If a neighbor had a shed built under the limbs/branches of a healthy very tall tree on my property but some branches are over the shed’s roof, does she have the right to trim the branches/limbs?

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If a neighbor had a shed built under the limbs/branches of a healthy very tall tree on my property but some branches are over the shed’s roof, does she have the right to trim the branches/limbs?

A few of the branches/limbs are over the roof of her shed. She wants to trim back the limbs/branches that are over her shed incase of a terrible wind/rain storm. She can trim back the tree with my permission? Who is responsible for the payment of the trimming? By her stating the reason for the trimming, is she putting me on notice? A terrible wind/rain storm might or might not cause the branches to fall on the shed’s roof. The tree is taller than our houses. Who is responsible for the bill?

Asked on October 27, 2015 under Real Estate Law, Maryland

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

She can't trim without your permission--it's your tree. But if you are aware of a greater-than-normal risk posed by this tree (and you are aware, if she's brought the risk to your attention), such as due to the tree's height and the position of its limbs, if a limb falls and damages property or injures a person, you could be liable on the basis of negligence: it is negligent or careless, to not address a known risk. You may be best off talking with your neighbor and either giving her permission to trim at her own cost, or else working out matters so you'll split the cost of trimming. By trimming the overarching limbs back, you can reduce your risk of liability.


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