Neighborhood disagreement

Please help settle this disagreement:

Neighbor A and Neighbor B have lived next to each other for years without speaking more than 10 words to each other; it's just how the neighborhood is.

Neighbor A has a large tree in the front yard that makes a terrible mess on the street and sidewalk in front of both Neighbor A's and Neighbor B's homes, as well as all over the lawn and driveway of Neighbor B's home. The mess consists of leaves, broken branches, and small pine cone-type material.

In your opinion, is Neighbor A responsible for cleaning up the tree mess on Neighbor B's property?

Thank you!
It's Neighbor B's problem. Neighbor A doesn't have to clean up anything that falls on Neighbor B's property, even if it comes from A's tree.

Similarly if the tree were to fall down. The property where the tree falls is responsible for damage/clean-up, regardless of where it fell from.
It's Neighbor B's problem. Neighbor A doesn't have to clean up anything that falls on Neighbor B's property, even if it comes from A's tree.

Similarly if the tree were to fall down. The property where the tree falls is responsible for damage/clean-up, regardless of where it fell from.
Originally Posted by RedCatWaves
Agreed. We had a tree with little purple flowers that would rain on the ground in the front of my house for many years. My neighbors complained about the mess. We told them to deal with it.

But, we ended up having to remove the tree because we found out it was lifting the neighbor's foundation and my dad didn't want to deal with the drama.

The neighbors down the street tried to convince my father to get rid of the trees on the side of our house because it was messy on their side... and they wanted to put a pond on that side. um. Our trees have been there for like 20 years! When my father considered it, I almost tore his face off.

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No, neighbor A isn't responsible for the mess. Come to think of it, we always have sticks and leaves falling in our yard, and there are so many trees around that I don't know if its from our tree or my neighbors. It doesn't matter to me.
Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth. I sat at a table where were rich food and wine in abundance, and obsequious attendance, but sincerity and truth were not;
and I went away hungry from the inhospitable board.
-Henry David Thoreau
We have kind of a similar situation: The neighbor's trees/bushes/plants/everything make a huge mess on our property. She's all about calling the city on anyone, so when the city stopped by our house about something the neighbor *****ed about, my mother asked what our options were. If there are leaves/branches/flowers that fall or are blown onto our property, that's our problem. But if their trees/bushes/plants/whatever hang over/into our property, we can cut them without even asking. We haven't yet (though we have asked them to take care of them), but we can't even get through the walkway between the two houses because their bushes grow into it, blocking the way.

If there's any question about local ordinances, call the city offices. They should be able to help.
Under construction.
The above opinions are wrong, at least in Ohio. This is a direct quote from my real estate law book:

Imagine a small cherry tree just inside the surface property line of Mr. A's land. If the tree grows in such a way that its branches occupy part of neighbor B's airspace, and it drops overripe fruit and leaves onto B's surface space, technically the tree is now tresspassing onto B's property. Legally, the tree is said to encroach upon B's land. Encroachment is the legal word for trespassing or intruding onto another's realty. If the encroachment became serious enough that B believes she has to do something about it, B can initiate a course of action, having the full support of the law, that will result in the removal of all elements of A's property that encroach upon B's.
3b (with 3c tendencies) on modified CG


Last edited by spiderlashes5000; 10-17-2009 at 09:12 AM.
The above opinions are wrong, at least in Ohio. This is a direct quote from my real estate law book:

Imagine a small cherry tree just inside the surface property line of Mr. A's land. If the tree grows in such a way that its branches occupy part of neighbor B's airspace, and it drops overripe fruit and leaves onto B's surface space, technically the tree is now tresspassing onto B's property. Legally, the tree is said to encroach upon B's land. Encroachment is the legal word for trespassing or intruding onto another's realty. If the encroachment became serious enough that B believes she has to do something about it, B can initiate a course of action, having the full support of the law, that will result in the removal of all elements of A's property that encroach upon B's.
Originally Posted by spiderlashes5000
I think that is what befrizzled was saying. You can eliminate parts of the tree that are encroaching on your airspace. It's perfectly legal to cut off any limbs or branches that hang over on Neighbor B's property.

My neighbors had a very messy tree in their backyard that dropped all kinds of crap in my yard. It was especially messy after heavy rains. I could have removed those limbs that hung over in my backyard, but I didn't really want to start a neighbor dispute. The tree was okay for the most of the year and looked pretty when it flowered. But then the flowers would drop and it was a mess all over my patio. Eventually Hurricane Charley took the tree down, uprooting it and taking my fence along with it. My homeowners insurance paid to replace the fence.

In our jurisdiction, you can force a neighbor to remove a tree from their property if it is a hazard to your property, for example, it's a clearly diseased tree and there is a risk it will hit your home if it falls. But if it's just a messy inconvenience, there's really nothing you can do legally.

I was born to be a pessimist. My blood type is B Negative.
The above opinions are wrong, at least in Ohio. This is a direct quote from my real estate law book:

Imagine a small cherry tree just inside the surface property line of Mr. A's land. If the tree grows in such a way that its branches occupy part of neighbor B's airspace, and it drops overripe fruit and leaves onto B's surface space, technically the tree is now tresspassing onto B's property. Legally, the tree is said to encroach upon B's land. Encroachment is the legal word for trespassing or intruding onto another's realty. If the encroachment became serious enough that B believes she has to do something about it, B can initiate a course of action, having the full support of the law, that will result in the removal of all elements of A's property that encroach upon B's.
Originally Posted by spiderlashes5000
I thought that's how it was everywhere.
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 15,533
Ugh. I'm glad my neighbor (nicknamed "Rat") doesn't know this. Although his trees shed on my yard, too (I just don't care).
The above opinions are wrong, at least in Ohio. This is a direct quote from my real estate law book:

Imagine a small cherry tree just inside the surface property line of Mr. A's land. If the tree grows in such a way that its branches occupy part of neighbor B's airspace, and it drops overripe fruit and leaves onto B's surface space, technically the tree is now tresspassing onto B's property. Legally, the tree is said to encroach upon B's land. Encroachment is the legal word for trespassing or intruding onto another's realty. If the encroachment became serious enough that B believes she has to do something about it, B can initiate a course of action, having the full support of the law, that will result in the removal of all elements of A's property that encroach upon B's.
Originally Posted by spiderlashes5000
I think that is what befrizzled was saying. You can eliminate parts of the tree that are encroaching on your airspace. It's perfectly legal to cut off any limbs or branches that hang over on Neighbor B's property.
Originally Posted by roseannadana
Yes, that's what I was saying. However, if the tree is totally in their property but its leaves fall and blow onto your property, that's your own problem. The debris that ends up on our property from trees that are totally on their property is still ours to clean up.
Under construction.
The above opinions are wrong, at least in Ohio. This is a direct quote from my real estate law book:

Imagine a small cherry tree just inside the surface property line of Mr. A's land. If the tree grows in such a way that its branches occupy part of neighbor B's airspace, and it drops overripe fruit and leaves onto B's surface space, technically the tree is now tresspassing onto B's property. Legally, the tree is said to encroach upon B's land. Encroachment is the legal word for trespassing or intruding onto another's realty. If the encroachment became serious enough that B believes she has to do something about it, B can initiate a course of action, having the full support of the law, that will result in the removal of all elements of A's property that encroach upon B's.
Originally Posted by spiderlashes5000

Nope, not wrong.

What you wrote above doesn't oppose anything else that has been said. Yes, Owner A can cut off tree limbs or whatever if they encroach onto his property. That still doesn't mean that Owner A can make the Owner B pay for the limb removal or clean up the mess.
The above opinions are wrong, at least in Ohio. This is a direct quote from my real estate law book:

Imagine a small cherry tree just inside the surface property line of Mr. A's land. If the tree grows in such a way that its branches occupy part of neighbor B's airspace, and it drops overripe fruit and leaves onto B's surface space, technically the tree is now tresspassing onto B's property. Legally, the tree is said to encroach upon B's land. Encroachment is the legal word for trespassing or intruding onto another's realty. If the encroachment became serious enough that B believes she has to do something about it, B can initiate a course of action, having the full support of the law, that will result in the removal of all elements of A's property that encroach upon B's.
Originally Posted by spiderlashes5000

Nope, not wrong.

What you wrote above doesn't oppose anything else that has been said. Yes, Owner A can cut off tree limbs or whatever if they encroach onto his property. That still doesn't mean that Owner A can make the Owner B pay for the limb removal or clean up the mess.
Originally Posted by RedCatWaves
I think you have the names/relationships backwards.

Yes, the tree owner (A) will have to pay for the removal of branches and leaves on the tree he owns that encroaches onto the neighbor's (B's) property.

This is pretty basic real estate law 101 stuff...very common. The tree owner is responsible for the mess and removal and payment of all of it.
3b (with 3c tendencies) on modified CG

Regardless of responsiblity...you always need to have common courtesy. A few branches and leaves isn't a big deal, stuff like that happens in the fall. If it's a consistant problem year round though, the owner of the tree should clean it up or get rid/move the tree so the problem no longer exists.
Legally, spidey is correct - the person whose property is encroaching on someone else's property has to remove that encroachment, unless the parties can come to an agreement about it.

Realistically... sounds petty. Is it really that difficult to clean up some tree mess? If the person is elderly or physically disabled then I could see them making an issue of it but otherwise it doesn't sound like such a big deal.
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A similar question came up here before and I remember RCW saying the same thing she's saying now. These laws vary from state to state. If I remember correctly, what RCW's saying about falling trees and such is true in PA but not in every state. As a matter of fact, it's the opposite in WA.

If a a neighbor's tree drops leaves, branches, pine cones, etc in your yard, you have to clean it up. If you don't like your neighbor's tree encroaching on your property, you may cut off branches at your own expense. However, if a neighbor's tree falls on your property, it is the neighbor's responsibility to remove the tree and repair any damage. It's the tree owner's responsibility to make sure their trees aren't dead and that they aren't a danger to others.

We don't have any deciduous trees in our yard but we're always have to rake up after our neighbors' trees. It drives me crazy but I figure our huge evergreen in the front yard is always dropping cones and needles all over their yards so it's probably a wash.
This squabble is occurring between my friends and their neighbors on one side. My friends' tree makes a HORRIBLE mess in the neighbor's yard. My friends, of course, feel it is not their responsibility to clean up the mess. We just had hurricane-force winds blow through the area the other day, and this tree looks like it exploded all over everything immediately to the north of it, which includes the neighbors' yard, driveway, and the street in front of both houses--branches, leaves, pine-cone-type things. I am big on courtesy and goodwill. If it were my tree, I would offer to clean it up or at least help. In fact, it's such a mess every year, I would probably think about having it removed. If a mess of this magnitude were occurring in my yard every year because of a neighbor's tree, we'd have to at least have a conversation about it. It really is that bad. It's huge and the pine cone things make it difficult for people to even walk on the sidewalk in front of their two houses. Everyone else in the neighborhood keeps their areas swept. Their neighbors always have a lot of extra work to do to keep their property clean every year in the fall/winter because of my friends' tree.

I loathe my friend's "tough shiiitt" attitude about this. I don't even care about legalities, nor do I think the neighbors are being petty. I think my friends are the ones being petty, discourteous, and selfish. I'm disturbed about it because I am sympathizing with the neighbors. I get to see my friends actually laughing behind closed doors about not having to clean up the mess. I'm considering downgrading them from "friends" to "acquaintances" or even just "neighbors." I feel like I'm seeing a sample of their true characters beginning to finally emerge, and I don't really like it.
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Just cut the ish out of the tree on your side...
My folks have been dealing w/ this carp for yearrrrrrsssssss......

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