Who is responsible for the removal of brush

carol_annieAugust 13, 2008

Hi. I am wondering if someone knows who is responsible for removing brush that is hanging over onto the neighbors property. I have a chain link fence that runs my property's border. I have only one neighbor that borders mine. There is brush that has overgrown through his side of the fence and actually hangs over on his property, but the root system is on my side. I have no objection that my neighbor cuts the branches that hang over on his side. What I do object to is that he has been throwing what he cuts, on my side of the fence. When I told him that I want him to stop he said his lawyer will contact me. Does he have a right to throw whatever he cuts down on my side? Am I the one resposible for the clearing of brush that hangs over on his side of the fence???

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in most areas you are not required to clear or maintain anything past your property line. he can clear it all he wants, but he CANNOT kill your plants nor trim them even 1 inch past the line to your side.

if he acts an ass, call the cops and report him for littering your yard. they will speak to him, and maybe scare him, but most likely they will tell you it really is a civil matter.

i find that most of the time your neighbor's attitude directly reflects your own. talk to him about it nicely. don't let him push you around, but don't be a jackass either.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2008 at 12:26PM
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There is actually not a mean bone in my body unless someone crosses me, so I was very civil when I asked him not to throw the cut branches on my side. Had I thought it was my responsibility, I would have taken care of it, but I have always thought that if it hangs on the other side, it would be the neighbors. Even though he said he would consult his laywer, he remained civil also. This is the first time we had any disagreement or conversation, to tell you the truth!

I was doubting myself, so thank you for the advice.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2008 at 2:36PM
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well, if you want to keep it civil next time offer to help trim them. you are under no obligation to do so, but if you want it to stay civil this may help.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2008 at 5:49PM
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You are legally not responsible for brush that originates on your side of the property line and grows into your neighbor's property, and he is entitled to cut the brush that encroaches on his property.

Considering the problem from your neighbor's point of view, I think that he or she probably feels that it would be nice if you trimmed things on your side of the property line so it would not encroach on his side. It is probably very difficult if not impossible to trim brush that has grown through a chain link fence, and it may look unsightly from your neighbor's side.

Therefore, although you are not legally obligated to do anything, you might show some neighborly consideration because your brush and chainlink fence are preventing him from enjoying his property to the fullest.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2008 at 6:17PM
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We moved into a house many years ago that turned out (in summer) to have a huge old grapevine, miles of it (filled X number of bags with it) that not only covered the fence at the back, but was killing trees and then extended to cover our (side) neighbour's garage (the propty had been vacant for a few mos.). Once we got rid of the majority of the vines, we finally traced the orig. planting to a spot just the other side of the chain link, but apparently rooted deep under the fence to our side. We asked the owners if they minded us coming over to dig it out (once we ascertained they didn't want the thing either), and that's what we did, as well as dig out all the newer opportunist ones. Cooperation from all was what worked (otherwise we would have been stuck cutting back $&*&^# vines forever) and I wonder if you've considered how much you really care about the brush - which possibly could be replaced by something less invasive?

    Bookmark   August 13, 2008 at 6:28PM
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Here the law is that a homeowner has the right to cut off any plant which is growing over his/her property, but is obliged to return the cut off parts to the owner of the plant they came from. I feel sure I have read that the law in many parts of the US is the same. Possibly this is what your neighbour feels he is doing.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2008 at 8:21PM
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colleenoz, that may be the law in YORU area, but MOST areas follow the old British laws that basically say anything on/over/under YOUR property is YOURS, therefore the neighbor owns the limbs overhanging the property line, not the OP.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2008 at 11:57PM
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Thank you for all the responses. Though I like the way the brush has wieved through the fence, I can understand his point of view after reading some postings. He actually justs mows by his side of the fence usually, but he said it was getting difficult to mow with the branches hanging so low. Thinking about it now, I could certainly have helped him trim his side, but seeing him throw the branches on my side clouded my vision a tad!

    Bookmark   August 14, 2008 at 9:14PM
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Actually davidandkasie, British law requires that any "arisings" from trimming a tree which originate on someone else's property must be returned to them, if they wish it, without damaging that person's property:
"The owner of a tree is not obliged to trim his trees or hedges to prevent them from crossing over a boundary. If they were, they would have a right of entry on to neighbouring land. Whilst the tree owner is not obliged to cut back overhanging branches, the person whose property is overhung has the right to cut back the branches to the boundary (providing there are no planning restriction on the trees such as TPOs). The resulting debris remains the property of the tree owner, but you must not cause any damage to their property when returning it back to them and you do not have a right to trespass on the tree ownerÂs property in carrying out the works. In the interests of good neighbourly relations, however, we would encourage neighbours to discuss their intentions with each other before carrying out works."
This is also the case in Canada. US law seems to stop at the remedy of "self help"- a person whose property is being encroached upon by a neighbour's tree may remedy the nuisance by trimming away those portions of the tree which encroach on his land, as long as such trimming does not damage the tree, but I can find no reference on a legal site as to the disposition of the trimmings. The OP's local government may have stated rules for this, however.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2008 at 10:26PM
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My nieghbor picks up all the sticks from the tree that is 2" on my side of the property line - the trunk, that is, is just inside my side of the line - so 1/2 the canopy is on his side. He then throws all the sticks into my yard.

I saw him do this one day when my car was in the shop, so he thought no one was home. He picked up the sticks and pitched them over before he started mowing his lawn.

This neighbor is rather "touchy" to put it lightly - so I haven't said anything. I just pitty the poor fool who is so uptight that he has to take his pleasure from throwing sticks into his neighbor's yard. And I avoid talking to him at all costs.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2008 at 10:49PM
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I would happily "trim" the root system on your side of the fence...the problem would be eliminated completely.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2009 at 2:24AM
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