What to do if my neighbor is concerned that the roots from my trees in are damaging his driveway and they want me to have them removed?

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What to do if my neighbor is concerned that the roots from my trees in are damaging his driveway and they want me to have them removed?

I have 2 large evergreen trees; they have been there since before either of us moved in 20 years ago. They provide a desirable barrier between our house and the street. Removal costs are extensive as the trees are huge. He has also raised a safety concern as 2 winters ago 2 large branches reportedly fell in his driveway. Nothing happened this winter. There has not been a professional evaluation as to the health of the trees and I question their danger. Am I legally responsible for removing the trees? And, if so, must I pay the entire cost myself?

Asked on May 3, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Washington

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Your neighbor cannot force you to remove the trees; but he can hold you accountable for any damage they do to his property, or any inuries they cause to persons, after he has provided you notice (as it seems he has) that they are posing a risk of such damage or injury. You can decide for yourself whether, in view, the risk of such damage, the cost thereof, and any attendent costs (e.g litigation, if you are sued) outweighs the cost of removal; if  you conclude the danger is exaggerated or unlikely, you don't have to act--just be aware that, having notice of risk, you could potentially be liable if something does occur.


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