Real estate disputes with a neighbor often involve boundary lines. There can be confusion over where the exact line is or how each person is allowed to use it.
For instance, maybe you’re interested in buying a new home. But there’s a tree on the neighbor’s property that hangs over the property line, and you want to know if you can trim those branches.
It’s understandable why you’d want to do so. Maybe the branches are over your driveway and you think they could fall on your car. Maybe it’s a hazard for your children or pets. Maybe you just don’t like the way that it blocks the sun or impacts the aesthetic side of your yard design.
Essentially, this tree belongs to your potential neighbor, but they’re not doing anything to fix the problems it is causing on the property. Are you allowed to trim a tree that belongs to someone else?
You can typically trim whatever part of the tree is on your side
As a rule of thumb, you are allowed to trim branches that are on your side of the property line. You can simply go straight up and cut them at that point. If they grow back over the line in the years to come, you have to trim them again. You cannot cross the line and cut the tree on their side to prevent this from happening.
What you really want to avoid is removing the tree entirely. No matter how you feel about it, don’t call a removal company and get them to take it down. You need to be very careful about exactly how much you trim back and where you do it.
Home purchases can sometimes lead to disputes or similar questions regarding property lines and rights. Make sure you know about your legal options.