What To Do About the Neighbor’s Trees Overhanging Your Property?
Our neighbor’s trees may often become troublesome, either because their branches block sunlight, yield unwanted pollen, acorns or leaves, or because they create a risk of injury or property damage. What a person’s rights and obligations are as they pertain to their trees or the trees of the neighbors depends upon state law.
In Texas, a person is not under an affirmative duty to prune or trim a healthy tree when its branches extend over his neighbor’s property, even if the tree branches extend over the neighbor’s roof or driveway where cars are parked. The law protects the owner of a healthy tree if tree limbs were to fall on his neighbor’s property and cause injury or damage.
Can You Trim Your Neighbor’s Trees?
The neighbor does have the right to trim the overhanging tree with the following limitations: (1) the tree can only be trimmed to the property line; (2) the tree must not be trimmed to such an extent as to damage or harm the health of the tree; (3) there is no right to trespass upon the neighbor’s property in order to trim the tree; (4) the cost of trimming the tree in borne by the neighbor doing the trimming.
What if Your Neighbor’s Trees Are Unhealthy?
In the case of a tree that the owner knows (or should know) is unhealthy, the law of negligence imposes a duty upon the owner of the tree to take all steps necessary to prevent injury and property damage caused by falling limbs and branches. A tree owner who ignores this duty and fails to adequately trim the unhealthy tree would be subject to liability for any injury or damage caused by fallen branches.
Call Us if You Have a Concern About Your Neighbor’s Trees
John D. Perches is an attorney/shareholder at Wadler, Perches, Hundl & Kerlick. We have offices in Wharton, El Campo, Fulshear, and Richmond, Texas. You can arrange an appointment at any of our offices by calling 800-929-1725.
Attorney’s note: The information in this column is not intended as legal advice but to provide a general understanding of the law. Readers with legal problems, including those whose questions are addressed here, should consult attorneys for advice on their particular circumstances.