Trees tend to be a good investment for property owners. They provide shade during the heat of the summer that can reduce indoor cooling costs and make outdoor spaces more comfortable. They provide beauty that can add tens of thousands of dollars to the market value of a home by increasing its curb appeal. They can also eventually lead to profit because they may produce valuable timber, in some cases.
However, trees can also cause major disagreements between neighbors for a variety of reasons. When someone feels like they have suffered a financial loss related to a tree that is close to a property line, the dispute might even lead to civil ligation. These are a few of the reasons why a tree might inspire a lawsuit between otherwise amicable neighbors.
Someone damages a neighbor’s tree
Technically, in New York, trees that cross a property boundary are subject to care and trimming efforts from both property owners. If the branches or roots of a tree on one person’s property cross the line onto another property, the adjacent property owner has the right to trim the branches or roots back to the property line, provided that they do not cause serious damage to the tree itself. When tree trimming results in the death of a specimen tree, the original owner might take legal action and seek compensation for the value of the tree or the impact that the tree had on their property value.
The tree itself causes damage
Some property owners don’t take adequate care of the trees on their property, which will result in the tree becoming a nuisance. During inclement weather, the risk is particularly high for a branch to fall off of a tree and to possibly damage a fence, vehicle or home. When poor maintenance of a tree leads to damage to valuable property, litigation may result.
Those embroiled in a disagreement related to a tree on their property or a tree on a neighboring property generally benefit from understanding the New York statutes that apply during such disagreements. Taking legal action or defending one’s prior choices using New York state statutes can help to favorably resolve a conflict related to tree trimming or a failure to maintain a tree.