Can our neighbor sue us for cutting back a limb on their tree?

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Can our neighbor sue us for cutting back a limb on their tree?

Our neighbors tree hung over our side of the fence, we have been pruning yearly on our side. We cut back about a foot further to prevent regrowth this year and the tenant is threatening to sue us. We had asked the tenant for weeks earlier for his landlords’ number, which he would not provide. The tree shaded almost our whole backyard prior to trimming. We also have more trees we would like to prune and/or remove. What is my next step here? Can the tenant or landlord sue?

Asked on June 17, 2009 under Real Estate Law, Wisconsin

Answers:

B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I'm not a Wisconsin attorney, and the law on this subject can vary from one state to another.  One place to find a lawyer who can give you reliable advice, based on local laws and all the facts, is our website, http://attorneypages.com

In many states, you have the right to cut back parts of tree limbs that are over your land.  If that's the law in your state, your neighbor can sue but he will probably lose, as long as you can prove you stayed on your side of the property line.  It's best to leave some margin for error, and so that it's easy to see in photographs that you're in the right.


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