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Trees and Property Lines: 9 Things All Neighbors Need to Know for Storm Season

Trees and Property Lines

Good fences make good neighbors, but when tree branches extend over those fences—or property lines—the folks next door can get pretty grouchy. Trees do more than provide soothing summer shade: They also enhance curb appeal and increase a property’s value if they’re well cared for. However, trees that grow on or near property lines can cause disagreements between neighbors. And if a tree falls, the damage can be costly to repair. A 2018 Consumer Reports homeowners insurance survey found that the median amount paid by insurance companies for settled tree claims was $4,110. Ahead, we get to the root of questions and issues surrounding tree ownership (of course, you’ll want to check with your local authorities to make sure they apply in your area). 1. Your Property, Your Tree. A tree near a property line belongs to the neighbor who owns the ground where it’s growing. This is true even if the other neighbor planted the tree, so it’s best to have the property surveyed to determine the exact boundary line before planting border trees. Don’t assume the boundary line lies where you stop mowing—it might be a few feet in either direction. 2. Shared Tree, Shared Responsibility. When a tree’s trunk lies directly on the boundary line between properties, the tree is known as a boundary tree and is owned by both neighbors. In the case of boundary trees, both neighbors should agree how to care for the tree and share maintenance expenses since both hold legal responsibility for its care. Both neighbors must also consent to the tree’s removal. 3. If a Neighbor’s Branch Hangs in Your Yard, You Can Cut It. Original Article

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