slabs that's of a different color than the rest, I think of the time the town did one over on me.

"The neighbor to one of my rentals wrote me a letter claiming that my rental's trees were hitting her roof. She wants me to trim them up but that could get expensive. I'm pretty sure that the law states that even if a tree is on my side, their insurance would still cover damage if it's on their side. What should I do?"

Why do people think that other people's insurance has any bearing on their own liability? I see that a lot on Bigger Pockets, and it makes no sense whatsoever.

Regardless of insurance, you can be sued for negligence, or maintaining a nuisance, or whatever. In fact, you can be sued for those things BY HER INSURANCE COMPANY. It will want to recoup its outlays on her roof and removing branches. 

BTW -- roof repair is expensive, too.

Be a neighbor, not a jerk. Your tree. Your problem. Fix it.

Cut your tree. The debris from your tree is a) causing mold to the neighbor's roof, b) going to rot the neighbors' roof, and c) clog their gutters. This doesn't even include the possibility of a limb, or the entire tree, falling down onto your neighbor's personal property, car or house.  Be a good neighbor and trim any trees or vegetation that is growing onto your neighbor's property.