04 Aug Removing A Neighbor’s Tree
In most cases, interacting with your neighbors makes living in your home more enjoyable. Good neighbors let you borrow their tree trimmer, keep an eye on your home and help key you in to the local neighborhood gossip. But even the best of neighbors have disagreements — especially when it comes to property lines.
One of the most common disputes occurs when a neighbor’s tree branches extend into your yard. Constantly cleaning up leaves and fallen branches becomes a headache for those who take pride in the appearance of their property. So, what are your options?
When a tree, shrub or hedge has grown onto your property, you may trim back its branches or roots to the property line — as long as your actions do not negatively impact the health of the tree. This also applies to trees fully on your neighbor’s property. While perfectly acceptable to do so, the courtesy of informing your neighbor in advance of the trimming goes a long way in maintaining friendly relations and reducing misunderstandings and bad blood.
When the tree straddles the property line you may still trim it but you cannot remove it without permission from your neighbor. In this case, the tree is considered common property making both neighbors responsible for its maintenance and care. Additionally, neither property owner is responsible for damage to the other’s property because of the tree. Finally, removing the tree without permission is considered a misdemeanor in Michigan and leaves you responsible for the cost of property damage.
Should your neighbor agree to removing the tree, it is best to have a signed and dated document showing that both property owners agree to it’s removal.