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Kangaroo Court - Tree Drama with Neighbour

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  • Jul 26th, 2020 10:29 pm
[OP]
Jr. Member
May 12, 2012
130 posts
117 upvotes
BC

Kangaroo Court - Tree Drama with Neighbour

RFD,

What have your experiences been with trees and growing into a neighbours property?

We bought this home a few months ago, the back fence in the yard is lined with trees. It’s a little much right now but provides both of us a ton of privacy.

My understanding is that I can technically just leave them and make it their problem. They’re free to trim their side but it is what it is beyond that if that’s how I want to play.

I’m not like that and in agreement the trees are a little much right now and want a good relationship with my neighbour. The husband and I worked out an agreement to split the cost of having the trees topped and fixed up.

His wife is now up in arms saying the trees are my problem and they aren’t paying for it.

Who’s in the right?
20 replies
Deal Expert
May 30, 2005
47765 posts
8474 upvotes
Richmond Hill
Any neighbour trees that extend to your yard are your problem. They can help out of courtesy but aren't legally required to do so. Regular tree trimming is every home owner's responsibility.

What exactly is the problem? Why not just let it grow?
Deal Expert
Feb 7, 2017
22785 posts
21626 upvotes
Eastern Ontario
Photos would be helpful to understanding what the issue is here
Deal Fanatic
Jul 4, 2004
9223 posts
2250 upvotes
We had this situation with a neighbor last year but he was reasonable and did maintain the branches and whatnot that leaned over on his side. You shouldn't offer to do anything as you could be committing yourself to doing more than what you had bargained for. Since his wife had technically said the deal is off, tell him he's now free to do whatever he wants on his side without your support
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Deal Addict
Apr 18, 2005
3513 posts
1704 upvotes
Mississauga
Frankie3s wrote: We had this situation with a neighbor last year but he was reasonable and did maintain the branches and whatnot that leaned over on his side. You shouldn't offer to do anything as you could be committing yourself to doing more than what you had bargained for. Since his wife had technically said the deal is off, tell him he's now free to do whatever he wants on his side without your support
Yea but then he cuts too much and kills your tree ... then what ? .. another post here?
Deal Fanatic
Jul 4, 2004
9223 posts
2250 upvotes
TLSRULZ wrote: Yea but then he cuts too much and kills your tree ... then what ? .. another post here?
They could do that at anytime even without asking. And what's to say you help split the costs and then the wife who wears the pants in the family, decides later on that she'd rather have them gone instead and they still kill your trees? You've now lost your trees and your money.

If someone had done that to my trees, I would hammer up ugly uneven and brightly colored plywood on my side of the fence for them to enjoy (bylaw permitting).
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Deal Addict
User avatar
Feb 25, 2004
1518 posts
1042 upvotes
Longueuil
TLSRULZ wrote: Yea but then he cuts too much and kills your tree ... then what ? .. another post here?
It depends of bylaws in your city but here, you need a permit to remove trees. You must not prune more than 25% of the branches and if you kill a tree because of pruning or damaging the roots, the city will make sure that you replace it (if they know about it). So in my city, you would simply have to report the neighbor to the city and he would have to deal with the city directly.

Obviously, you need to try to avoid the issue in the first place but if it does happen, the city will take care of it.
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Deal Addict
Nov 17, 2012
4594 posts
4020 upvotes
Toronto
Sounds like they're your trees, growing on your property. You buy a house with lots of trees, you assume responsibility for maintaining those trees to your liking.

Just pony up and pay to have the trees properly maintained in their entirety. If that keeps your neighbor from pouring kerosene on them or excessively trimming back what is extending onto their property, it's worth the money.
Deal Fanatic
Dec 6, 2006
5553 posts
1774 upvotes
Toronto
Talk to neighbour husband if he's more reasonable. Should really split the cost. Get a few quotes and just be civil.

And what type of trees and how tall anyway? Possible to DIY?
Deal Expert
User avatar
Oct 23, 2008
16912 posts
14505 upvotes
GTA, ON
Is the tree on the property line? If so, it's 50/50.

If the tree is on their property, their problem.

If it's your tree:
The neighbour has the right to trim the branches that cross over the property line, that I know for sure.

In regards to taking down the tree, it's your tree, and technically the neighbour doesn't have to pay, unless it's a mutual agreement (especially if they are the one asking for it to be chopped). If they're asking it for to be chopped and you're indifferent, then the right thing for them is to pony up the money. That said, 2nd point, it is your tree.

Now if the tree roots are the problem and it's causing damage to his property/structure, then it's more of an issue, as the fault is now yours (inherited from the previous owner).
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Deal Addict
Aug 28, 2014
2527 posts
695 upvotes
Toronto, ON
Are the trees dropping fruits etc onto their roof and damaging their property?
[OP]
Jr. Member
May 12, 2012
130 posts
117 upvotes
BC
Thanks everyone for their input. I wanted to ensure that I was correct in my understanding of the rules.

I’ve worked out a deal with the guy, he isn’t telling his wife and we are splitting it.

She’s started a bit of a rock fight with us now... really bothered me she got on her high horse to try to tell me how it was and was in the wrong.

If I hear another peep next year I’ll just cut the trees down and put in the putting green I’ve been thinking of. Their loss, I have 2 young boys and I’m sure they’ll miss their privacy!
Deal Addict
Mar 22, 2004
3649 posts
1069 upvotes
Sorry to hijack the thread but what about municipal tree roots damaging your basement, who is legally responsible for that?
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
May 11, 2009
7476 posts
4098 upvotes
Debtario
Trees, property lines, and neighbors are a bad mix. I've been through the whole lot - what one person considers beautiful privacy trees another considers garbage trees (maple, walnut). it's the unfortunate consequence of living so close together.
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Sr. Member
Aug 29, 2019
995 posts
453 upvotes
droller wrote: The husband and I worked out an agreement to split the cost of having the trees topped and fixed up.
Are you aware that topping a tree will make the tree dangerous and lead to the eventual decline of the tree? You're basically killing it slowly.
Sr. Member
Aug 29, 2019
995 posts
453 upvotes
TLSRULZ wrote: Yea but then he cuts too much and kills your tree ... then what ? .. another post here?
You can't kill a tree from shearing off the branches on one side. All that will do is cause the tree to generate more branches on that side. Usually, the cause of death is the neighbour digging up the roots or drilling holes into the tree from their side and injecting it with Roundup.
Sr. Member
Aug 29, 2019
995 posts
453 upvotes
Frankie3s wrote: They could do that at anytime even without asking. And what's to say you help split the costs and then the wife who wears the pants in the family, decides later on that she'd rather have them gone instead and they still kill your trees? You've now lost your trees and your money.

If someone had done that to my trees, I would hammer up ugly uneven and brightly colored plywood on my side of the fence for them to enjoy (bylaw permitting).
Topping the tree will mean required pruning every year. Let both learn the hard way if they don't educate themselves. Then they're going to think "We should have just cut them down" when really, their topping caused the tree to generate more branches than ever before.
Member
May 31, 2017
332 posts
88 upvotes
Silly newb question - what is "topping a tree"?

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