So are you going to _pay_ to have the work done or are you going to do it
If you are going to pay for it to be done, then find out how much the job's
going to cost and simply tell the neighbor, "To take that dead wood away,
the contractor's willing to charge me $X. Your portion will be $Y." If he
balks, then you can tell him that the weekend clean-up for your neighborhood
is on so-and-such-weekend and you'll help move it to his curb that weekend."
If you are thinking of doing it yourself, then ask for his help (unless you
think he's the widow-maker) as a form of payment. We do this all the time in
my neighborhood. It's driving the tree-trimmers nuts but it allows most of
us to relive our Yout' by climbing limbs and stepping out from the top-step
pruning ladders. :)
Umm, it's ALREADY on your property if the only thing keeping it from
hitting the ground is YOUR tree. I'd tell them to remove or I'd call
the county. Since you like these neighbors, you might want to
tactfully "bring it to their attention" (yeah, yeah, they know you
know they know) and mention the danger to your kids, etc. If you don't
get a positive response such as, "We'll have it removed right away",
then call the county. It's a hazard and your neighbor will be ordered
to have it removed. Simple.
Don't know where you live, but it doesn't work like that where I
Whatever part of the tree is on your side of the property is your
Bad law you have there. That enables a neighbor to ignore an obvious problem
until it becomes someone else's. Then they can ignore it some more.
Whenever you notice a bad law or a bad project about to be financed with
public money, you can be 100% sure that it was due to either stupidity, or a
politician benefitted financially from the law or project. Always. There are
In this case, about 800 years of Common Law, from jolly old england,
passed down to our founding fathers. Closely related to the one about
fruit that hangs on a limb that goes over the property line. No
half-vast conspiricy involved, just tradition.
A spin on this is "My insurance will pay for damage to my property, but then
they will sue you to recover their expense."
As a LEGAL principle, the neighbor is responsible for all damage something
on his property causes on another (excepting acts of God like a lightning
strike or armed rebellion).
He's already proven he's not a "good neighbor" by letting the situation
reach the imminent peril stage.
A more pertinent example would be a tree which falls down with no
obvious warning onto someone else's property. In most cases, that
is viewed similarly and the person who's property it was on is not
But if the tree is dead, or already partially falling down, like in
this case, then the property owner is held responsible.
I'd just start out by having a discussion with the facts as were
presented here, eg, "I'm concerned about the tree falling on kids on
my property, etc" and see what the neighbor says.
As Jim suggested, take pictures. If the neighbor won't remove it, my
next step would be to contact local code enforcement. They may be
able to force them to deal with it because of the safety hazard.
Normally a fallen tree is considered "an act of god". If your
neighbors tree falls on your house the neighbor is not liable. The
discribed situation is probably an exception. Not taking prompt action
may also cause other exceptions. If the "good neighbor" does nothing
about it he may appear negligent. If the OP doesnt try to resolve the
issue promptly this may lessen his case because he made no attempt to
if the tree was a known hazard its the property owners problem and
liability falls on them, the one the dead tree stood on.
I would ask for help removing the tree, and if they refuse ask for
their homeowners insurance company name......
the liabilty is the insurance company.
my live tree had a large limb fall on a neighbors car.
since the tree appered healthy before the storm my insurance company
wasnt on the hook
If hit by lightning or high wind, sure. In this case, however, the tree is
an obvious, manifest hazard that is solely under the control of the
neighbor. If it falls and kills a neighbor, a case can be made for
A leaning dead tree is no different in kind from a leaning, unsecured
How do you know what they can see? Perhaps the neighbor doesn't know
the tree is broken. They may not be able to see it from their vantage
Since the OP is on good terms, you need to talk to the neighbor and explain
it's a danger.
In general, whatever is over your property, you can cut down.
Talk to the neighbor, first. Then come back here and let ppl know what the
You raise a good point - if the neighbor was unaware of the problem, it's
hard to prove liability.
It should be easy, however, to prove the neighbor SHOULD have known. It's
his responsibility to monitor his property for hazards, especially something
as large as a tree.
If the neighbor can't monitor his property - say he's trying to convert
little brown babies in Africa to the one true church - he still has an
obligation to employ an agent to look after things.
And, that's how we get wars. Both sides rush into battle,
with God's divine protection.
I wonder if God is up there, playing chess with all us
idiots. All us nations of pawns, and God keeps pushing us
into battle, jumping checkers and caputring players and
killing each other off.
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