Property Rights question...

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I have a back fence, that is the property line with my neighbour.
On MY side of the fence are thick cedar trees that go about 15 feet high. Scattered throughout the cedars are small trees (not cedar) or something that are growing and poking thru the fence into the neighbours sides.
Tonight the neighbour decided the reach over the fence line and clip the those little weedy trees that are growing from my land in-between they nice cedar tree barrier, also on my land. He's reaching over the fence trying to clip them as low as he can on my side. Al this wile my wife and I are eating dinner and we are assuming he can see or at least hear us.
So I went to the back fence and said hello and asked him what he's doing. He says " just clipping these ugly little trees poking thru the fence. I don't mind the cedars, just trying to get these little suckers". I told him that I prefer to prune them myself and that I'd prune them to my liking when I get the chance.
This is only my second year of owning a house and lot so I want to ask, was this neighbour in the wrong to reach over the fence and clip on my side?
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In many/most places the neighbor can trim any of your growth on his side of the property line. He can't reach into your property and trim on your side of the line.
However, the specific rules will vary by legal jurisdiction; states and even cities have passed specific laws so it will ultimately depend on where you live.
Having said that, most places subscribe to the general concept I mentioned initially.
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Where, exactly , is the property line? Do not assume it is the fence line; fences are often set in a few inches. If he was clipping growth on his property, it is OK. He is allowed to cut anything that overhangs onto his property, but is not allowed to intrude on you.
My guess is that he is trying to be helpful, not cause problems or willfully damage your property.
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In cases like this it is best to stay on friendly foot. So the thing to ask is whether he'd mind discussing with you what it is that is bothering him, so you can take care of your side of the fence. We had almost the reverse. Our fence with one set of neighbors is 1 foot inside my property and one of the neighbors wanted to plant flowers and bushes on her side of the fence, but on our 1 foot strip property. That 1 foot actually runs next to a concrete path that is in fact the other neighbor's property (one side of our property abuts 2 other properties. We told her that she could indeed use our property for her flowers and bushes if they didn't get too big, but that it did remain our property. So now everyone is satisfied. I think we'll outlive the 2 older widows ...
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Han
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...

Given OP's description of the growth in question as weedy, I'd say that's also likely. But, it _is_ pushy to be on his side of fence w/o asking.
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Key in all this is what Ed asked. Where exactly is the property line relative to the fence? In most places the neighbor may trim whatever is extending into their property back to the property line.
However, from a practical perspective, I don't think what the neighbor did is so bad, even if he cut back a few more inches onto the other side. A few factors come to mind:
Those weedy branches probably grow fairly quickly and by cutting them back a few extra inches it won't have to be done so often.
It would seem since they are on the backside of the fence doing that would not even be noticeable to the first property owner.
Reaching over the fence, it would not seem he could cut them back all that much further than he's entitled to anyway
He's just trying to remedy and ugly situtation on his side.
If they are weedy branches, what exactly are they, how do they look and maybe it would be better for both parties if they were removed all together.
I would have approached the property owner first to discuss the issue before doing the cutting.
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

Well, it would be a stretch to think the side of the fence the OP lives behind is on the other guy's property...unless it is entirely the other guy's fence which the posting doesn't imply at all.
Now it _could_ be the OPs wrong about where the property line actually is, yes...

Isn't that pretty much what I had just said???? :)
Other than I still say it's pushy to reach over the fence into the neighbor's air space w/o saying something; especially when they're (apparently) pretty obviously right out there...
...

...
Indeed, I think there's an echo in here... :)
If it's a bunch of stuff basically growing up as weeds from seed, the OP probably _should_ take 'em out before they become even more of a nuisance on his side and get large enough to be a major hassle, but if it's on his side its his call (again w/ the assumption the fence is the property line as per often the case in subdivisions, particularly the back-to-back case as OP says this is in his post).
Irregardless, I say it's pushy and borderline offensive to intrude into the other yard over the fence w/o permission or request or explanation. Don't know where OP is located; locale can have a lot to do w/ what is considered good etiquette; around here "you just don't do that!".
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You've been there 2 years and you have let weeds grow in the back until they are growng through the fence. My guess is he figured you don't care. Otherwise you would have cut them down a long time ago.
He probably figured you were just inconsiderate. Now he probably thinks you're an inconsiderate asshole.
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well neigbor could of sprayed them with roundup on his side and entire plant would of died
small stuff growing thru fence cracks tends to get larger over time: ( vegation can damage fence and at minimum make fence maintence impossible:(
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Amen.
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Best regards
Han
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neighbor wars can be nasty and no one wins. except lawyers if things go to court
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On Jun 20, 4:54pm, "Stormin Mormon"

I just went through something like this. The neighbor can trim anything on his side of the property line as long as he doesn't kill or seriously damage the tree in the process (OK, this is Canadian Law, but my understanding is it's pretty much the same in the US). Technically, he's not allowed to reach over the fence to cut it on your side, but if he's only cutting a few extra inches off the branches on your side, then there's no big bad there. It is considered polite to inform your neighbor before trimming their tree, but not required. As the other posters mentioned, it's not worth it to start a feud over it.
There are a few caveats about new trees and such, but because you were only there for two years, they wouldn't apply. Also, as an amusing aside -- you own all the trimmings he cut, and if he really wanted to, he could force you to get rid of them. Oh yeah, there are also some laws in certain states about the maximum heights of cedar hedges, as they may infringe on your neighbors access to sunlight, and a neighbor can force you to cut down your hedges to appropriate heights. All in all, it's best to get along with your neighbors.
John
John
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Ask them how much they like(d) to get involved in fenceline disputes! My experience is they show up, say "This is a civil matter" and then leave. The only thing the cops I knew hated more were dog disputes.
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Or domestics... "Even though I have two black eyes, a tooth missing, a compound fracture of my arm, I KNOW he really loves me and you can't take him to jail."
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wrote:

My
A long, LONG time ago I did a ride along with an old-school sergeant who carried a very respectable-looking .45 replica for domestics. When he calmed them down long enough to sit at the kitchen table he would produce the replica, place it on the table and say "When I come back, one of you had better be dead." If either of the parties was stupid enough to reach for the replica, off to jail they went. I thought it was a brilliant test of who was the instigator/most belligerent. His supervisors took a somewhat dimmer view when they found out.
He got the idea from a Mexican policeman who kept a big, unloaded hog-leg pistol on his right hip and a Walther PPK on the other side in a belt clip. He would transport prisoners sitting up front to see who was stupid enough to try to take his (empty) gun from him. They did NOT however, go directly to jail. Life is clearly different south of the border.
-- Bobby G.
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<neighbor wars can be nasty and no one wins. except lawyers if things go to court>
I read once that aside from landlord/tenant disputes (which often have their own courts!) that dog and fenceline disputes form the majority of small claims court cases. Can't find that cite now, so maybe I'm having a memory lapse, but I think it's accurate. In once case it's dogs acting like dogs, in the other it's humans acting like dogs.
-- Bobby G.
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What if the feud goes to court? In most jurisdictions in USA, there are laws against some things without exception for contracts affecting only their signers.
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And you didn't keep up with your own junk because???????????
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And you didn't keep up with your own junk because???????????
---------------------------------
Because we bought a house that had been owned by the two previous owners who WERE avid gardeners until they were in a serious car accident. They were unable to keep up with the yard maintence for 7 or 8 years another neighbour told us. I have met the previous owners and they do have some crippling injuries but I was also told by a neighbour that the husband, an aerospace engineer, had some brain damage as well.
When we purchased the home from them we spent considerable money upgrading the inside of the house to take advantage of numerous tax credits and extremely low interest. Now that things have slowed inside we can focus on other issues including getting the lot growth under control. We've actually had three neighbours come up to us this spring and commented on all the work my wife and I have done.
Of course this is just my side of the story. The neighbour with the back fence may not know any of the circumstances and prolly doesn't. Why would he. His house fronts onto another street so no real reason to know anything about the people living at my house.
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So until you can cut all that growth down what's the issue with him cutting some branches off from your side of the fence? What's he supposed to do, cut them off where they protrude from his side of the fence? That will look pretty stupid.
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