The trees on your property provide an aesthetic appeal and also improve the immediate air quality. But have you ever wondered what would happen if one of those trees on your or your neighbor’s property fell over due to weather or age, and who exactly would be responsible? There’s a lot to consider when a tree falls over a property line—there’s the damages, insurance and cleanup. So who is really responsible?
Before the tree falls
If your neighbor has a rotting or dead tree, write a letter to your neighbor for documentation, just in case that tree falls in the future. Photograph the tree in detail, so that you have further proof of a damaged tree. You are allowed to trim the tree if it crosses your property line. You can only trim up to the property line, and you can’t actually cut down your neighbor’s tree.
Dealing with a fallen property line tree
The first place you should call when a tree falls over a property line should be the insurance company. Your homeowner’s policy should cover damages from natural grievances, such as wind and winter storms. Many policies won’t cover neglect—that is, if you can even prove that your neighbor was truly neglectful. Either way, your insurance policy will help with the damage, regardless of who is at fault, and then decide who should pay for it. Before the contractors show up to help clear away the damage, take photographs of the entire site for your records.