Trees are a common cause of disputes between neighbors. Often the argument revolves around a specific tree that straddles the property line, but sometimes the complaint is just because some of the tree limbs extend over the property line and obscure the view or drop leaves or fruit onto the neighbor's lawn.
Homeowners who are involved in this type of dispute with a neighbor may be thinking about borrowing a chain saw and taking matters into their own hands. If you are in this position and thinking about doing this, here are three important things to consider before proceeding.
Know the local laws and regulations
Before taking any action to actually remove all or part of a tree that sits on the border or overhangs a neighbor's land, homeowners should always make sure they have a good understanding of the laws and regulations that apply. As part of this process, homeowners may also need to verify their actual boundary lines, as those can be a source of confusion among neighbors.
In most cases, a true boundary tree is one in which any part or amount of the trunk sits on the actual property line. This can mean that a tree that once belonged to only one neighbor can become a shared boundary tree when the trunk grows large enough to cross that line. Consulting both your local law enforcement office and an attorney are proactive ways to help homeowners understand the potential legalities they may face.
Know the liability risks
Another thing that homeowners must consider before trying to solve their neighborly dispute by firing up a chainsaw is the liability risk they may face. In addition to the risk of potential injury the homeowner may incur when using the chainsaw to remove large limbs, they must also consider the potential for damage to nearby fences, landscaping, structures, or personal property. Your home insurance provider can help you better understand these risks and how your insurance coverage might apply to possible scenarios.
Know your skill limitations
Taking down a large, overhanging tree limb without doing injury to yourself or causing damage to a neighbor's property or home means understanding several complicated aspects. These include the direction and impact of the wind, the angle, weight, and type of tree, and the skill level, tools, and safety equipment needed to perform the job.
To learn more removing trees or overhanging limbs in a safe, professional manner, homeowners should consider contacting a residential tree trimming service contractor.