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Is A Neighbor's Tree Threatening Your House? - VA, MD, DC

- Tuesday, January 31, 2017

It's common for longtime homeowners at one time or another to be threatened by a neighbor's big tree. In most cases the two friends simply talk things over and come to a mutual agreement on how to deal with the situation. But then there are those situations where the two simply don't see eye-to-eye. What if you are in that situation? What can and should you do to protect your property? We suggest you consult an independent insurance agent to discuss your high value home insurance options.

You can trim back branches to your property line, but that may not solve the problem if you're worried about the whole tree coming down. City governments often step in to take care of, or make the owner take care of, dangerous trees. Some cities have ordinances that prohibit maintaining any dangerous condition -- including a hazardous tree -- on private property. To enforce such an ordinance, the city can demand that the owner remove the tree or pay a fine. Some cities will even remove such a tree for the owner.

You might also get help from a utility company, if the tree threatens its equipment. For example, a phone company will trim a tree that hangs menacingly over its lines.

If you don't get help from these sources, and the neighbor refuses to take action, you can sue. The legal theory is that the dangerous tree is a "nuisance" because it is unreasonable for the owner to keep it and it interferes with your use and enjoyment of your property. You can ask the court to order the owner to prune or remove the tree. You'll probably have to sue in regular court (not small claims court) and have proof that the tree really does pose a danger to you.

It is also advised that you discuss with the independent insurance agent all things related to your personal home insurance needs. So that if in case your neighbor refuses to cut down the tree or you have done all means to get rid of the tree, you can still have a peace of mind knowing that there is one insurance that can provide you a comprehensive coverage come that day when your neighbor’s tree causes damage to your high value home or even inflict harm to you and your family.

To find out more about personal home insurance, contact TriState Business Insurance.